At the beginning of the 20th century, a popular Manhattan attraction for men was to watch women pass by a subway grate. But why? Because the breeze from the subway passing below lifted women's skirts! And this moment with Marilyn Monroe went down in the history of world culture.


On the night of 15 September on Lexington Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Street in New York City a scene of the movie The Seven Year Itch was being filmed by the director Billy Wilder. Marilyn Monroe in a white flowing dress stood on a subway grate built into the sidewalk, and her skirt was lifted above her knees and sometimes over her head.


Strong gusts from beneath were created by the trains of the New York City subway. Each gust of wind lifting Marilyn's skirt was greeted by an approving roar from bystanders. And the cameraman kept making new takes to get the perfect picture.


On the night of September 15, 1957 were filmed 14 takes with Monroe. But the film's director Billy Wilder didn't approve any of them. Later this episode with Marilyn in a white dress was filmed on a sound stage. The 7 Year Itch was a tremendous success for Marilyn, but on the other hand, it destroyed her personal life.


Fateful breeze from the subway


Among a crowd of lucky onlookers observing filming the dress scene, there was a famous basketball player Joe DiMaggio. But unlike other men the Italian wasn't at all happy about Marilyn's skirt being blown. It comes as no surprise since he was the actress' husband. Men's attention and their dirty jokes about his wife drove the athlete into a rage. After filming, the spouses quarreled and two weeks later, Monroe filed for divorce. The wind from the subway changed the life of the actress completely.

Monroe's iconic white dress was sold at auction for a whopping $4.6 million in 2011. This comes as no surprise since this powerful movie scene continues to captivate even 70 years after.

A monument to Marilyn Monroe in Chicago. Source:

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