Lunch atop a Skyscraper [1932]

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Lunch atop a Skyscraper (New York Construction Workers Lunching on a Crossbeam) is a famous photograph taken by Charles C. Ebbets during construction of the GE Building at Rockefeller Center in 1932.

The photograph depicts 11 men eating lunch, seated on a girder with their feet dangling hundreds of feet above the New York City streets. Ebbets took the photo on September 29, 1932, and it appeared in the New York Herald Tribune in its Sunday photo supplement on October 2. Taken on the 69th floor of the GE Building during the last several months of construction, the photo Resting on a Girder shows the same workers napping on the beam.

Lunch atop a Skyscraper [1932]

Photographer: Charles C. Ebbets

47 thoughts on “Lunch atop a Skyscraper [1932]

  1. This image, although set up for the purpose of the photographer, Is a fake. I was so dissapointed to learn of this but I still like it. We chose to believe to see things that are right in front of us, but things are not necessarily as they seem. It is the way things were done back then. How society has moved on from this, Amazing.

  2. This photo is at my job at the veterans hospital in east orange, new jersey. I always wondered if this was a real photo. There is also another photo where two guys are being served lunch and they have the nerve to have a table on the beam. Anyway its a heck of a picture.

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  4. have a look at the angle of the men’s feet. it is so clearly a fake. their feet were on a flat surface when this was taken.

  5. this photo is amazing . you see no fear in any of the workers faces .. is the fear of heights relativly a new fear lol ?

  6. Its no secret that this was simply a part of daily life for these guys. Maybe they didn’t all sit together like this, but these dudes were real and captured in this instant for us to look back on now. I like the dude on the far right, with his EMPTY bottle of hooch. Wouldn’t want to work with him though….. NOT photoshopped.

  7. PS Edsephiroth to the contrary, the ironmen don’t have their feet in a row; look toward the left end. Their feet are not “exactly at the same level”at different heights and angles, one is even balancing a foot on the lower flange of the beam. No fake.

  8. totally awesome!!! Now that was a fearless generation, those men had guts and honor, it makes me proud to be an American, thankyou… And to Lou, hey man it might have ben setup but it is what it is…

  9. C’mon folks – this picture hangs on the wall of my local takeaway – a really large-size print of it and…it’s so clearly fake. The guys are cut out – the girder is on the floor. It’s not apparent when you see it this small but large – you can see how all their feet are at exactly the same level (bar one or two who have curled up or stretched out. Great classic idea, but as fake as anything in Photoshop (and yes you could do that back then, it’s called a pair of scissors!).

  10. Wrong Lou, they ate like this on a daily basis, maybe not all in a row, but the did. it was “semi-staged” as the gathered a few around for more of an impact.

  11. That picture makes me feel sick, when i look at it i just picture myself looking down sat on that beam and I feel faint…

  12. We have this picture hanging up in our office. The worker on the far right is holding an EMPTY liquor bottle. You wouldn’t be able to get ME up there regardless of what you plied me with. I know, “it’s not the FALL that would kill you, it’s the sudden stop at the end”.

  13. This picture causes a bit of a misconception. The workers didn’t eat lunch like this regularly. Instead, one of the men had the idea that it would make for a good picture if they went out on the beam and pretended to each lunch. The photo is not spontaneous, it’s set up. This doesn’t necessarily take anything away from the picture, however.

  14. Well, you only live once. This was probably a pretty common thing for these guys. And they probably had no one to answer to. I love their nonchalance. What men!

  15. omg! wouldn’t they be scared! :O those 2 men on the far left are just sitting talking like it is any other day! they r pretty stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  16. I bought this poster and had it framed for my ex-husband, who’s an ironworker. I think he thought I gave him the world. Years later and since our divorce and he still has it hanging on his wall. AWESOME PIC!!!

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