Meet 1959's "Miss Beatnik" Of Greenwich Village


Miss Beatnik, 1959. (Photo courtesy of the Beat Museum)

In July of 1959, a 17-year-old native Brooklynite named Angel was crowned "Miss Beatnik" by a crowd at the Gaslight Coffee House, a title also known as "The First Lady of MacDougal Street." According to the Village Voice, "The contest had been staged to clear the beatnik name, which had been sullied a few days earlier when, according to the coffeeshop cognoscenti, a girl from the Copa kicking squad was given the palm at a 10th Street bar."
As for Angel, who accepted her title barefoot, she told the paper she was "deeply concerned about the way the public views the beatniks... I wish people would try to understand what the so-called beat generation is, and maybe they will realize we have something to offer society. We are considered anti-social, but we are not!" The Brooklyn College student did not exactly consider herself a beatnik, however—she told the paper she was more of hipster. What did she consider a hipster? "An artist and an intellectual, and I smoke Viceroy and I think for myself."
Corbis notes that beatniks at the time had "attained the status of a tourist attraction... many a visitor to New York would rather see a real-life beatnik than the Statue of Liberty," kind of like today's hipsters?
You can see another photo of Angel (who is now a psychoanalyst, mother, and grandmother) right here, alongside her judges. Though we think John Oliver would be cool with this "pageant."



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