The Rise of New York City's Skyscrapers After the 1929 Crash

By Paul Rosenfeld

On September 20, 1932, one of the most recognizable images of the New York City skyline was taken atop the GE building at Rockefeller Center (aka 30 Rock). The photograph, titled Lunchtime atop a Skyscraper, shows 11 construction workers calmly perched for a lunch break 69 stories above Manhattan.

In the recently released documentary Men At Lunch, the director, Seán Ó Cualáin, explores the origins of this photograph and its links to the history of the city. Above, a series of excerpts reveal some of the context behind the image. In the first clip, the narrator, famous Irish Actress Fionnula Flanagan, describes New York City in the years preceding the photograph. She explains how the boom of the roaring twenties led to the crash of 1929, which ironically was followed by the creation of some of New York’s tallest and most recognizable skyscrapers. In the latter clip, Ric Burns, director of New York: A Documentary, discusses the reasons we still connect to the photo today.

For more information visit the film's website.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archive/2013/12/the-rise-of-new-york-citys-skyscrapers-after-the-1929-crash/281781/