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Tuesday, June 18, 12:55:12Login ] [ Contact Forum Admin ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 12345[6]7 ]
Subject: Dealer drives Miss New York mad

By Eugene Driscoll
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Date Posted: 02/ 4/05 4:36:46pm

Christina Ellington
Anybody out there have an extra car lying around? A beauty queen needs new wheels.
Christina Ellington, a 2000 graduate of Danbury High School, was crowned Miss New York in June. She qualified for the pageant because she lived in New York City while attending New York University, where she studied musical theater at the exclusive Tisch School of the Arts.

In addition to winning a $10,000 scholarship from the pageant, Ellington won a car.

Actually, she won the right to use a car for a year, donated by a generous auto dealer in Watertown, N.Y., where the Miss New York pageant is held.

Now don't get her wrong.

She is very happy with her 2004 Dodge Stratus. She didn't even want to name the dealership that donated it because she was afraid of making them look bad.

"I didn't want anything fancy just something that could get me to the appearances," Ellington said.

However, the car came with strings attached. Those strings are preventing Miss New York from spreading her message about education reform (her Miss New York platform).

She can't take the car into New York City.

She can't take the car out of state.

In fact, the car isn't for personal use at all.

The thing is, being Miss New York is a full-time gig. Ellington doesn't have a car of her own. She has constant personal appearances and occasional store appearances. She even appeared in "The Wiz" at Danbury High School.

"If you're Miss New York, you're really too busy to be doing anything else," she said.

Apparently the folks at the auto dealership, a business about 30 minutes from the Canadian border, don't like the looks of New York City.

"I think they are afraid of it being stolen or things happening to the car," Ellington said.

And apparently beauty queens aren't always the strongest drivers. "Unfortunately, we had some issues last year when Miss New York had a couple of accidents," she said.

Calls to Dealmaker Dodge, the upstate New York car dealer that donated the car, weren't returned by deadline.

Ellington pays for gas, oil changes and other maintenance. She's under the dealership's insurance policy.

But because Ellington went to school in Manhattan for four years, she's made it a point to appear at city schools. However, she can't drive her car into the five boroughs. Neither could the previous four Miss New Yorks, who were all from New York City.

When heading into the city for a Miss New York appearance, Ellington drives to Metro-North train stations in Brewster and White Plains, N.Y.

Then she has to find a way from Grand Central Station to wherever she's heading.

"It can be very difficult for me to get on trains and lug luggage around," she said. "You have to take a bus or a cab or something out to the school and then head all the way back."

Meanwhile, her parents live in Danbury. Technically, she's not supposed to drive the car to see them, but doing so hasn't presented any problems.

"We're only about five miles over the border," she said. "They've been pretty lenient about that."

Ellington is searching for another car dealer that would be willing to let her use a car until June, when her reign ends.

"I've had a wonderful year and I want to do even more," she said.

To learn more about Christina Ellington, log onto www.christina-ellington.com.

Contact Eugene Driscoll

at edriscoll@newstimes.com

or at (203) 731-3348.

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