Wednesday, 26 August 2015

High Rise Window Washers of Manhattan Video

The men who provided their perspectives on it for this film, lifelong New Yorkers John McDermott and John Wren, turned out to be both completely sane and highly safety-conscious.
High-Rise-Window Washers of Manhattan: High rise window washing, once among the most dangerous jobs in the world, has become extremely safe, statistically speaking. Still, the gig remains capable of producing Youtube clips to make you weak at the knees, most memorably a harrowing mishap at the top of a hundred-and-one-story building in Shanghai, and an equally unpleasant situation in Denver. Never mind that, miraculously, nobody died in either case; the profession’s few remaining dangers are so spectacular—and the fears they cause so primal—that, to the casual observer, it is still the province of daredevils and lunatics.

video

For me, the opportunity to explore such a world was irresistible, even if the men who provided their perspectives on it for this film, lifelong New Yorkers John McDermott and John Wren, turned out to be both completely sane and highly safety-conscious. (Though, by their own accounts, they may not have entered the profession that way, thirty years ago.) The result—based on a 2013 piece in these pages and the product of the hard work of various producers and cameramen—also led me to an uneasy realization: When these men began window washing three decades ago, it was an accepted premise of American life that, through unions and union membership, an aspiring musician (McDermott) and a young baseball player with a career-ending injury (Wren) could take blue-collar jobs and eventually be afforded, through hard work, a middle-class quality of life. Today, with unions under renewed attack, the biggest threat to window washers comes no longer from gods but from mere mortals.

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