3. The Face of the USS Maine Monument was America’s First Supermodel

audrey-munson-nyc-untapped-citiesAudrey Munson with photographer Arnold Genthe’s cat Buzzer, 1915. Image via Wikipedia

You’ve come across Audrey Munson, America’s first supermodel, on multiple occasions. She’s the face of New York City, memorialized in statues that decorate various institutions and tourist attractions throughout the city. Among a number of places, you’ll find her sitting on top of the Manhattan Municipal Building downtown, on the facade of the New York Public Library at 42nd Street and as Columbia Triumphant for the USS Maine Monument in Columbus Circle. Known by the nickname, “Miss Manhattan,” Munson made a living by posing as a model for photographers, painters and sculptors in the early 1900s. Unfortunately for the young model and artist, scandals began to follow her, eventually causing her mental breakdown. At 39-years-old, she was committed to a mental institution, where she stayed until her death at the age of 104.