Manhattanhenge is when the sun sets directly through the center of Manhattan cross streets. There are just a few days a year when the sun is directly in line with the Manhattan street grid. It’s happening tonight and again on July 12.
It’s called Manhattanhenge, a play on words for Stonehenge. And it’s fascinating to see, with or without a camera and tripod. The Hayden Planetarium’s Neil deGrasse Tyson calls it a unique urban phenomenon in the world, if not the universe.
Starting at just after 8PM, the sun will appear on the western edge of the street, washing the space between the two sides of the street in orange light, until the actual sunset at 8:16PM.
The best places to see Manhattanhenge 2014 are as far east in Manhattan as possible, where you can see west across the avenues all the way to New Jersey. Ideal streets include 14th, 23rd, 34th. 42nd, and 57th. Best of all is the transverse across 42nd Street, at First Avenue.
A few years back I was part of a huge crowd of photographers and other Manhattanhenge fans, waiting for the perfect moment. Unfortunately, clouds prevented the picture postcard photo. But I had a great time anyway, and got some interesting twilight shots of 42nd Street and the Chrysler Building.