Men At Lunch – Then and Now

November 11, 2016
Posted by Jay Livingston

I saw these construction workers on Broadway at 79th St. today and took the picture mostly because of the color – those neon yellow vests.

(Click on an image for a slightly larger view.)

When I was looking at the picture later, it reminded me of another photo, “Men At Lunch” by Charles Ebbetts – men working on the construction of Rockefeller Center in 1932.


The men in 1932 sit on a girder high above the streets, not on the sidewalk. They wear caps, not hard hats. They smoke. But the difference that most struck me was the what they were doing. In 1932, men at lunch are sharing those papers (blueprints?). Except for the guy on the right end, they are all talking to another man.

In 2016, every man is on his cell phone. 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are we just old fogies, refusing to understand that civilisation rushes ahead at an increasing pace and that every new generation celebrates its "advances", while the "left-overs", like us, lament them. I mourn the death of conversation, even chit-chat, of human intercourse, as we know it, and feel like we are rushing, like lemmings, into the growing sea!

Jay Livingston said...

True, sea levels are rising, but at least our cell phones will be waterproof.