Read our first print issue of the fall 2021 semester, including a photo essay on New York City’s reopening, an interview with NASA engineer, ruminations on Lisa Simpson, a deep dive on the musicians whose records we found in our archives, and more.

Letter from the editor

by Josh Joseph

I’ve been putting this off for a while, searching for what to say. I’ve been in the Peet’s in the GLS (now deVries) Center, collecting fallen bagel seeds in the lid of my cup or slowly chewing the ice from the bottom of a latte. I’ve been in the passenger seat of my car, thoughts battling the road noise on a three-hour downstate trip back to campus. I’ve been in the Press office, full of people for the first time in a long time, laying out some of the pieces you see now.

But the time is finally right, I think — and not only because I’ve pretty much run out the clock. I just got back to my dorm, cold rainwater creeping up the back of my legs. It reminded me of a different rainstorm, the one I wrote about in this space last March, that ran through the pipe that stretches from the floor to the ceiling of the office as I sat there, alone.

So much has changed since then. Days and weeks and months and years seem to have passed in the long blink of the pandemic. More of our friends graduated. Vaccines gave us a glimmer of hope that the Delta variant snatched back in record time. But the change that hits me as I write this is a little less specific, and harder to pin down: that year-long isolation, the kind of pressure that pushed the sky flat against the ground and made everything seem futile, has been lifted, and in its place now sits a lovely, jittery chaos.

In the last few weeks, I’ve seen more people on campus than I thought possible. On the first Friday of the semester, we stood in the thick August heat for the first real, in-person involvement fair since the very beginning of 2020. There, we handed out the remainder of our March issues, about 300 magazines in total. There was a kind of bittersweet irony to what we were doing, handing out copies of something we cobbled together in another time. We met over 70 new, interested and interesting people that day, and I’m happy to say I’ve seen a good number of those faces at our meetings since.

This issue represents a step forward. The stories within have been collected in the months since last March, but together they are the first magazine made in this fresh hell of a semester. Sam talks to a NASA engineer, Elisha photographs the reopening of New York City over the summer, Emily writes about her connection to Lisa Simpson, and Keating and I talk about a rocker-auteur and an exotic dancer we discovered through the vinyl records in our archive. (I won’t spoil it, but it might be one of the most fun things I’ve ever done, so please check it out.)

I love making magazines with my friends at the Press. It’s my favorite thing about Stony Brook. I only have one year left here before I leave, something I can’t believe even as I write it. Some of us here have just one semester, and I don’t know what we’ll do without them.

This week, I’ve burnt myself out a few times, rushing this issue to the finish line and wishing I could push back the hands of time. But the Press rattles forward, and so do I.

I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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