march playmate ellen michaels is always at the ready to flee fun city for a place in the warm
Fun City: To many natives, it's the epitome of everything and they wouldn't leave for anything. Not Ellen Michaels. Born and reared in Bayside, Queens, this New Yorker escapes the metropolis every chance she gets. "I have no real complaints about New York," Ellen says. "In fact, I like a lot of things about the city. It has great theaters, restaurants, museums and all that. But the one thing it doesn't have is great weather. It's muggy in the summer, freezing in the winter and rainy in the spring and fall. And for a sun worshiper like me, that kind of weather means no fun at all." So, to beat the elements, this college sophomore splits for the sun and surf of Miami during school vacations and as many weekends as possible in between. "Ever since I was a little kid, I've been spending vacations there with my parents and younger brother. And we still go to Miami together for holidays like Christmas and Easter. But when they can't make it, I usually take off alone or with girlfriends. I can't say I really do a whole lot when I'm in Florida, except fool around in the water and lie in the sun," she says, "but that's something you sure can't do year round in New York." Even if the weather cooperated, however, when she was home in Queens, where she lives with her parents, Ellen's busy college schedule wouldn't allow much time for sunning. Majoring in elementary education, she will graduate from Queensborough, a two-year school, in June. After that, she plans to continue her studies at Queens College to earn her teaching certificate. "I'll probably consider teaching in the public elementary schools here, but the picture does look pretty bleak, at least right now," says Ellen. "There is a shortage of teaching positions in the city, and I feel that the teachers are generally underpaid. So after earning my degree, I may have to look around elsewhere for a teaching job," she says, a noticeable glint in her eye, "until the situation with the New York schools improves." And we'd say -- merely hazarding a guess, of course -- that her first choice just might be Miami.
Photography by Dwight Hooker