Last week's mail brought us the Fall/Winter issue of "at
Cooper," a magazine
published for the alumni of Cooper Union; my husband is a
is a small, private college of art, engineering and architecture
on an urban
campus in lower Manhattan. This issue reflects, perhaps without
the seesaw of thought and feeling that New Yorkers are experiencing
recovery from September 11th progresses. Paging through the
and pictures go back and forth between remembrance, the struggle
to come to
terms with the attacks, the effort to contain the damage,
and reporting other
events-in other words, moving on. We do move on, but are drawn
back to that
day, and are never prepared for when, how and why the memories
Each issue of "at Cooper" covers material of interest
to the graduates of
it's three majors. Recently redesigned, it's about the size
tabloid-style newspaper; the current issue runs 28 pages.
The color cover
shows a painting of four New York City firefighters, their
backs to the
viewer, in their now-familiar black fire coats with bright
They're wearing yellow fire helmets, and are shrouded in a
textured glaze of
pale butter-yellow and grey-blue smoke. The September 11th
obvious, but it's a meaning added by time. The painting is
part of a series
called "Rescue" that the artist, a Cooper alum named
Tom Moran, had been
working on for two years. The editors tell us this on page
2, and then on the
facing page move on to "News Briefs" concerning
a new dean, alumni news and a
faculty member who is eulogized.
Then, page 4- engineering students made a model of the "bathtub,"
in which the foundations of the Trade Center were built. Page
events at Cooper, including concerts and poetry readings in
In an interview with designer/illustrator Milton Glaser we
update of his "I LOVE NY" logo (with a heart standing
in for 'LOVE'): "I LOVE
NY MORE THAN EVER", with the lower left hand corner of
the heart singed in
black. The Glaser interview is followed by another interview,
and then a
piece about lectures and exhibitions at Cooper.
Then there's page 17.
Taking up more than half the page is a color reproduction
of an oil painting
done by Megan Craig from the 91st floor of the North Tower.
She is one of
eight artists given grants to paint cityscapes from this unique
point. Her view, looking straight down from that vertiginous
the bright red sculpture "Bent Propeller" by Alexander
Calder (part of which
has already been salvaged from the rubble) and the abstract
play of light and
shadow around it. The brief text is her poetic first person
painting the city from the Trade Center's perspective.
The last reference to the attacks is on page 22. It shows
a mural, designed
by two alumni and painted by volunteers, dedicated to NY firefighters
Engine Co. 33 and Ladder 9, who lost 10 members at the Trade
Manhattan, illuminated at night by its' skyscrapers' rectangular
lined up below an ultramarine blue sky filled with stars.
The Towers are set
in their place and filled with flowers: African daisies, sunflowers,
black-eyed susans, peonies.
For 30 years, as the sun rose in the East, made its' track
southern sky and set over New Jersey, the Trade Center's shadow
traced a huge
arc over lower Manhattan. The shadow is gone from 'now ,'
and its' absence
has yet to be accepted in our consciousness. It is still so
hard to accept
that these buildings are part of 'before.' The Towers' image,
picture and memory, has a power unique in our experience and,
like Milton Glaser's logo, it will singe our hearts for a
very long time.
About the Author
Nancy LeMay is a five-time Emmy winning broadcast designer
who has worked both in New York and LA, in network and local.
She is a teacher and a painter as well. You can reach her
through her website, www.Nancylemay.com
and by email at NancyLeMayCo@aol.com