Today is Manhattanhenge, one of the two days a year when the setting sun lines up perfectly with the New York City street grid. Next to Central Park and possibly the High Line, it might be the best demonstration that living in the city doesn't rule out natural beauty … it just maybe makes it a little weirder.
Yesterday offered a good opportunity for photographs, because half the sun was above and half below the horizon when it lined up with the grid. But tonight may be the greater visual spectacle: the whole sun framed between the buildings. Hayden Planetarium astronomer extraordinaire Neil deGrasse Tyson waxes lyrical:
What will future civilizations think of Manhattan Island when they dig it up and find a carefully laid out network of streets and avenues? Surely the grid would be presumed to have astronomical significance, just as we have found for the pre-historic circle of large vertical rocks known as Stonehenge, in the Salisbury Plain of England.
Sunset is at 8:17, but you should probably show up a little early to get the full effect. The best streets to see Manhattanhenge are 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, and 57th, all of which have subway stations on at least one line because New York is cool like that.
Manhattanhenge, Hayden Planetarium.
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