This photo, from the roof of an under-construction Chicago skyscraper, captures the imposing Willis Tower, looming large over its concrete and steel neighbors. Obtaining this view was no easy feat, according to Vance Tang, who snapped the picture.
In 2008, Tang, who at the time served as CEO of an elevator and escalator installation business, was onsite during construction of Trump International Hotel and Tower to monitor his company’s progress on the project. His father, Gerald Tang, owner of Tang’s Photo Memories, was also onsite, looking to take skyline shots from the building’s roof, 1,170 feet above. One problem: Reaching the roof meant riding a construction elevator up the exterior of the building, as the internal elevators were not yet operable.
“In talking to the construction supervisor,” relates Vance Tang, “my dad learned that should someone take the elevator to the roof and be unable to ride it back down due to discomfort from the height, construction would be halted and a helicopter brought in to make the rescue – a dramatic event.”
With Gerald Tang a bit apprehensive about taking an open-air elevator to the top and not completely convinced that his day wouldn’t end with a helicopter ride, his son grabbed the camera and made his way up.
“When you come up the construction elevator you are literally on the outside of the building, so to reach the roof from the elevator you have to walk over a little plank system,” the younger Tang explains. “The plank system is very safe, but if you are afraid of heights it is not a particularly pleasant prospect.”
Vance Tang took a number of shots. For this one, he leaned out over the roof fence for an unobstructed view, 96 floors above the sidewalk where his father, no doubt relieved, stood.