Often referred to as the Manhattan Solstice, the Manhattanhenge phenomenon happens only twice a year. During this event, the setting sun aligns with the east-west streets of the main street grid in the borough of Manhattan in New York City.
The name Manhattanhenge derives from Stonehenge (the prehistoric stone monument in Wiltshire, England), where the sun aligns with the stones on the solstices, and applies to the New York City streets that follow the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, which are offset from the street grid by 29.0 degrees from true east-west.
During Manhattanhenge, you’ll be able to see the sun setting over New Jersey from these streets along its centerline. As with solstices and equinoxes, the dates can vary year to year, but it usually occurs around May 28 and again around July 12.
This year Manhattanhenge occurs Thursday 5/29 at 8:16 EDT, so be sure to check it out and snap a few pictures! You can send them to WeatherBug Photos and share this bi-yearly event with millions! If you miss this one, it’ll happen again on 7/12.
According to astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, for the best view, position yourself as far east in Manhattan as possible, but make sure that when you look west, you can still see New Jersey. Clear cross streets include 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th and several adjacent streets. It is recommended that you arrive 30 minutes prior to the sun setting on the grid.
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-The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team