Lunch Atop a Skyscraper

The Photo

It’s an iconic photograph of 11 workers on the 69th floor of Rockefeller Center, perched precariously 800 feet above the streets of New York City. It’s difficult to look at it and not have your legs feel wobbly. The workers are eating lunch, smoking, and taking a break from their back-breaking work, feet dangling above the streets below, entirely indifferent to the risk and the lack of safety measures. Central Park can be seen in the distance, smoke swirls behind them.

This historic picture has come to represent the people who built America. Hard-working, dedicated to making a living, a mixed bag of races and nationalities willing to walk a tightrope to put food on the table for their families during some of the darkest days of the Great Depression. Tradesmen in all industries see the photo as a badge of honor to the dedication and resilience of the American worker, whether they are laboring hundreds of feet in the sky working on a building, driving a truck to deliver products, or performing any one of thousands of jobs that make our lives easier. We see it as a symbol of the teamwork, partnership, and dedication that has contributed to our success.

The Sculpture

As the centerpiece of our St. Louis headquarters, CK Supply chose to commission a life-sized statue called “Together We Build” from New York sculptor Sergio Furnari. From a photo taken more than 80 years ago, he was able to create a sculpture that re-creates the photo’s emotion and whimsy. Through a revolutionary artistic process, the clothes and boots on the figures in the sculpture are real, giving the piece a lifelike quality that wouldn’t be found on similar sculptures made of metal or stone.

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The Meaning

The title of this piece, “Together We Build,” is at once a dedication to the men and women who build our country and also to the vendors, employees, and customers who are the heroes of CK’s success. It is a testament that while great things in our history were created from metal and stone, lasting companies such as CK Supply were built with hard work, determination, partnership, and an indifference to the danger and risk of running a business. That is the major metaphor here because it is the commitment of these vendors, our employees, and the customers who chose to work with us for so long that resulted in CK becoming the strong company it is today.

The Vendors They Represent

While the names of the majority of the workers in the photo are not entirely known, the vendors that helped CK throughout the years are ingrained in its history. This is why we chose to dedicate the statue to the corporate partners that helped us reach 70 solid years of dedicated service. They are as diverse and hardworking as the men on the girder and it is an honor to partner with them:

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