Manhattanhenge: How to see it this year

New Yorkers are gathering for the biannual spectacle of Manhattanhenge on Tuesday evening.

The city’s famous grid system will frame the setting sun, casting a warm glow over the concrete jungle.

The phenomenon typically draws thousands of onlookers, tourists and locals alike, who vie to capture the perfect image.

The first night of Manhattanhenge happened on Monday, with only half the setting sun on view.

The full sun will be glimpsed between the skyscrapers at sunset on Tuesday.

What is Manhattanhenge?

This is when the sunset aligns perfectly with Manhattan’s skyscrapers, which were built on the city’s street grid layout.

Similar “henge” phenomena also occur in other cities with large amounts of skyscrapers and long straight streets – such as Chicago, Montreal and Toronto.

Image caption,

The view at 42nd Street in Manhattan

As far as sunset goes, the event happens in May and July, and for two nights each. There’s also a sunrise version that occurs in the winter.

It happens about three weeks before and three weeks after the summer solstice.

Who coined the term?

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson first used the term Manhattanhenge in 1997, inspired by its likeness to Stonehenge, where the sun aligns with concentric circles of vertical stones on each of the solstices.

Image caption,

People by Times Square snapping pictures of Manhattanhenge in 2022

“As a kid, I visited Stonehenge in the Salisbury Plain of England and did research on other stone monuments across the British Isles. It was deep within me,” says deGrasse Tyson.

“So I was, in a way, imprinted by the emotional power that terrestrial alignments with the Sun can have on a culture or civilisation.”

How do you see it?

Viewers above 14th Street and below 155th Street can catch the spectacle.

Image caption,

Manhattanhenge seen from Weehawken, New Jersey across the Hudson River

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation recommends these streets for a great view: 57th Street, 42nd Street, 34th Street, 23rd Street and 14th Street.

While 42nd Street is a popular viewing spot, any east-west street will offer a generally good view – just be sure to head as far east as possible.

It will happen on Tuesday at 20:12 local time and again on 12 July at 20:20 and on 13 July at 20:21 local time.

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