Intimate look at New York’s casts of iron workers
- Last Updated: 12:17 AM, May 5, 2012
- Posted: 10:15 PM, May 4, 2012
9 p.m. Tuesday on The Weather Channel
Getting a reality show onto the air? Meh, big deal.
But getting a reality show onto The Weather Channel, of all places — and with a topical hook — well, that’s something else entirely.
I’m referring here to “Iron Men,” which premieres this Tuesday as part of The Weather Channel’s “Braving the Elements” anthology series.
(The series has already looked at wind-turbine crews in “Turbine Cowboys” and will track power-crew workers with “Lights Out,” premiering in August).
And with the Freedom Tower surpassing the Empire State Building as New York City’s tallest skyscraper this week, “Iron Men” — with its look at the physical and emotional elements that factor into constructing such buildings — is extremely timely.
The Weather Channel is branding “Iron Men” as a “docu-series” — there’s no acting, prefabricated drama or contrived dialogue — but the four-part series is constructed along the lines of your garden-variety reality show, with a cast of characters (one guy is named Dave “Meat” Miller) you’ll get to know more about as the series progresses (and the “Iron Men” cameras track the workers in their off-hours).
“Iron Men” follows two crews of iron workers (it appears to have been shot last fall into early winter) — Local 40 and Local 361 — as they deal with occupational hazards and the whims of Mother Nature (hence the series’ home on The Weather Channel).
A rainstorm, for instance, can put the kibosh on a day’s work, making looming deadlines even more precarious.
One crew, under the supervision of Tommy Cordray and “Old Man” Jacob (as he’s called), is working on dismantling parts of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge in The Bronx.
The other crew, under the watchful eye of 30-year industry vet George Berry, is constructing the steel skeleton of the Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn, into which the Nets will move next season.
It’s obvious that a steel worker’s job isn’t for the faint-of-heart — underscored here by some aerial shots that were apparently filmed by a helmet-cam worn by one of the hundreds-of-feet-up workers.
It’s also not for anyone who isn’t prepared to brave the elements (rain, snow, extreme heat — whatever) and not complain about it (which immediately disqualifies yours truly).
“Iron Men” is an interesting series which gives an up-close-and-personal look at one of this city’s most important infrastructures — and the people behind-the-scenes who make it all happen, day after (thankless) day.
Check it out.