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New York City’s Iconic “Lunch atop a Skyscraper” Reimagined in a Thrilling, Yet Safe, 21st Century Attraction

New York City’s Iconic “Lunch atop a Skyscraper” Reimagined in a Thrilling, Yet Safe, 21st Century Attraction

New York, NY – Decades before OSHA or the implementation of stringent safety regulations, a daring group of workers perched over the bustling streets of Manhattan on a steel beam during the construction of the 66-story, 850-foot-tall Rockefeller Center. These fearless individuals wore cloth caps, smoked cigarettes, and enjoyed their lunch with no harnesses or fall protection. Now, 91 years later, visitors to the site can relive that heart-pounding moment in history, but with a crucial difference – they do so in an era marked by strict safety standards, advanced protective gear, and innovative engineering solutions designed to safeguard workers and the general public.

‘The Beam’ at 30 Rockefeller Plaza is the newest immersive attraction that takes the iconic ‘Lunch atop a Skyscraper’ photograph to exhilarating new heights. Riders are securely fastened into the amusement and sit atop a replica construction beam before being lifted 10 feet above the Observation Deck. They are then turned 180 degrees to take in unparalleled views of the New York City skyline before being rotated back for their very own photo opportunity with Central Park as a backdrop prior to being lowered back down.

Ensuring the utmost safety of this exhilarating experience, McLaren Engineering Group’s Entertainment Division served as safety consultants on the new ride. They completed a comprehensive peer review of the amusement’s design, meticulously examining all calculations and documentation for the project through the lens of safety. The attraction was subjected to rigorous scrutiny to confirm conformance with ASTM standards relevant to amusement rides (ASTM F1193, ASTM F2291, ASTM F770) and the elevator chapter of the Rules of the City of New York (RCNY 3005).

“ASTM standards for reviewing amusement rides are comprehensive, covering all aspects of ride safety and include stringent testing requirements to simulate various operating conditions,” emphasized Steve Bonadonna, Principal of McLaren’s Entertainment Division. “Enacted to ensure rider safety, ASTM standards assess various critical aspects of a ride’s safety and performance, including structural integrity, mechanical systems, electrical systems, ride operation, emergency procedures, rider restraint systems, load capacity, environmental factors, and compliance verification.”

Prior to opening ‘The Beam’ to the public, Bonadonna personally attended FAT (Factory Acceptance Testing) in Italy to ensure that the attraction met design specifications, quality standards, and regulatory requirements before installation. Additionally, he was present during a part of the SAT (Site Acceptance Test) to ensure that the installed equipment functioned correctly in its real-world environment and site-specific conditions.

“Continuous monitoring through regular inspections and maintenance ensures that rides maintain their safety standards throughout their operational life,” Bonadonna continued. “Working closely with the owner, operators, designers, and fabricators throughout the process, our oversight of ‘The Beam’ from concept to completion ensures the experience brings riders the thrill of the inspirational photo while being functionally designed to adhere to strict safety regulations.”