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  • They're the unknown workers. They're the unsung heroes of construction.

  • Their attitude,

  • I think their casualness,

  • the indifference to the risk that they're taking is what

  • separates the photograph.

  • If you see the picture once,

  • you never forget it.

  • This photograph which is known around the world

  • Shows Eleven men sitting on a beam about 800 feet above the city of New York

  • You can see Central park in the background see buildings below

  • and they're casually sitting there one right next to the other eating their lunch and

  • They're all construction workers, and they came from all over the world. There are Irishmen, there are Mohawk Indians.

  • It's a mixed bag of people, and they're all working in 1931-32.

  • The image first appeared in the New York Herald Tribune [on] October 2nd

  • 1932 the Herald Tribune was a major New York publication

  • And it I think [that] generated an enormous [amount] of excitement about what was going on

  • they were getting as much publicity as they possibly could in any office that was rented whether you were a dentist or a

  • Hairdresser or a major Corporation they would get you into the news

  • Rockefeller put a quarter of a million people's work in the middle of the [depression] there were truckers are people in quarries people making windows

  • Different kinds of people, but it really had a serious effect on the economy

  • And that was the attitude very very positive towards the future very positive Towards America very

  • positive Towards business

  • The funniest part about the photographs were they were done for publicity

  • So you'll have stunts

  • Like this fellow Joseph McCluskey holding a flag up that seems to be attached to the top of the Empire [State] building

  • The other pictures also show men riding the final block of stone up going to celebrate

  • putting the last stone in place

  • We do have a photograph taken the same day

  • And what I call the hats off picture shows them looking at the camera and saying look at us

  • They're so proud of themselves. You know there's a real sense of pride and accomplishment

  • [and] I think that's also what all the pictures show the pride the guys had in their work

  • There are a couple of photographers who were present that day

  • William Left Which Charles [Ebbets] and

  • Thomas Kelly, who had to have a death wish [and]

  • They would have on their back a leather container that contained the glass plates, and they would actually switch them out [I]

  • Think that they liked to show off next to the construction workers

  • Well you guys walk these beams, but so can we we take risks, [too]

  • The question of the names of all these men comes up frequently

  • [who] are these men because on the back of the photograph They're not identified

  • We have people who have claimed that. They're their uncle [or] their relative

  • But most of them are either good guesses or plain guesses [I]

  • think it's kind of sad that they're not recognized because everybody else gets a credit and

  • Yet the people who actually have built the building are forgotten

  • the fact that they are immortalized in this picture and

  • They are the guys who risked their lives building this building

  • And I think that's what's important [about] the picture is that it places them in history as being important in

  • the Development of New York City and Rockefeller Center, and

  • Gives a great deal of credit to a group that basically goes uncredited

  • you

They're the unknown workers. They're the unsung heroes of construction.

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Lunch Atop A Skyscraper: The Story Behind The 1932 Photo | 100 Photos | TIME

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    joey joey posted on 2021/04/26
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