By Michael Y. Park
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Fire Department of New York's annual celebration of beefcake just added a slice of cheesecake.
For the first time, the FDNY Calendar of Heroes features a female firefighter - Miss March, Danae Mines of Engine Co. 60 in the South Bronx, who dons the red suspenders and shows off taut arms.
"I’d love to inspire other women to come to the job," Mines said on Tuesday at a Times Square calendar signing with her fellow firefighter pinups, which was attended mostly by moms and giddy young women with boyfriends in tow.
"Congratulations, baby! It’s your time to shine!" a male onlooker sang out to Mines.
Mines, an 11-year veteran who is one of only 41 female firefighters in the department, said she was originally discouraged from trying out for the calendar, although she did not disclose by who. Nevertheless, she joined more than 100 would-be models for calendar auditions and, while she felt nervous as the only woman in line, her fellow applicants welcomed her.
"The guys made me feel comfortable," she said.
In the photo, Mines is dressed in a gray FDNY tank top with red suspenders, a fully loaded gear belt over olive work trousers, her arms crossed defiantly as one of New York's Bravest.
Profits from the sale of the calendar, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of the FDNY, go to the FDNY Foundation, which funds fire safety education for the public and supplements costs for training and equipment for firefighters.
"I’m proud of her," said firefighter John Kilian, also known as Mr. December.
In another historic moment for women in the FDNY, Josephine Smith this year became the first daughter of a firefighter slain in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to join the force.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Bill Trott)