Sandhog working under the East River

In 1939 LIFE magazine sent Mydans to the East River in New York City to document the progress of the Midtown Tunnel construction. His photo essay (April 3, 1939) gives us a glimpse of the dangerous working conditions underground and the men who endured this undertaking.
Sandhogs worked in tunnels 100 feet below the surface of a river, where compressed air doubled or tripled the atmospheric pressure on their bodies and where the noise of drilling and blasting was multiplied as it bounced back from the iron tunnel walls.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Mydans, Carl
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 14 in x 9 1/2 in; 35.56 cm x 24.13 cm
place made
United States: New York, New York
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Carl Mydans
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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