Precariously perched, a construction worker tightens a bolt on the iron frame of the Empire State Building. The recently completed Chrysler Building stands in the background - the world's tallest for a few months until the completion of the Empire State Building.
The Empire State Building was completed in the depths of the Great Depression and stood as a monument to the industry and ingenuity of American technology. The building attained mystic status even before its completion. Hollywood realized this when it chose the building as the perfect venue for King Kong's tragic end. But times were tough and much of the building's office space sat empty during its early years. The owners turned to its tourist attraction to supplement revenues.
Photographer Lewis Hine (who documented The Child in the Workplace, 1908-1912) captured its construction from the blasting of its bedrock to the placement of its mooring mast. (The mooring mast designed for docking of giant Zeppelins proved to be a bad idea. The high winds at that altitude made docking exceedingly dangerous and the mast was replaced by a radio antenna.)