New York City, 1932. The country is in the throes of the Great Depression, the previous decade's boom of Italian, Irish, and Jewish immigrants has led to unprecedented urban expansion, and in the midst of an unseasonably warm autumn, steelworkers risk life and limb building skyscrapers high above the streets of Manhattan.
In Men at Lunch, director Seán Ó Cualáin tells the story of "Lunch atop a Skyscraper," the iconic photograph taken during the construction of 30 Rockefeller Plaza that depicts eleven workmen taking their lunch break while casually perched along a steel girder – boots dangling 850 feet above the sidewalk, Central Park and the misty Manhattan skyline stretching out behind them.
For 80 years, the identity of the eleven men – and the photographer that Immortalized them – remained a mystery: their stories, lost in time, subsumed by the fame of the image itself. But then, at the start of the 21st century, the photograph finally began to give up some of its secrets. Part homage, part investigation, Men at Lunch is the sublime tale of an American icon, an unprecedented race to the sky and the immigrant workers that built New York.