#103: Manhattanhenge

Manhattanhenge has become a New York phenomenon where  in order to see it, you’ve got to dodge taxis, ignore screaming drivers and fight your way through the crowd to get […]


Manhattanhenge has become a New York phenomenon where  in order to see it, you’ve got to dodge taxis, ignore screaming drivers and fight your way through the crowd to get a glimpse.

Manhattanhenge NYCThe term Manhattanhenge comes from Stonehenge referring to when the sun aligns with the stones on the solstices in England. In Manhattan, it’s a biannual event where a full sun aligns itself perfectly with New York City’s street grid. Twenty-two days on either side of the Summer Solstice (which is usually June 21st), the sun sets west, directly in line with the cross streets. You can see the sunset from any cross street, but the best views are on 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th but the Empire State building and the Chrysler Building make 34th street and 42nd streets especially striking back drops. But apparently the best view of all is on the bridge in front of the Tudor Building on 42nd as you’ve got an unobstructed view of the sunset without having to dodge the traffic. And let’s just say, it isn’t easy.

I walked over to 42nd and 2nd at 7:45pm for the 8:16pm sunset. A small crowd had already gathered so I took my spot on the sidewalk. For the next half hour when the traffic lights turned red, I crossed into the street to take my obligatory photo…to the frustration of the drivers trying to turn left. It all became amusing as we were honked at, sworn at and got the full ear blasting effect of police sirens.

By 8:05pm I wasn’t impressed. All of this traffic dodging with my fellow Solstice seeking comrades just for a pink sky? And then it happened. A huge fireball of a sun slowly peaked out from behind the skyscrapers to the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ of the crowd. It moved so quick, there was a flutter of cameras clicking trying to get the money shot. And then a damn bus blocked the intersection! In those few seconds, it was utter confusion as people were yelling, cars were honking and I thought there would be anarchy on the streets of New York. But then the bus moved and we got to see what we all came for. And I have to say, it was pretty spectacular.

Next Manhattanhenge is July 12th, so scout your spot, get your camera ready and be prepared to piss off a lot of drivers.

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