Marilyn Monroe: Now on 42nd Street

Art Scene

Marilyn Monroe: Now on 42nd Street

The image of Marilyn Monroe stepping over a subway grate as a gust of wind sends her skirt twirling is the very definition of the phrase “iconic image”. New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is giving new life to the photo and other rarely seen photographs taken by the same photographer at a new exhibit at two locations on 42nd Street featuring the work of photographer and filmmaker Sam Shaw. (, 2013)

Shaw is best recognized for the famous image of *Marilyn on the Subway Grate but this exhibition also features images of an unreserved, real life Marilyn as she cruises the streets of New York.  From images of her rowing a boat in Central Park and reading a newspaper on a park bench, to window-shopping and evening buying a hot dog.

Melissa Stevens, Sam Shaw’s granddaughter, who coordinated the exhibit with the MTA and Duggal said “These photos, which Sam took during a day in Manhattan, show Marilyn as she really was – playful and sweet. Marilyn and Sam shared a mutual appreciation for the arts and each called New York home. They would be thrilled that these photos are now on display in the subway for the public to see and enjoy.”

Lester Burg, MTA Arts for Transit manager, who handles the lightbox program contacted Duggal Visual Solutions to partner up once again with him and Urban Design to help enlarge Sam Shaw’s vintage negatives of Marilyn and print them on Duratrans so that they could be displayed as large format transparencies in their lightboxes.  The largest transparency printed was over 59” w x 73” h. Images from the two day photo shoot are on display at the 42nd Street – Bryant Park Subway Station while the largest print of the subway grate image can be seen at 42nd Street and Broadway, right outside the Time Square subway entrance.

* Shaw photographed the publicity still of Marilyn on the subway grate for the film “The Seven Year Itch” in 1954. The photo was taken on Lexington Avenue in front of the then Trans-Lux Theatre between 51st and 52nd Streets.

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