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Monday, January 22, 2007
THE world’s most famous construction site photograph includes two Galwaymen who emigrated to New York in the early part of the last century.
Now, a hunt is under way in America for a statue of one of the men following a break-in at a warehouse in Queens.
Up to now it was widely believed that the 11 men who featured in the 1932 Lunch Atop a Skyscraper were Italian. But now it has emerged that two of the men featured in the iconic photograph were from Shanaglish in Co Galway.
Photographer Charles Ebbett captured the crew as they took a lunch break, sitting on a steel girder 70 floors up in the New York skyline.
The men were working at the time on the construction of the Rockefeller Centre.
The photograph is among the world’s most famous images, so much so that New York-based Italian artist Sergio Furnari committed it to a life-size sculpture in 2001, just weeks after the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers. Mounted on a truck, the sculpture was parked for five months at Ground Zero and served as an inspiration to the clean-up crews desperately trying to recover bodies from the devastated site.
The sculpture was later taken on a nationwide tour and was viewed by millions of people.
Last week the warehouse where it was stored in New York was broken into and the figure on the right of the photograph was stolen.
That statue is worth about $7,500 (€5,787).
It transpires that person is Patrick ‘Sonny’ Glynn, while on the extreme left is Matty O’Shaughnessy, both of whom left Shanaglish in south Galway for a better life in America.
Their identities became know when Shanaglish publican Michael Whelan met a son of one of the men some years ago and he subsequently sent on a copy of the famous photograph, which has hung in Mr Whelan’s pub since then.
The inscription reads: "As promised; note photo far left, Matty O’Shaughnessy lighting cigarette. My father Patrick (Sonny) Glynn far right, holding bottle in hand (water, I assume in bottle)."
Mr Whelan said that the photograph in his pub had attracted great interest over the years.
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