At 120-feet off the ground with only a few metal bars and a pane of glass separating me from the concrete dock far below, most people might have felt nervous. Had I not been so focused on capturing photos of Chris Guerra, a union crane operator who spends his days loading and unloading ships from his 120-foot high cab, I might have been, too.

While Chris’s office has million-dollar Manhattan views, even the port’s ground-level affords unobstructed views of downtown Manhattan, the New Jersey “skyline,” Governors Island and the Statue of Liberty with her guiding torch.

Many of the below photos are part of a series I did celebrating Labor (Day) and the men and women hard at work and initially appeared in the Red Hook Star-Revue.

Over the years, the shipping traffic at the Red Hook Container Terminal has slowly decreased. Much of it moved across Manhattan Bay to the Port of Newark, whose investment in massive cranes years ago keeps their dock humming and busy with shipping traffic.

Red Hook’s maritime history has slowly waned over the year as global shipping traffic and repair has migrated elsewhere. I recently wrote an article about Red Hook’s last real maritime business that closed down in April after being founded nearly 60-years ago in the Brooklyn. Read the article here and more photos are here.

As we give thanks for the labor that built (and continues to build) our country, it makes me appreciate how fortunate we are to be living in a country that if you work hard and have a bit of luck, you can achieve a career that not only pays the bills but provides nourishing fulfillment.

Click here to catch sparks flying at a Red Hook Iron Shop.