The girls had only been in New York City for a few days and, for four of them, it was the first time. Yet here they were, striking a pose tens of millions of hardened New Yorkers would recognize from their own daily hustle: Hanging on to a metal pole with one hand, packed elbow to elbow, trying not to step on their neighbors as the steel-and-aluminum carriage they were in swayed violently to and fro.
Such was the scene Tuesday afternoon as the 51 beauties of the Miss USA pageant balanced themselves in high heels on a bumpy cruise up the Hudson river aboard a CitySightseeing New York Cruises trawler. The sightseeing trip -- off the West side of Manhattan and, as the tour guide kept reminding Miss New Jersey, the eastern shore of her home state -- was equal parts publicity junket and charity event: People were invited to make a $100 donation to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for the privilege of hanging out in a boat full of beauty queens.
Following a red carpet, a staged publicity shot on the ship's aft staircase, and a quick buffet -- beauty queens, contrary to popular stereotype, do eat -- the young ladies of Miss USA mingled with their fans, talked to the media, and posed for a fusillade of photographers.
Among the afternoon's scenes: Miss USA candidates posing for iconic shots with Lady Liberty, talking about their accomplishments with the media, and displaying hidden talents (for example, Miss Oklahoma, Lauren Lundeen, can touch her nose with her tongue.)
Click 'Start' to see a slideshow of the gracious, lovely ladies of Miss USA or click here to see the pictures in a larger, hi-def format.