Sunday, February 24, 2013
I learned that the image was taken on September 20, 1932, and first appeared in the New York Herald Tribune on October 2, 1932. It was a publicity shot staged apparently on behalf of what was then called the Rockefeller Center. Work was scarce and the 11 men on a supposed lunch break highlighted that the construction was providing needed jobs during the Great Depression. Several photographers were there to capture the men eating and chatting. Charles C. Ebbets is sometimes credited with taking this particular picture that evolved into a popular icon. Prints of the image have sold by the millions worldwide.
Lunch On A Skyscraper reaches beyond space and time to touch us on a deep level. Generally accepted as depicting genuine workers on a girder dangling sixty-nine floors over city streets, the image speaks of bravery and more. The need for a job is being balanced against its dangers and shows us that Mark Twain was right when he said, "Necessity is the mother of taking chances."
The men seem to sit lightly on the beam like children on some gigantic swing in the sky or birds on a wire. Nonetheless, it is easy to see this is a rough way to make a living when you don't have wings. We admire their bravado knowing one slight move in the wrong direction could lead to disaster. Many of us safe on the ground have felt similar danger, whether real or imagined. We weigh the options understanding there is little of substance that can be achieved in this world without taking a risk.
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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms