The Unseen Notre Dame

Author: Ed Cohen

“Shoot,” I said, remembering I’d left my pen down below with my notebook. I was standing in a sort of crow’s nest that hangs inside the Golden Dome directly beneath Mary’s two-ton, 16-foot-tall, hollow iron statue. My legs trembled faintly and I kept a hand clamped on anything solid and vertical as I stepped around the tiny platform. Gaps between some of the planks, I couldn’t help noticing, were wide enough to swallow a leg.

I’d come here with Matt Cashore ’94 on an assignment from the magazine to photograph various nooks and crannies of campus, the dark or hidden corners that few have ever visited. The platform we were on topped a dark and dusty chamber, the void between the gold-leafed exterior dome and the rotunda ceiling decorated with heavenly cloud-sitters.

For more than a month this past winter Matt and I explored such off-limits and seldom-seen places. You can see what we found in the print issue of the magazine. Other are posted here.

As for my inaccessible notebook and pen, our escort from the maintenance department, Mark Sobrielski, quickly diagnosed my dilemma from having guided dozens to the same location. He pulled a blue-capped Sharpie from his shirt pocket and extended his arm.

One look around Mary’s crow’s nest, and it’s obvious that everyone who climbs this far wants to leave behind proof that they made it. To the inked and carved names of generations of administrators, workmen and alums, I shamelessly added: “Ed Cohen ND Magazine 1/6/03.”