“Even now, I can sit in the subway, and look up at the ads, and close my eyes, and there’s Miss Subways.” Mayor Edward I. Koch once recalled. “She wasn’t the most beautiful girl in the world but she was ours. She was our own Miss America.”
Most New Yorkers probably don’t remember those eye-catching girl-next-door photographs. They were conceived by J. Walter Thompson to make the adjacent placards leased by Walter O’Malley’s advertising agency for soap, beer, cigarettes, soda, liquor and laxative companies more inviting.
David Duchovny, the New York-born actor, was just a teenager when the last of the Miss Subways was crowned. He is best known for his television roles as Fox Mulder, the F.B.I. agent in “The X-Files,” and Hank Moody, the novelist in “Californication.” But in his third novel, “Miss Subways” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), he demonstrates unequivocally that, to paraphrase the actor Chris Robinson who portrayed Dr. Rick Webber on “General Hospital,” he not only plays a novelist on TV, but is one.Literary snobs can rest assured that Mr. Duchovny’s academic credentials are impeccable. He earned a bachelor’s from Princeton and a master’s from Yale, both in English literature, and started a doctoral thesis on a subject that Hollywood agents must be salivating over, “Magic and Technology in Contemporary Fiction and Poetry.”