At Untapped Cities, we show you the unique “untapped” places that are off-the-beaten path. But we also like to show you new ways to look at well-known places, like last week’s post on Prospect Park’s Lookout Hill which has a view of Coney Island. Today, we look at Central Park before sunrise.The first surprising thing about Central Park at that hour is how it can be at once blissfully quiet, yet full of life. Runners, bikers, and dog owners populate the main trails, while birdwatchers and fellow photographers dot the more remote areas. Ice-skaters not surprisingly begin their day early as well.

The park opens at 6 am, and at this time of year, sunrise is around 6:45 am (check actual sunrise times before heading out). The actual sunrise is not often visible from inside the park, as the skysrapers block the horizon from most vantage points. Nonetheless, this does not detract from the experience. Especially on foggy days, the early morning light makes it absolutely magical.

Here are some photos from my recent expeditions, mostly in the South East quarter of the park. I hope that you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed making them!

Ducks near Gapstow Bridge one early, foggy morning.

Ducks near Gapstow Bridge one early, foggy morning.


Many things in New York City change, but  Manhattanhenge  faithfully returns every year. For those new to the Manhattanhenge phenomenon, twice a year the sun falls into exact alignment with the Manhattan street grid, offering incredible sunsets that fully illuminate the cross-streets. The most dramatic photographs could arguably be taken amidst the notable architecture on 34th and 42nd street, the latter as seen below, but any of the cross streets will have a nice view. The first occurrence of Manhattanhenge happens May 29 and 30th (the first day showing a half-sun on the horizon, the second day showing the full-sun). Don’t worry if you miss it–it happens again in July! Either way, be sure to get there early as it gets crowded, especially at the Tudor City Bridge.

2012 Manhattanhenge dates

Half-sun on the horizon:
Tuesday, May 29th at 8:17 p.m.
Thursday, July 12th at 8:25 p.m.

Full-sun on the grid:
Wednesday, May 30th at 8:16 p.m.
Wednesday, July 11th at 8:24 p.m.

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