SUNSET ON THE MANHATTAN GRID
East side of Manhattan
Half Sun: Tuesday, May 29, 8:13 pm
Full Sun: Wednesday, May 30, 8:12 pm
Full Sun: Thursday, July 12, 8:20 pm
Half Sun: Friday, July 13, 8:21 pm
One of our favorite events of the summer season, the first of two Manhattanhenges takes place next week, when the sun aligns with Manhattan’s off-center (by thirty degrees) grid to send spectacular bursts of sunlight streaming across the streets. It’s a real bummer when the sky is obscured by clouds and bad weather, ruining the effect, so hopefully that won’t be a problem, as it has been in recent years. Coined by master astrophysicist and Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson in 2002, Manhattanhenge takes place twice a year; for 2018, those dates are May 29-30 and July 12-13, when the sun (half the disk one night, the full disk the other) will create “a radiant glow of light across Manhattan’s brick and steel canyons, simultaneously illuminating both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough’s grid,” Tyson explains on the planetarium website. “A rare and beautiful sight. These two days happen to correspond with Memorial Day and Baseball’s All Star break. Future anthropologists might conclude that, via the Sun, the people who called themselves Americans worshiped War and Baseball.” Photographers will once again line up along the city’s wider thoroughfares on the east side, including Twenty-Third, Thirty-Fourth, Forty-Second, and Fifty-Seventh Sts., risking their physical safety against oncoming traffic as they try to capture that exact moment when the sun is half above the horizon, half below it. Wrongly called the Manhattan Solstice, the event “may just be a unique urban phenomenon in the world, if not the universe,” Tyson explains. It’s quite a sight when everything is alignment; don’t miss it.