What is Manhattanhenge? It’s a phenomenon that most people outside of New York tri state area or professional photography don’t know much about. It happens during two weekends of the year that straddle the Summer solstice, one weekend about a month before the start of Summer and another about a month afterwards. It becomes a huge gathering in Manhattan because everyone wants to see the setting sun in alignment with the street grid. To see this happen in perfect weather takes your breath away.
Well every year the crowds keep getting bigger and bigger,cross streets are packed with people for at least an hour at all four corners of the intersection for at least an hour, watching the Sun set. Taxicabs had near misses, bus drivers were aggravated and tourists were puzzled.
The best cross streets to catch the sunset are 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th, and 125th. Other cross streets work but aren’t as equidistant for the framing. This year I traveled out last Sunday hoping to get a great pic. I picked 34th street because I knew I wanted to try to get some of the Empire State building in the picture. When I arrived at 5th Avenue and 34th Street, all the prime spots were taken, and the professional kits were out and my memory card was left at home. So I had no choice but to use my sweetheart of a friend, Karina’s phone.
The weather didn’t cooperate either, and there were hazy clouds in the way. My previous year’s pictures were a hundred times better and caught the Sun at half ellipse. They were taken at 44th street outside O’Connelley’s bar after listening to the Belfast Gospel Choir (great show btw), it might have been their divine intervention in that. That shot is here. Anyway I pray for better pictures next year.
Below is a video with the astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson explaining the phenomenon that he named, now in the Merriam Webster dictionary. Awesome right?
Have you had the chance to experience Manhattanhenge? Tell me your story, I’d like to read it.
Until our next rendezvous..
41 thoughts on “The Last Manhattanhenge Weekend of 2015”
What a delightful celebration!! It’s odd. I read the paper almost every day while we lived in Stony Brook and never noticed any mention of Manhattanhenge. Thanks to you, now I know what it’s about.
You’re welcome! I guess it’s only considered a NYC thing, last year is the first year I saw it on the news, otherwise I think it was through Twitter that I first heard about it.
Interesting. I have never heard of this event. too bad there were clouds. Next year!
The next day was better but I was working and couldn’t get there in time. If you have Instagram, you can search for much better pictures under the hashtag #Manhattanhenge. I’ll be there next year looking for the perfect shot!
Cool! Looking forward to that post. I don’t have Instagram, trying to not over extend myself.
I understand that, you can’t juggle everything. And believe me, I don’t, I just had it before blogging and pictures are easier than words sometimes.
I might check into it some day. Enjoy your weekend!
And to you as well!!!
So cool, funny thing I was there both days. I will probably post photos tomorrow. I took photos with Iphone. Thank you for sharing. 🙂
You’re welcome. Where did you take your pictures from?
Park Avenue via duct, Grand Central. 🙂
Definitely a better spot than mine.
The clouds didn’t cooperate, wherever you were. 🙂
But you said that you were able to be there both days, correct?
Yes, there were clouds the first day too, not as bad though. The clouds were extra bad the 2nd day. I will post pics sometime, with a post. Both days. 🙂
Oh I thought the Monday was clear. Instagram misled me.
Not only was Monday very cloudy, but it was only half sun. The full sun was for Sunday. It was cloudy, but not as bad as Monday. 🙂
And here I thought i missed the good stuff, I knew about the full sun aspect but I was in Long Island so I couldn’t make the sunset on Monday. I feel better now, thanks! So next year it is , as long as it isn’t raining.
You’re welcome. 🙂
Hadn’t heard of Manhattenhendge—very cool! I like your pictures from this year, but you’re right, the one from last year is stunning.
Thank a lot! Yea I’m finding out that it’s only mentioned in press in NYC.
Maybe a good thing. It’s already stopping traffic! And we have some local celebrations in San Francisco that word got out about, and now they’re either completely changed by the tourist influx, like Santarchy, or so big they’re unaffordable and hard to get to, like Burning Man. Keep your Manhattanhenge a secret! (:
You know what’s funny, a lot of tourists were there. They were probably told by the local news and passerbys on the street. There are some residents who know nothing about it either.
I would love to come to the city to experience this. Thanks for sharing.
You have two weekends to plan for, we’d love for you to visit!
Trudy…what a cool post, and concept. I can see this turning into a real problem for NY once the concept gets out there!! I’d go. And I’ve also been to Stonehenge.
It gets bigger every year, it’s science, and it’s free!
It looks amazing this Manhattanhenge thing, thanks for sharing. The sun setting along the cross streets of Manhattan two days a year… I wish I had been among the tourists then… ?? it sounds almost mystical
it does feel mystical in a way because so many pedestrians stop and stand still for the hour to appreciate the sunset, when usually they stop for nothing. I think it reminds them that there are simple things to be amazed by.
I am always lost for words with such special sunsets
Yes it is very special!
I grew up in Manhattan and I can remember looking crosstown to see the sun set. It was beautiful, and I gave that some thought, but never thought of it the way people seem to today.
Well it wasn’t till Neil DeGrasse Tyson named it and pinned the dates down that it became an event. So I think the everyday became more special.
Hi, just jumped over from Janice’s site.I was on 57th Street the second day of Manhattanhenge, i was eh. More fun to watch everybody in the middle of the street. Great blog!
Thank you for visiting! This year wasn’t as good as a couple of years ago but it was awesome to see larger crowds. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate for next year.
I used to live in New York City in my teens, and yes, I do remember Manhattanhenge! Incredible. Unfortunately I got no photos and it was so long ago (1970s) I don’t think there was any kind of celebration back then.
Now it’s a huge deal, not a holiday perse but big enough that the cabs know what cross streets to avoid and the people are bold enough to stand in traffic for pictures. The Hayden Planetarium stays open for it as well. I’d like to go there at least once on that sunset.
Oooooh! I would love to do that. I used to go to the Hayden planetarium at least once a month.
Once a month! That’s awesome! Maybe you should plan a trip?