Skip to content
marilyn Monroe Subway Grate Photo NYC

Marilyn Monroe's Iconic Dress on the Subway Grate

Marilyn Monroe
marilyn Monroe Subway Grate Photo

A Story of Glamour and Pop Culture


On September 15, 1954, a photograph was taken that would go down in history as one of the most famous images of the 20th century. The photograph was taken on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan while filming the 1955 comedy "The Seven Year Itch." The photo features Marilyn Monroe, the epitome of glamour and sex appeal, standing over a New York City subway grate with her white dress billowing up around her legs.

Monroe, who was already a successful actress and model, was at the height of her fame and beauty when the photograph was taken. Her sultry voice and stunning figure made her a sex symbol and pop culture icon. She starred in several hit films, including "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "How to Marry a Millionaire."

The white dress that Monroe wore in the photograph was designed specifically for the film "The Seven Year Itch." The dress was designed to accentuate Monroe's curves and was a deliberate departure from the more modest, conservative styles of the 1950s. The dress was made of lightweight cotton and had a tight, form-fitting bodice with a full, pleated skirt.

The photograph was taken during the filming of the movie's famous "subway grate scene." In the scene, Monroe's character, The Girl, steps onto a subway grate to cool off during a hot summer day in New York City. As a subway train passes beneath the grate, the wind from the train lifts Monroe's skirt, revealing her legs and causing her dress to billow around her.

The scene was filmed on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, and thousands of spectators gathered to watch the filming. The crowd was reportedly so large that the New York City police had to be called in to control the crowds and keep the streets clear. The photograph of Monroe standing over the subway grate was taken by photographer Sam Shaw and quickly became a sensation. It was published in magazines and newspapers around the world, and it remains one of the most famous images of Monroe to this day.


"The Seven Year Itch"
The Seven Year Itch

The photograph has been described as both a symbol of Monroe's sensuality and a symbol of the changing attitudes towards sexuality and femininity in the 1950s. The image of Monroe's dress blowing up around her legs was considered scandalous at the time, and it was rumored that the Catholic Legion of Decency threatened to have the film banned if the scene was not cut.

The dress that Monroe wore in the photograph has been showcased in museums and exhibitions and has been the subject of countless articles and books.
Today, the photo continues to captivate audiences and inspires new generations of fans, who are drawn to Monroe's beauty, charisma, and enduring legacy as a pop culture icon.

More New York Stories