Manhattanhenge is NYC’s solar alignment

Manhattanhenge are days when the sun lines up with Manhattan’s crosstown street grid.

The name is a reference to the way the prehistoric monument Stonehenge in England is designed to frame the sunrise of the summer solstice and the sunset of the winter solstice. Those days mark the change of seasons.

The Manhattan grid alignment is accidental, but it is still a little magical when the sun rises or sets straight across Manhattan streets.

Manhattanhenge happens twice on summer sunsets and twice on winter sunrises. Plus each Manhattanhenge is actually two days. One day the sun’s full disk aligns with the street grid. The other day half the sun’s disk aligns with the street grid.

There are eight Manhattanhenge days every year.

Summer Sunset Manhattanhenge

Manhattanhenge happens twice in summer sunsets. These are the first days.

  • Friday, May 29, 2020 around 8:13 pm (half sun)
    Saturday, May 30, 2020 (full sun)
  • Saturday, July 11, 2020 around 8:20pm (full sun)
    Sunday, July 12, 2020 around 8:21pm (half sun)

These summer days just happen to be around Memorial Day and baseball’s All Star Break.

Winter Sunrise Manhattanhenge

It’s not as popular because it is cold and happens early in the morning, but Manhattanhenge also happens twice in winter sunrises. These are the first days.

  • Saturday, December 3, 2019 at 7:03 am.
    Sunday, December 4, 2019
  • Thursday, January 11, 2020
    Friday, January 12, 2020

Best Manhattanhenge Viewing Spots

Wide cross streets are the best viewing spots. Go at least an hour early if you want to get a good spot. The best spots get crowded.

  • 79th Street
  • 59th Street
  • 42nd Street includes the Chrysler Building.
    The Tudor City Bridge is a good spot for Manhattanhenge sunsets.
  • 34th Street includes the Empire State Building
  • 14th Street

In summer, Hunter’s Point South Park across the East River from 42nd St is a good spot too.

Looking directly at the sun is dangerous

It has to be said that looking directly at the sun can burn your eyes.

Be careful even using solar viewing glasses. During recent eclipses, many people hurt themselves because their viewing glasses did not actually provide protection.

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