Reaching Towards The Sky The Ironworkers of One World Trade Center

“Sky Cowboys” – courtesy of the NY Times 9.11 tribute site

You don’t want to be afraid of too much. 
You definitely need to be a little wild. 
That’s why they call us the Cowboys of the sky.

I had the unique opportunity to visit the unfinished 48th floor of WTC 7 last spring (my former architecture professor was one of the project leads).  As we walked the perimeter of the floor, we marveled not only at the artwork being done by the few artists allowed to call this unfinished space their studio, but also, of course, at the skyline.  It is a breathtaking experience to view the city from a space like that, but what really got my attention was the workers at WTC 1, almost eye-level with me from that vantage point.

These workers are fearless.  Called the “Sky Cowboys” in the New York Times video for their 9.11 tribute, many of the ironworkers are 3rd, 4th, even 5th generation.  Although legally required to harness, I saw a few walking untethered across some suspended beams.  They think nothing of it – which I guess is the point.  Look down too long and your mind starts going elsewhere.  At that height there’s no time to second-guess.

It’s these types of fearless leaders whom I think of this weekend.

Listen to the story of the Ironworkers who built New York via NPR’s All Things Considered.
Read about another fearless WTC daredevil.
Learn about other modern-day cowboys.

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