You must have already be familiar with the iconic photo of 11 construction workers enjoying their lunch break while sitting on a beam hoisted 69 floors up, but do you know the story behind it? Well, now you will know, through a documentary that seeks to tell a story lost in time, about the men who built New York City.
It has been 80 years since the gut-turning but fascinating Lunch atop a Skyscraper was taken and published anonymously in the New York Herald Tribune, but perhaps hardly anyone knows the story about the fearless men in the decades-old photograph. Who are these seemingly crazy construction workers who relished their lunches while perched on a beam suspended to a dizzying height, with New York City’s 1930s concrete jungle as their back drop?
An interesting documentary that seeks to answer this very question premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 2012, entitled Men at Lunch. If you’ve done a bit of research on the iconic photo credited to Charles Ebbets (despite Corbis, who now owns the glass negative, returning the status of photographer to “anonymous”), you must have come across the news telling it’s simply a publicity stunt by the Rockefeller Center. However, perhaps nobody bothered to find out who these 11 immigrant laborers actually are (which could possibly answer many other possible questions), until this documentary.
Watch the trailer below:
Even so, Seán Ó Cualáin, the documentary film’s director, became aware of a Swedish family’s claim that one of the men in the famous photograph is their father, and says it’s plausible. Well, I guess that’s another documentary material we’d have to look forward too, don’t you think?