Many of these photos show members of Ironworkers Local 40 working high above West 41st Street & 8th Avenue as they construct girder by girder, the new New York Times Building.
One shot in particular is a close reenactment of the famous 1932 photograph Lunch Atop a Skyscraper, in which a team of iron workers on break sit casually across a beam suspended in mid-air dozens of stories above the city.
That photo and it's new counterpart convey the courage and majesty of the work these people do.
The difference in this 2006 version is that the shot, along with all the other images are taken by the workers not a professional photographer. The images provide a reflection of how these craftsmen see themselves. The pictures also bring the viewer panoramic vistas to a world few New Yorkers have access to.
The remainder of the collection shows photos taken by butchers and shoemakers doing their jobs in the thick of poultry and shoe leather, in a still robust working class Hell's Kitchen.
The exhibit is the brain child of Susan Banas a local resident of Hell's Kitchen for two decades. She has experienced the gentrifying transition of her neighborhood from hard scrabble to hard cash and felt the urgencyto document the old world before it disappeared. Watching these men make this construction one beam at a time reminded me of how a true days work used to be measured. You can't skip any steps, the work gets done or it doesn't. The same is true about the butcher and shoemaker.