As 1 World Trade Center steadily climbs above the Manhattan skyline, hopefully becoming the country's tallest building, about 200 crane operators continue their work completing one of the most important architectural feats in recent history.
Among the brave 200 is Tom Gordon, a 45-year old veteran of the sky, who begins his workdays at roughly 3:30 AM in Long Island to commute to Lower Manhattan in order to get the monumental job done one day at a time.
The New York Times spoke to Gordon about his unique and mentally straining career. He admitted, "It's a lot of stress. I mean you're hanging off the side of a building. Mentally, you're constantly looking and constantly trying to pay attention to everything that goes on."
But as 1 World Trade surpassed the Empire State Building as the tallest in the city in April, Gordon acknowledges the importance of what it means for him to put his life on the line everyday, "It's one thing to put buildings up all the time...but you don't very often get a chance to put up a buliding that means this much to everybody, for the whole country."
In February, a massive load of steel beams came crashing down at the construction site, an accident that somehow left no one injured or killed.
However, the accident eerily echoed a 2008 disaster in which a giant crane collapsed killing four construction workers on Manhattan's East Side.
Gordon talked to The Times about the pressure of working in the city, "You’re always trying to control the load, make sure it’s being moved around safely. New York City’s a little different than anywhere else. As you can see, it’s congested. You’ve got buildings everywhere. Cars everywhere."