Directed by SEAN O CUALAIN
Men at Lunch is the untold story of New York’s greatest legend and one of the most iconic images of the 20th century – Lunch atop a Skyscraper – taken on the 69th floor of the Rockefeller Building in the autumn of 1932.
New York City, 1932. The world is in the throes of the Great Depression, the previous decade’s boom of Italian, Irish, and Jewish immigrants has led to unprecedented urban expansion, and in the midst of an unseasonably warm autumn, steelworkers risk life and limb building skyscrapers high above the streets of Manhattan.
In Men at Lunch, director Seán Ó Cualáin tells the story of Lunch atop a Skyscraper, the iconic photograph taken during the construction of the GE Building that depicts eleven workmen taking their lunch break while casually perched along a steel girder – boots dangling 850 feet above the sidewalk of 41st Street, Central Park and the misty Manhattan skyline stretching out behind them. The definitive counterpoint of the epic and the mundane a symbol of the indomitable working man.
Part homage, part investigation, Men at Lunch is the revealing tale of an American icon, an unprecedented race to the sky and the immigrant workers that built New York as we know it today.
For 80 years, the identity of the eleven men and the photographer that immortalized them remained a mystery: their stories, lost in time, subsumed by the fame of the image itself.
But then, at the start of the 21st century, the photograph finally began to give up some of its secrets.