Last week, Laura Lawless, a 22-year-old Harvard grad from Queens, was crowned Miss Manhattan 2001. The competition, which feeds the Miss New York and, later, the Miss America pageants, requires that contestants live in the area for at least six months (which, incidentally, is six months longer than Hillary Clinton needed to reside in the state before being elected a senator). So, of course, many of the baton twirlers, ballerinas, and budding novelists who vie for our rhinestone tiara come from L.A., Oregon, Hawaii, Tennessee – just about everywhere but Manhattan island. In fact, none of this year’s seventeen entrants was raised in Manhattan; neither was any winner in the last fifteen competitions. We decided to administer a quiz to the 2001 contenders – some of whom attend rather elite universities – to find out just how much they knew about the borough they hoped to represent:
Q: Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?
A: Leah Yoon, 23, L.A.: “God, you’re making me think. I’m just supposed to be beautiful.”
Tyra Schwartz, 19, Staten Island: “Is Grant a hint?”
Q: Where was John Lennon shot?
A: Katherine Byers, 18, Oregon: “Strawberry Fields.”
Heather Erickson, 23, Orange County, California:”Central Park. Wait – no, Gramercy Park.”
Schwartz: “I don’t know. I’m not a Beatles fan.”
Q: Pronounce “H-O-U-S-T-O-N Street.”
A: Kim Strother, 19, New Jersey: “Hew-ston.”
Yoon: “How-ston – I shop in SoHo way too much.”
Q: What is Manhattan’s most famous seventies disco?
A: Katie Horn, 19, Oneida County: “Polly Esther’s.”
Schwartz: “Saturday Night Fever.”
Corina Cristea, 23, Romania: “Studio 59.”
Q: What is DUMBO?
A: Christine Noelle Dunphy, 21, Long Island: “An elephant.”
Yoon: “A hot-dog stand.”
Q: Where does Mayor Giuliani live?
A: Stefany Briante, 23, New Jersey: “The Bronx.”
Q: What do people do in Sheep’s Meadow?
A: Kimberly Korn, 19, Pennsylvania: “I guess they raise sheep.”