Lunch atop a Skyscraper

In this curious photo, we can see 11 workers calmly having lunch on top of a steel beam way up high while building a skyscraper in New York, specifically Rockefeller Center.

According to the chronicles, the picture was taken on September 20, 1932 on the 69th floor (850 ft or 260 m up) of the RCA Building and was published in the photo supplement of the New York Herald Tribune on October 2 of the same year, meaning that last September was the 88th anniversary of it being taken.

Originally, the photo was credited to Lewis Hine, and it was said it had been taken during the construction of the Empire State Building, which the photographer had been documenting, but in 2003 it was proven that the photo had been taken by Charles C. Ebbets.

Lunch atop a Skyscraper , de Charles C. Ebbets
Lunch atop a Skyscraper , de Charles C. Ebbets

The Protagonists

Thanks to the photo’s popularity, which has been parodied countless times with different characters, some began wondering who the workers in the photo were.  The National Museum of the American Indian claimed to identify three Native Americans in the picture.  In the documentary “Men at Lunch”, by Irish film maker Seán Ó’Cualáin, two other immigrants’ stories were traced back to Ireland, and their identities confirmed: Joseph Eckner, third from the left, and Joe Curtis, third from the right, thanks to cross referencing with other photos taken on the same day.  The rightmost, holding a bottle and looking at the camera, has been identified as either Gustáv Popovic, a worker from Slovakia, or as Sonny Glynn.  On the opposite end was Matty O’Shaughnessy.

Matty O’Shaughnessy, first on the left
Matty O’Shaughnessy, first on the left

Sonny-GlynnLunch atop a Skyscraper, de Charles C. Ebbets
Sonny Glynn, first from the right

Interactive Whiteboards by PolyVision


And why this article on the blog?

Unbelievable though it may seem, there is a direct relationship here with Balmaseda, in the Encartaciones region of Biscay, as we’ll see in the next entries based on this interesting picture.

Harresi – 9/3/2021 – Euskadi

Almuerzo en lo alto de un rascacielos

Es esta una curiosa fotografía que muestra a 11 trabajadores almorzando plácidamente sentados en una viga de hierro en lo alto de un rascacielos de Nueva York en construcción, concretamente el Rockefeller Center. Según cuentan las crónicas, la imagen se tomó el 20 de septiembre de 1932 en el piso 69 (a 260 metros de altura) del Edificio RCA y publicada en el suplemento fotográfico dominical del New York Herald Tribune, el 2 de octubre del mismo año, por tanto, en el pasado mes de septiembre se cumplieron 88 años desde que se tomó la fotografía.

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