id think its scarier to be 40 years old and making 9 dollars an hour, but thats close!
Ferrari Scuderia 2012 - "The people who speak badly about me then tremble and cry when they want to have their picture taken with me” - F. Alonso
Now recruiting for IT/financial/accounting/creative services in fairfield county and metro nyc, pm if interested
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NYC baby. While this won't ever be the case again due to safety regulations, my vote for scariest job was specific construction events in the history of my city. The work these men did, absolutely amazing and courageous. [The latter might not have been 'scary' compared to many things but due to the conditions given, it must have been. Any little mishap would screw up that subcontractor's section.]
1) Construction of the Empire State Building. Sure, construction of many buildings and other structures must have been similar but this just always stood out to me.
2) Construction of the Interborough Rapid Transit Subway. Scary because the enginneering feats these workers and sub-contractors had to deal with is absolutely astonishing especially for it's time [1900-1904]. To imagine that all this work was carefully done without disturbing street traffic and without damaging any gas mains, electrical pipes, pneumatic tubes, sewer pipes, conduits and building structures. All pipes were suspended over the street temporarly then carefully relocated, all elevated structures were supported, buildings were underpinned if the subway needed to be beneath and the street was supported while the subway [concrete lined tunnels, rock tunnels, open-cut and viaducts] was being built. All of that through Manhattan's various Earth. A subcontractor was killed in a landslide between 33rd street and 42nd IIRC [picture of contruction of that area below.] and I think there were a few more deaths but nothing outrageous. Contruction finished on time...says a lot about what's going on now.
Imagine having to support a heavy as hell monument on one end that sits on very soft soil...carefully removing the ground around and under it, rebuilding a new masonary, supporting the thing and building a subway that cuts right under it? Crazy. [Columbus Circle]
Plans before contruction...
Just a little snippet....
"Near where the subway swings around the southwest corner of Central Park it passes through and under the foundations of the Columbus monument. The slender stone shaft, surmounted by its heroic statue, is seated on a molded pedestal with extended base, which altogether rises seventy-five feet above the street and weighs nearly a million and a half pounds. It has a masonry foundation forty-five feet square and fourteen feet deep, which was built partly on rock, but mostly on earth. Its east corner overhangs the subway nearly forty feet, and the position of the latter is so near the surface of the ground that its walls and roof cut a wide and deep section out of the masonry.
This made it necessary to support the monument so that its tall shaft should neither lean nor settle a hair's-breadth, nor the thin, accurately fitted pedestal stones be cracked, or their polished joints open, under the great strains developed when the masonry was cut out to a mere shell and the support removed from under a third of its base and almost up to the center, reducing its stability to a slender margin. This would have been a delicate and hazardous task under any circumstances, but was made more difficult and dangerous by the unknown conditions and the known character of the soil."
2a) Expansion of the Interborough Rapid Transit Subway; reconstructing the tunnels between 33rd street station and 42nd street Grand Central [old and new] stations without even stopping train traffic [only on express tracks late-night and only for a few minutes at a time].
Just a little snippet...
"...the northbound tracks of the existing subway run under the east side of Park Avenue and are separated by a core of rock from the tunnel in which the southbound local and express tracks run. A tunnel for the new north and southbound express tracks has been cut through this core of rock between the tracks of the existing subway. It was an exceedingly difficult task to cut away the core of rock between the north and south bound tunnels of the old subway without precipitating a slide upon the work. In this region the rock is very poor indeed; it is full of slanting seams. Some of the rock is very hard, but much of it is soft with large pockets of disintegrated rock. This is so soft that on exposure to the air for a few hours, it may be broken off with the fingers and pulverized in the hand. No reliance whatever could be placed upon the stability of the rock to support the roof while the operations were proceeding. The problem was to cut away the inner half of the arch of each existing tunnel and remove the core of rock between them without interfering with the heavy traffic at this point. When it is realized that during the rush hours there is a train passing on one of the four tracks every thirty seconds and that in the neighborhood of a million passengers go over this line each day, the hazardous nature of the work will be appreciated. The slightest mishap might have precipitated an appalling catastrophe. The tunnels were first lined with a sheathing of timbers to prevent materials from dropping down upon the cars. Then the core of rock was removed by the nibbling process so that there was little unsupported rock at any one moment."
So while I could talk about IRT subway for days, i'll leave it at that