Saturday, April 9, 2022

Pull Up a Seat for Sculpture Saturday

 Sculpture Saturday

Pull Up a Seat

Manhattan New York

Lunch atop a Skyscraper (New York Construction Workers Lunching on a Crossbeam) is an iconic photograph taken in 1932 of 11 construction workers seated along a crossbeam of the ironwork of the RCA building, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, in Manhattan, New York City.

The photograph depicts 11 men eating lunch, seated on a girder with their feet dangling 840 feet (260 meters) above the New York City streets. The photograph was taken on September 20, 1932, on the 69th floor of the RCA Building during the last months of construction. According to archivists, the photograph was prearranged. Although the photograph shows real ironworkers, it is believed that the moment was staged by Rockefeller Center to promote its new skyscraper. Other photographs taken on the same day show some of the workers throwing a football and pretending to sleep on the girder. The photo appeared in the Sunday photo supplement of the New York Herald Tribune on October 2, 1932.
Formerly attributed to "unknown", and often misattributed to Lewis Hine, it was credited to Charles C. Ebbets in 2003.

Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Plaza.
While you wait for the elevator you get a photo taken (if you wish) showing your party sitting on a beam based on this famous photo.
We did.

Later that night we passed this.

Sergio Furnari click to see his fun website.
Decades later a poster of the photograph hung in shop window on Fifth Avenue when sculptor Sergio Furnari walked by. The Sicilian-born Furnari was new to America and the image captivated him. The faces of the workers—mostly immigrants—spoke to him.

“I know how they felt,” he later recalled to New York Times reporter Leslie Chess Feller, “I looked at those faces and knew I had to capture them in clay. Like me, they were immigrants, poor people who worked hard.”

Furnari started out creating a life-size version of the photograph. The figures were executed in terra cotta, cement, fiberglass and metal. One-by-one the completed statues were welded to an I-beam which Furnari attached to his truck. The work in progress was exhibited around the city, wherever the artist would park.

As he worked on the astonishing sculpture he said “Those men were real people. Each one has, I think, a soul. I feel it when I sculpt them, when I touch their faces and make their features come out of the clay. It’s like I keep their spirit alive.”

Furnari called his work “Lunchtime on a Skyscraper—A Tribute to America’s Heroes.” That title would take on new significance on the morning of September 11, 2001.

The work was nearly finished. Only one figure was left to complete. That morning Furnari and his wife, illustrator Julia Licht, watched the collapse of the World Trade Towers from their apartment window.

Within the next few weeks working heroes would have a new meaning for Furnari and his sculpture.

The work was completed in October. Meanwhile hundreds of workmen toiled in the still-smoldering ruins of Ground Zero. “The twin towers were made by the ironworkers, and it was the ironworkers that had to remove the whole steel out of Ground Zero,” he later related.


  1. Interesting post.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

  2. Very interesting. I had seen the original photo but haven't been to New York and had no idea about the sculpture or it's connection to 9/11. Thanks for joining in and sharing this information.


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