TIL this famous photo called "Lunch atop a Skyscraper" wasn't the unfinished Empire State Building, it was 30 Rockefeller Center.

TIL this famous photo called "Lunch atop a Skyscraper" wasn't the unfinished Empire State Building, it was 30 Rockefeller Center.
TIL this famous photo called "Lunch atop a Skyscraper" wasn't the unfinished Empire State Buildin...

What is also known is that a completely finished floor was likely beneath the workers, just a few feet below.


OSHA has a heart attack should be the photo title.

I’m a structural ironworker in NYC. If you look in the bottom left corner you can see steel on planks that is referred to as the “Derrick floor” (before cranes they used guy derricks to erect the building). The Derrick floor is the highest planked over floor that you put iron on to set higher floors. The planks are there so they can pour concrete later (basically just concrete forms that the Ironworkers put in). Now we use metal decking instead of planks. So basically if they fell into the building the most they could fall is two stories because we set two stories of steel at a time before we plank/deck over a new Derrick floor. However if they were on the perimeter of the building they could’ve fallen outside the building in which case you fall to the street.

Not too many in the Empire State Building construction (5), but 60 workers died during the construction of the World Trade Center in the 70s, which is insane. OSHA was founded during construction, but I’m guessing hadn’t implemented enforceable policies yet.

If you're from NY or have visited there a few times, the proximity to Central Park gives it away.

Also, if you visit NYC, the view from the top of Rockefeller Center is MUCH better than the view from the Empire State Building. AT least it is in my opinion.

Holy shit. I would go to work wearing a parachute at that point.

Oh well, then I'd only shit myself a little to be there.

Wonder how often one of them took the plunge.

Be sure to NSFW the post. because literal.

I wouldn't be surprised if most fell to their deaths at heights at which a parachute would be ineffective. Even if they would be high enough you would probably end up slamming back into the building and then falling to your death.

Yep. I think the median height for falling fatalities is somewhere around 50 ft (15m). And I think the odds of death hit 99% around 80-90ft. Even a crazy base jumper doesn't try a jump that low because a parachute just won't help at that height.

Source: used to do Workers' Comp insurance. Most insurance companies don't care how high you work, they care if you're 20 feet off the ground or less, because that's the breakpoint where fall injuries turn the corner from twisted ankles or maybe broken bones to real long-lasting damage or death.

2 stories still doesn't sound like a very fun fall though.

Falling two stories then rolling off to the street.

Can confirm, the top of the rock is a breathtaking view. I was up there at sunset over the summer and it was amazing.

The security guard at the top seemed like a cool dude.

None. Nobody died during the construction of Rockefeller Center

If you put your hard hat up to your ear you can hear the osha

And thts how I met your spaghetti sauce

Thanks for that. Don't know why the other person commented with info about Empire State Building when the picture LITERALLY says it is of Rockefeller Center.

Work foreman William Starrette spoke about the gruelling work of the brave builders.

He said: “Building skyscrapers is the nearest peacetime equivalent of war.

“In fact, the analogy is startling, even to the occasional grim reality of a building accident where maimed bodies, and even death, remind us that we are fighting a war of construction against the forces of nature.”

30 Rock

Til the name of the show.

Appropriate username.

Have you ever considered doing an ama? I work in downtown Chicago on the 31st floor about 2 blocks down from the sears tower and often wonder what it's like to build something like that


The worst thing about the view from the Empire State Building is that you can't see the ESB from the ESB. Also Top of the Rock is more central to Midtown, while the ESB is a bit south of it.

Dammit Liz, I said sushi, not sandwiches

The show is set in 30 Rockefeller Plaza where Saturday Night Live is filmed. 30 Rock for short.

Came here to quote the this lop. "is also known" and "likely" don't seem to belong in the same sentence.

This photo was taken in a way that it looked like the workers were in a dangerous position but in reality there's a wooden walkway under them. It was also edited with multiple exposures to the photo paper.

Took osha 30 last year and I want to say the most common deaths from falling happen at 8-10 feet. People are less careful on tall ladders than tall buildings.

Complacency kills, guys.

Same thing in Paris. The view from the Eiffel Tower excludes the most iconic thing in a view of Paris.

Probably, but not many die from 3 feet.

Yay, I'm uninsurable!

Fun fact though, stairs are generally okay. 20 feet in this case usually means "20 feet off the nearest flat surface" since it's worried about long-distance fall impacts more than anything. Someone working in a 3-story office building with stairs isn't usually harder to insure than a ground level office building, because their feet are generally on the ground. Same thing with a restaurant on the top floor of a high-rise - feet aren't leaving the ground, there's heavy glass and rails between you and a fall. It's more about people working on ladders, rooftops, etc where fall distance is a worry.

It's also where TGS with Tracy Jordan is filmed.

Oddjob from Goldeneye 007 is the deadliest 3 ft you'll ever come across.


Guy on far right has the correct approach: if I gotta be up here I’m gonna drink my lunch.

Trump Tower, surely? Everyone knows they had the best builders for it.

Such an awesome picture!

I knew about the fake casual-ness of the picture, but didn't know the rest, thanks!

Would love to know what these guys made as income for this work then compared to less hazardous careers. It had to be enough to entice people to do it.

Also: Rockefeller’s didn’t give a fuck about your OSHA.