The Building of the Empire State Building

How far we’ve fallen. One of the reasons that America was a can-do nation is because we had can-do men. This doesn’t mean only the workers pictured in this photo essay, but the capitalists and politicians who got together to do things. We keep hearing about America’s “failing infrastructure,” but the dirty little secret is that we can’t build anything anymore because we’ve got to do environmental impact studies on the mating habits of the Snail Darter before we can even build a measly little two-lane bridge over Two-Bit Creek.

Click to enlarge.


  1. Thank you for posting these awe-inspiring photos. These men had more guts than I can ever dream of. I get woozy just looking at the photos, and I’m wondering what kind of perch the photographer had to find just to get these shots.

    By the way, did you know that fourteen of these brave men died in the construction of the Empire State Building? This is actually quite miraculous, as it was estimated prior to the project’s beginning that 100, about 1 per story, would die. Construction costs and time to completion would have risen had any semblance of worker safety regulations been in place at that time.

    Fast-forwarding to the present, about 100 stories are planned for the construction of One World Trade Center (formerly called the Freedom Tower). I don’t know what worker fatality estimates have been made for the construction of this building, but I’m guessing that worker safety procedures are in place that will result in zero, or close to it, loss of life and limb. Do the additional costs and construction time associated with worker safety provisions move us beyond the outskirts of your vision of can-do-ville, or is stewardship of the lesser elements of the creation your main issue?

  2. cynthia curran says

    Well, the Orthodox today have some that our against building things because of the environment Think in the 4th century if Valens and company were thinking in those terms no aqueduct. .