New York, New York

Today the iconic men at lunch photograph turns 80.  A staged shot of Italian and Irish immigrants eating lunch on top of the Rockefeller centre construction site; it’s a picture that prompts me to reflect on my own New York trip and it’s a reminder to look up from everyday life and notice the view I once inhaled on St. Patrick’s Day over five years ago.

It’s a view I shared while holding the hand of my new husband.  Beneath us lay a city that spoke around 800 languages.  I felt like I was standing on the axis of mankind.  I had reservations about traveling to America; George Bush was still president and his administration frequently unnerved me.  I held incorrect assumptions about Americans but the trip changed me.  It helped to shape the perspective I have about my own country.

Bordering the beauty of Central Park under snow and Pollock, de Kooning and Warhol – there was occasional darkness.  We were stuck in a Greenwich Village lock-down the night two Auxiliary policemen were gunned down – volunteer police officers who aren’t permitted to carry guns.  When we asked a paid officer what happened, he told us matter-of-fact “One guy got shot, another guy got murdered”.  We went back to our apartment and I pretended the galloping policeman on horseback – resplendent with handlebar moustache and a cigar dangling out the side of his mouth was just a fairytale.

This year a documentary about the men at lunch photo premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.  Due for American release in November, there’s no word yet on an Australian release but I dare you to watch it and contain your excitement.


Have you been to New York?  Did it change you?


  1. Catherine RodieBlagg says

    I went for a weekend when I was 20. I wish I’d waited till I was 21! forgot I wouldn’t be able to drink!

  2. says

    Yes and emphatically, yes (!) to both your questions. I’ve been 3 times and could return in an instant many more. It’s a fascinating city that got under my skin. I think that the migrant experience was a part. Also 9/11 plays a part since I was there beforehand, taking photos and admiring the experience from the top of the Twin Towers and have been back twice since, seeing Ground Zero in the aftermath. It’s also the hope of dreams being made there (cue Alicia Keys!). The clip you shared was amazing. To see them sitting unharnessed on that steel beam….the mind boggles. Can’t wait to see it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>