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Archived Weekly Features
This View by Nancy LeMay
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, and by email at


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 graduate. Cooper
is a small, private college of art, engineering and architecture on an urban
campus in lower Manhattan. This issue reflects, perhaps without meaning to,
the seesaw of thought and feeling that New Yorkers are experiencing as the
recovery from September 11th progresses. Paging through the magazine, words
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 resurface.

Each issue of "at Cooper" covers material of interest to the graduates of
it's three majors. Recently redesigned, it's about the size of a
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 yellow stripes.
They're wearing yellow fire helmets, and are shrouded in a textured glaze of
pale butter-yellow and grey-blue smoke. The September 11th reference is
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," the caisson
in which the foundations of the Trade Center were built. Page 5: upcoming
events at Cooper, including concerts and poetry readings in February, March
and April.

In an interview with designer/illustrator Milton Glaser we see Glaser's
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 vantage
point. Her view, looking straight down from that vertiginous height, shows
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 account of
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 from
Engine Co. 33 and Ladder 9, who lost 10 members at the Trade Center.
Manhattan, illuminated at night by its' skyscrapers' rectangular lights, is
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 through the
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, in words,
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, and by email at