- Rockefeller Center launched on Friday a new attraction for adventurous visitors to recreate construction’s most iconic photo atop its observation deck. “The Beam” rises and rotates tourists 12 feet above the deck, which itself is 70 stories high.
- The ride emulates the experience of the 11 steelworkers who posed for the iconic “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” photo in 1932.
- Footage from CBS News shows brave riders dwarfing modern New York City with Central Park in the background. Riders get a digital photo included with their ticket.
“Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” initially ran in the New York Herald Tribune on Oct. 2, 1932, according to a 2016 interview with Rockefeller Center Archivist Christine Roussel.
Charles Ebbets is credited for taking the photo, though two other photographers — Thomas Kelley and William Leftwich — also may have taken it, as they climbed the precarious network of steel beams to document the project.
Widely believed to be a publicity stunt, the image captured the exact sentiment it had set out for.
For many construction pros, the image of the steelworkers evokes pride, as it captures the spirit of hard work in the trades. Nonetheless, many say a modern lens makes the image cringe-inducing.
“It’s one of those things emotionally, you’re grateful and, and you honor and you respect the photograph, but by the same token as a safety professional, you look at it and you go, ‘Wow, let me just name the number of things that are wrong with this,’” Greg Sizemore, vice president of workforce development safety health and environmental at Associated Builders and Contractors, said about the photo in May.
Some crews have recreated the photo, though with updates, like brightly colored PPE and smartphones taking the place of cloth caps and cigarettes.
Rockefeller Center’s website says celebration of the workers’ “fearless footsteps” costs visitors between $40 and $55, depending on the timed entry.