Cape and crown: How Rev. Jen got her booty back

She’ll see you in Hell: Reverend Jen Junior (2002-2016) still keeps in touch with our intrepid columnist. Photo by Jason Thompson.

BY REV. JEN MILLER | Greetings, Earthlings and dear readers! I last wrote this column almost nine months ago, after losing my Chihuahua BFF, Reverend Jen Junior. I was heartbroken then, and am still heartbroken. But, the good news is, Jen Junior will always be with us. In fact, I recently received a postcard, simply postmarked “Hell.” It read:

Hey, Rev.! It’s JJ. I am in Hell! I was sent here for lustfully humping human legs and being envious of other female dogs. But everything is cool. I’ve started a supergroup with Prince, Bowie, and Johnny Cash. Marilyn Monroe and I often stay up all night, swapping stories about being fabulous blondes. Because I greedily begged for food so much in life, my punishment is to eat myself to death every day, but then I get to come back to life and do it all again! Tell everyone back home I miss them, and that when they all die (hopefully not too soon) and go straight to Hell, we’ll have a big party!

Love Always,

Reverend Jen Junior

I guess she didn’t have time to write more, given Hell is so busy and fun, but she often visits me in dreams and is always by my side. Moving on, enquiring minds might wonder where I’ve been. Like Hillary, I simply vanished. Extremely long story short: Due to a psychotic roommate situation, I was forced to evacuate the city along with my trusty column cohort and roommate, John Foster.

Having nowhere to live and only our cat and the clothes on our backs, we headed north to Cape Cod, where John’s parents reside. It was time for my “Old Man and the Sea Monkey” phase. Much like the tiny crustacean, I was fragile and in need of care.

CAPE COD | When people picture Cape Cod, they often think of bros in white pants, boiling lobsters and playing golf — but there is much more to the hook-shaped peninsula than preppy culture. First, it is full of wildlife including foxes, bunnies, wolves, coyotes, whales, ducks, seals, sharks, and wild turkeys who walk in a line like they are posing for the cover of “Abbey Road.” While we were there, we saw a wolf smelling pink flowers and two seals “doing it” on the beach. A group of ducklings and their mother duck befriended me, mostly because I had popcorn. And, warning to everyone in the Atlantic: John taught me to drive a boat! It’s a lot like driving on 95, but there are no lanes. We gardened and swam every day, but the food there is so good, I am going to need Richard Simmons to cut me out of my current apartment if I am to cover events again.

Popcorn-loving ducks bonded with Rev. Jen on a Cape Cod beach. Photo by John Foster.

Inspired by the sea and the state’s legal marijuana, we also watched approximately 300 episodes of “SpongeBob.” But, realizing we were becoming useless human beings, we were both determined to return to New York City. I was getting no writing done and wanted the greatest booty one can cull from the treasure chest that is life: stories. Like Captain Jack Sparrow right after he helped lift the Curse of the Black Pearl, I had to get back on the boat and get lost at sea one more time. On a day trip to NYC, we managed to find an apartment and I managed to find a job at a retail establishment. Can’t tell you exactly where I live now, only that it’s very close to my favorite roller coaster.

The coveted Rev. Jen-designed Miss Subways crown sports a 1950s-era token. Photo courtesy Lisa Levy.

THE MISS SUBWAYS PAGEANT | A friend of mine contacted me while I was on the Cape and asked me to help organize and judge a rebooted version of the “Miss Subways” Pageant, which initially ran from 1941 through 1976. During those years, it was very much a “beauty pageant” that encouraged companies to advertise on the subway. (While gazing up at a lovely Miss Subways, you might also glance upon an ad.) But the new pageant was to be very different. Open to all genders and ages, it was a benefit for both the City Reliquary (a museum that celebrates NYC’s heritage with artifacts) and the Riders Alliance (a group devoted to combating the “Summer of Hell” while advocating for straphanger’s rights). Having organized the “Mr. LES Pageant” for 18 years, I knew I could certainly throw a better beauty pageant than Trump. Three other judges were also recruited; comedians Janeane Garofalo and Baratunde Thurston and NY1 host Roger Clark. I brought along two extra “hand-puppet” judges: Gay-Tor (a wise alligator who has lived under the subway for 112 years) and the “Ghost of IRT Past.”

Fourteen contestants entered, but only would walk away with the crown (designed by me), complete with plastic roaches, a pizza rat, and a 50-year-old token. By the final round, there were only four left standing: filmmaker, Dylan Mars Greenberg; drag queen tour guide, Glace Chase; Hedra, aka “Miss Derailment”; and performance artist, Lisa Levy. Lisa’s heartfelt memories of having ridden the subway for 61 years is what finally brought us to the conclusion that she should be bestowed the crown, making her the first post-menopausal Miss Subways in history. When you gaze upon her visage, remember she is going your way, even if the MTA isn’t.

This visual aid, used while talking about here lifelong relationship with the MTA, helped Lisa Levy clinch the title of “Miss Subways.” First photo on right by Phil Buehler.

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH | It’s that time of year again, when autumn leaves fall gently on the ground and NFL players don pink cleats along with their tight pants before crushing each other and getting concussions, in order to remind us of breast cancer awareness. Silly as their gesture might seem, when I look at those cleats, I imagine every player has a friend or family member who’s been affected by the disease, given it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. I wanted to write something funny here or do something like run or walk, but I am not always a fan of equating physical exercise with causes. If I am running, it’s generally from something or to something. So, I thought I’d write a poem instead. When I was a wee kid, my teacher asked me to write a poem about my favorite color. My favorite color is actually gold, but, technically, it’s a metal so I went with pink. I only have the first four lines memorized, but I have rewritten it, as a reminder to get your boobs checked.


Pink is the color of a carnation flower

Pink is the color of the sun’s final hour

Pink is the color of a sweet-smelling rose

It’s even the color of my kitten’s nose


Pink is also a cause

A moment to take pause

and check out your ta-tas

You can do a self-exam

You can even let your man

There are many tasks that men do loathe

Checking breasts is not one of those


Even Barbara Bush said it’s not deviant

to let you boyfriend go and feel it

So go and get your breasteses checked

Because the sooner they detect

The better you will rest


Before they repeal Obamacare

And we all have to live in fear!