Ironworkers Above The City
June 25, 2007 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Amazing photo sequence from the Philadelphia Inquirer on the ironworkers building the top floors (45 - 55) of the Comcast Center. Not safe for those with Vertigo. Via.
posted by jonson (29 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
That was fun.
posted by caddis at 3:25 PM on June 25, 2007

Philadelphia's come a long way from the days where nothing could be taller than William Penn, huh? Great photos.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:27 PM on June 25, 2007

Wow. Great shots. Are some of ironworkers not wearing harnesses in those shots?

Strangely, none appeared to be Mohawk.

And I wonder if some of the foreground subjects are underexposed 'cause they didn't want the photographer to use flash.
posted by docgonzo at 3:33 PM on June 25, 2007

Wow, number 10 is my favorite. Awesome, thanks.
posted by dozo at 3:35 PM on June 25, 2007

I used to work in home construction and spent a lot of my days climbing 40' ladders and scaffolds. I never liked it but I could handle it. No way could I ever do what those guys do. Yow. The sad thing is that I probably make more sitting on my ass writing programs in my air-conditioned office now than these guys do risking death every day.
posted by octothorpe at 3:46 PM on June 25, 2007

Shout out to Nick from A&N Crane in Philly.... Yo, Nickey thanks for the lift. '97 AT&T. And the boys at Conshohocken nobody does a 30' I beam hot galve like you guys... Good times.
posted by MapGuy at 3:51 PM on June 25, 2007

Octothorpe, I doubt it. I would bet even the apprentices are pulling in seventy a year.
posted by notsnot at 4:00 PM on June 25, 2007

Oh no. No no. No no no no nonononoNONONONONOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
posted by DU at 4:15 PM on June 25, 2007

Those are some very brave workmen, and one very brave photographer. And an excellent set of photos, too. Thanks for the link.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 4:19 PM on June 25, 2007

Those are crazy...shame about the telephoto use on photo 6, because that guy doesn't look like he's on the 43rd floor, and a bird's eye view shot like that with the street far, far below would be a harrowing one to be sure.
posted by invitapriore at 4:25 PM on June 25, 2007

i just saw an uncle of mine that was a steel worker on skyscrapers the other day. he's got some damn good stories. working up there in minnesota no less, according to him they were all a bit on the crazy side. no harnesses or any safety.

i can't do it justice, but his best story was of the time they got a new foreman that everyone totally hated. while the guy was using the porta-john one day, they hooked it up to the overhead crane and lowered him down to the street from close to 30 stories up. the foreman quit soon after.

as far as the pay, i think they make some good money, though it depends on whether or not they're union. he's got a few million in assets at least.
posted by andywolf at 4:25 PM on June 25, 2007

actually, according to the dept of labor statistics the median wage for structural steel/iron workers is $40,600 while the top 10% or so are at $70,200. seems way down from what they made back in the 60's. but i guess that goes for most fields.
posted by andywolf at 4:43 PM on June 25, 2007

(still looking for the stereotypical Cherokee)
posted by Smedleyman at 4:47 PM on June 25, 2007

The Empire State Building under construction, for comparison. Note the absence of helmets and safety lines of any kind.
posted by beagle at 4:53 PM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Oh wow! My stomach was doing flip-flops through the whole set. God bless those crazy guys for getting up there and doing something most of us wouldn't consider for a second.
posted by LeeJay at 4:58 PM on June 25, 2007

Good gracious. From beagle's great link. *shiver*
posted by LeeJay at 5:00 PM on June 25, 2007

Now if they can just tear down the extremely ugly Bell Atlantic Tower...
posted by daninnj at 6:06 PM on June 25, 2007

So this little piece of glory is why my cable bill is so high?
posted by Frank Grimes at 6:24 PM on June 25, 2007

Gorgeous. Thanks for this.
posted by exlotuseater at 7:11 PM on June 25, 2007

Loved the post, jonson - but between this post and the photographer that Dave Faris linked, it's getting a little too thrilling for me here today I need to go look at some pictures of kitties and puppies!
posted by madamjujujive at 7:34 PM on June 25, 2007

It took awhile for all the photos to load on my Comcast connection.
posted by thisisdrew at 7:40 PM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

So, climbers - what kind of safety gear are they using?
posted by gottabefunky at 7:54 PM on June 25, 2007

Empire State Building:
Though rumors of hundreds of people dying on the work site circulated during the time of its construction, official records state that only five workers were killed: one worker was struck by a truck; a second fell down an elevator shaft; a third was hit by a hoist; a fourth was in a blast area; and a fifth fell off a scaffold.

posted by meech at 8:05 PM on June 25, 2007

Jesus, meech - do you think that if the guy on the left in your "How" link steps off the plank, the guy on the right dies? It looks that way. Man...
posted by jonson at 8:36 PM on June 25, 2007

There is, quite literally, no amount of money that could make me do that.

I'm serious.

A million dollars? Not even close.

Rest assured this is not hyperbole. You could walk up to me with a suitcase full of money and offer it to me in return for 1 day's work doing this and I would decline.

The people who are able to do this are simply wired differently from me. To me, they border on being superhuman.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:04 PM on June 25, 2007

As a geeky side note, the Comcast building will have the world's largest tuned liquid column damper.

Ynoxas, I probably couldn't do it for a million either, but if offered I'd sure as hell try.

My dad has a great story about one time when he and two other guys were monitoring smokestack emissions sometime in the late 60s/early 70s. They were on one of the few smokestacks that had a pair of catwalks one below the other, when a guy fell off the top catwalk. His supervisor was on the bottom catwalk, and barely managed to catch him and keep him from plummeting 200+' to his doom.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:16 PM on June 25, 2007

Palms officially soaked.
posted by heydanno at 5:09 AM on June 26, 2007

I love my (adopted) city!
posted by djrock3k at 8:01 AM on June 26, 2007

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