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November 3, 2012

Some Thoughts on the Powerful New York Magazine “City and the Storm” Cover

NY Mag City and the Storm cover 600

With NY still struggling to get on top of the fallout, this cover more than delivers the sense of arriving there. And a similar point: In the face of powerlessness, the contribution of the photo is to help people place the experience so quickly in perspective. From both standpoints, the photo is a tremendous moral lift.

It’s also a beautiful photograph, all shimmery in the distance. More than that, though, it appeals to our sense of restoration and, yes, hope, the storm clouds parting taking it almost to a Hollywood level.

Embedded in the post-storm photo also, I believe, is the psychic impact of 9/11, Sandy being “that next” disaster to hit New York. If you remember, the New York cover on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 was about also about perspective, and about getting above.

New York Mag 9 11 10th anniversary cover

If it’s actually the Goldman Sachs building lit up in the foreground with the Freedom Tower just beyond it, I don’t think, for inspirational purposes, it makes a difference. Providing an even deeper reassurance to New Yorkers and Americans is the sense, the clouds parting relatively quickly on this latest adversity, that the Trade Center has not only returned but is actually creating its own tower of light.

(photo: Iwan Baan for New York Magazine.)

  • Cactus

    I love city/storm photos. I’ve got a couple from Los Angeles that I use as
    PC wallpaper. Even though I don’t know NYC that well, it’s obvious that this is
    the end of a storm and the outline of lower Manhattan has been broken off. The
    sense I get from this photo/angle is that it’s the view of an outsider. But
    maybe that’s just my perspective. I do hear New Yorkers talking about the
    poorer areas of NYC being hardest hit. If that’s correct, perhaps this is a map
    of same. Also that lit building could be the ‘Freedom Tower’ (ghastly name)
    since apparently the Goldman building has no pointy steeple effect on top.

    Anyway, love the photo.

  • Scarabus

    Beautiful photo of ugly an phenomenon. And wonderfully symbolic, undoubtedly. But of what? Help us out.

    For non-New Yorkers like Cactus and me, can you offer a primer? For example, what’s that blue skyscraper outlined against the blacked-out part of the city? And what’s the economic relationship between the two?

    • Chris

      That’s the freedom tower! It looks beautiful and offer hope.

  • Bailey Wier

    Coming from NY Magazine, a mainstream media outlet representing a particular view of the world, this map is important for what it doesn’t show. This is, after all, a shot of the wealthiest borough of New York City, Manhattan. Even ‘relit’ Downtown area has a large contingent of poor and elderly who struggle to get power, food, and water to their still-damaged housing projects (dark stairwells, dead elevators, no hot water) in areas like the Lower East Side, Chinatown, etc. But, apparently the pain has been nothing like what has been seen in less affluent areas which still remain without power and garner far less representation; places like Staten Island, lower Queens, and Brooklyn. I’m hearing a lot of friends voicing anger that the city is declared “back up” while those places languish.

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  • http://twitter.com/gastropoda Regina Schrambling

    I’ve been quoting Adam Gopnik (I think it was) in the New Yorker. On 9/11 the world thought America was attacked. America thought New York was attacked. And New York thought downtown was attacked.

    This photo illustrates that so brilliantly with the storm. Up where we live, it’s like nothing happened aside from a bunch of trees getting uprooted in the parks. But down in SoPo (South of Power), it was a whole other island.

    What makes the photo even more interesting as the recovery drags on, as Bailey Wier notes, is how much you can’t see — large parts of this immense city. (Although the shot does appear to include the Bronx plus a big chunk of Queens.)

  • http://www.adela.vn/dich-vu/thiet-ke-logo.html Thiet ke logo

    I do hear New Yorkers talking about the
    poorer areas of NYC being hardest hit. If that’s correct, perhaps this is a map
    of same.Thiet ke lich tet Also that lit building could be the ‘Freedom Tower’ (ghastly name)
    since apparently the Goldman building has no pointy steeple effect on top.

  • Pingback: New York Magazine captures post Sandy NY | Tim Batchelder.com

  • jonst

    “hope” for what? For the investors?

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