Manhattanhenge magic is returning to New York City’s grid

May 26, 2023

Photo by  on Flickr

The spectacular sunset that aligns exactly with the Manhattan street grid and only comes twice a year happened for the first time this past Memorial Day. The magical Manhattanhenge was first visible on May 29 at 8:13 p.m., when a half-sun streamed through major cross streets. According to the American Museum of Natural History, the final phenomenon of the year takes place this week, on Wednesday, July 12 and Thursday, July 13.

Photo by John Gillespie on Flickr cc

Coined by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse, Manhattanhenge is a play on “Stonehenge,” the circle of stone in England built to align with the sun’s movement. The grid of Manhattan does not run perfectly north-south and east-west because everything is rotated roughly 29 degrees clockwise.

During the summer solstice, the sun will set about 32 degrees north of true west. This means a few weeks before and after the solstice, the sun sets at the same angle as Manhattan’s grid, 29 degrees north of true west.

For the best view of the event, head to Manhattan cross streets like 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, and 57th Streets. The experts at AMNH recommend finding a spot as far east as possible that “still has views of New Jersey across the Hudson River.”

Other spots to see Manhattanhenge include the Tudor City Overpass near the United Nations and Hunters Point South in Long Island City, Queens.

The Manhattanhenge dates and times for 2023 are as follows:

  • Monday, May 29, 8:13 p.m. (half-sun)
  • Tuesday, May 30, 8:12 p.m. (full sun)
  • Thursday, July 13, 8:21 p.m. (half-sun)
  • Wednesday, July 12, 8:20 p.m. (full sun)

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