Francine In Retirement
Seeing Life Through Photography



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( The above photo taken from the internet. )

On September 29, 1932, in the final months of the construction of the Art Deco RCA Building in Rockefeller Center, Charles C. Ebbets ascended to the 69th floor and snapped a photograph of eleven construction workers eating lunch on a steel girder. There, with Midtown Manhattan dwarfed in the background, the men dangled their feet and casually ate their sandwiches and drank their coffee.

The photograph appeared in the New York Herald Tribune’s photo supplement the following Sunday. It would become one of the most famous black and white images of all time.


When I visited Times Square in NYC, I came across the sculpture that was created by Sicilian-born Furnari.  He saw a photo in a shop window on Fifth Avenue and was so captivated by it that he created 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.   After traveling across the nation Furnari’s sculpture traveled around New York City, where I was lucky enough to be able to photograph it.  Read more about this sculpture here.


( The above photo was taken from the internet. )

Visit Flickr Comments for more Tagged “I” photos.  There is also a song called “Men of Iron” that you can find on YouTube.



12 Responses to “IRONWORKERS”

  1. I always found this image amazing, even as a child. Always wondered how these men developed such bravery to just sit like that, as though they had no worry at all about falling down. 🙂

  2. I’m okay with heights but I always wonder how on earth they could relax there!

  3. That picture gives me goosebumps!

  4. 69th floor, incredible!!! Yeah, how could they relax up there…

  5. What a brilliant sculpture, Francine. Great post 🙂

  6. Here in Bethlehem, Bethlehem Steel was King for decades. There is a monument now that lists all the things that were built with Bethlehem Steel during its heyday …. from the Golden Gate bridge to the Empire State Building. Great post!

  7. I have always loved that image – how nice that someone has created a sculpture of it and that you had the opportunity to see it.

  8. I could never work on a job so high, let alone sit on a girder for lunch. No way! 🙂

  9. oh, Francine, we have that IRONWORKERS poster too on our wall – and a version with women: because our daughter is an architect!

  10. Most of the iron workers are Native Americans. They have no fear of the height and are great workers!

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