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..