Lunch atop a Skyscraper

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Lunch atop a Skyscraper, 1932

Lunch atop a Skyscraper (New York Construction Workers Lunching on a Crossbeam) is a famous black-and-white photograph taken during construction of the RCA Building at 30 Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, New York City, United States.

The photograph depicts eleven men eating lunch, seated on a girder with their feet dangling 256 meters (840 feet)[1] above the New York City streets. The men have no safety harness, which was linked to the Great Depression, when people were willing to take any job regardless of safety issues.[1] The photo was taken on September 20, 1932 on the 69th floor of the RCA Building during the last months of construction. According to archivists, the photo was in fact prearranged.[1] Although the photo shows real construction workers, it is believed that the moment was staged by the Rockefeller Center to promote its new skyscraper.[1] The photo appeared in the Sunday photo supplement of the New York Herald Tribune on October 2. The glass negative is now owned by Corbis who acquired it from the Acme Newspictures archive in 1995.

Formerly attributed to "unknown", it has been credited to Charles C. Ebbets since 2003[2][3] and erroneously to Lewis Hine. The Corbis corporation is now officially returning its status to unknown although sources continue to credit Ebbets.[4][5][6][7]

There have been numerous claims regarding the identities of the men in the image. The movie Men at Lunch[8] traces some of the men to possible Irish origin, but the director plans to do further interviews to follow up among others claims from Swedish relatives.[9] From the left, number three is Joseph Eckner, number four is Michael Breheny, number five is Albin Svensson and number six with the cigarette is John Patrick Madden. The first man from the right is Slovak worker Gusto Popovic who sent this picture home to his wife[10] who indicates that there is actually a floor directly underneath the frame. The third from the right is Joe Curtis.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d Malm, Sara (September 20, 2012). "The picture that proves why iconic photograph of workers eating their lunch on Rockefeller beam was all a publicity stunt". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  2. ^ A photo finished |
  3. ^ Ormond woman, daughter document legacy |
  4. ^ Reuters photographer blog, "[1]", September 20, 2012.
  5. ^ Pollak, Michael (March 9, 2012). "Answers to Questions about New York". New York Times. 
  6. ^ The New York Times. March 11, 2012  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Robinson, Dean (September 2, 2011). "Reaching the Heights". New York Times. 
  8. ^ Men at Lunch at the Internet Movie Database
  9. ^ Högt över New York satt bondpojkarna från Okome - Halland -
  10. ^ Oběd na vrcholu mrakodrapu: jak to opravdu bylo -
  11. ^ Identified in the movie "Men at Lunch" around minute 27.