In case you’re too embarrassed to ask what Manhattanhenge is, we’ll tell you: Manhattanhenge is when the setting sun aligns with the street grid of Manhattan, illuminating every cross street on the north and south sides of the borough. Yes, thousands of people will be strolling zombie-like into the middle of busy intersections like lemmings…and it’s a beautifully eerie occurrence.
The phenomenon takes place each year around late May and again in mid-July, twice with a full sun and twice with a half sun. We already saw this year’s first Manhattanhenge in all its hengie-glory on Sunday, May 29 and Monday, May 30. And now, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, it will make its return this month! The full sun version will take place Monday, July 11 at 8:20p.m., while the half sun version can be seen on Tuesday, July 12 at 8:21p.m.
Here’s what the Museum of Natural History suggests: “Arrive a half hour earlier than the times given [above]. For best effect, position yourself as far east in Manhattan as possible. Be sure that when you look west across the avenues, you can still see New Jersey.”
The best streets to catch the the phenomena (wide enough for the best shots/views) are as far east as possible in Manhattan, on:
- 14th Street
- 23rd Street
- 34th Street (with Empire State Building in your picture)
- 42nd Street
- 57th Street
The Empire State building and the Chrysler building make 34th street and 42nd streets especially picturesque.
NYC Parks also recommends the Tudor City Overpass in Manhattan and Hunter’s Point South Park in Long Island City, Queens.
TIPS: Turn off your flash, you’ll want the sun alone without any glare caused by a bright flash. Don’t bother zooming, and you wont need an Instagram filter.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, the discoverer of Manhattanhenge, declared the event to be “a unique urban phenomenon in the world, if not the universe.”
Also published on Medium.