On Monday, August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible throughout the United States. This will be the first total eclipse visible from the contiguous United States since February of 1979 and everyone around the country is capitalizing on the opportunity to witness what is being dubbed as “The Great American Eclipse.”
Watch parties are being planned throughout the eclipse’s path. In New York City, public parks, museums, and libraries are all preparing for this once in a lifetime moment. While only approximately 71% of the sun will be covered in New York during the event’s peak at approximately 2:44 PM, it is the last total eclipse that will be visible in the city for the foreseeable future.
With additional assistance from Curbed NY, here are 12 of the best places in New York City to watch the upcoming eclipse:
1. New York Harbor
On the afternoon of August 21, Classic Harbor Line will be providing special tour to coincide with the eclipse.
The boat will leave from the Chelsea Piers Complex at 1:15 PM, just in time for the moon to begin moving in front of the sun at 1:23 PM. The event, which will take you down the Hudson River, past Ellis Island to Battery Park where it will sail out to the Statue of Liberty — will last three hours, enough to cover the peak and the final contact at 4:00 PM. The tour will also be providing three rounds of drinks: passengers can enjoy beer, wine, champagne, soda, and water. Classic Harbor Line will also be providing complimentary glasses for guests to watch the eclipse.
2. Pelham Bay Public Library
According to Curbed NY, The Pelham Bay branch of New York’s public library system will be one of many locations throughout the city to host a viewing party. The party will begin at 2:30 PM, giving only 14 minutes before the eclipse peaks.
The library is located at 3060 Middletown Road in the Bronx, close enough to Pelham Bay Park in case you wanted to witness the event from a more isolated location. The library will also provide free special glasses for anyone who joins the viewing party.
3. Queens Library Branches
If you live in Queens, head to one of its many libraries and nab a pair of solar glasses. According to the Queens Chronicle, nearly every branch will be hosting an event next Monday. Some noteworthy places to visit include the Flushing branch, which will hand out special glasses donated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s “NASA @ My Library” initiative at 1:30 PM. The program will also include videos about the phenomenon before visitors head outdoors to see it live.
Children can also partake in the festivities in the Glendale and Queens Village branches, which are hosting solar-themed arts and crafts sessions.
5. Fort Hancock Historic Post in Sandy Hook, NJ
Fort Hancock Historic Post in Sandy Hook. Image by Volunteer-in-Parks Stan Kosinski from the National Park Service
While this viewing location may not be in New York City, it’s certainly worth a short trip.
Make your way over the Sandy Hook, New Jersey, where you’ll join a park ranger and S.T.A.R Astronomy for a special solar eclipse event, taking place in the History House, Bldg. #1 of the Fort Hancock Historic Post. It’s free and experts will also be present, sharing tips on how to enjoy the solar eclipse safely. For more information, click here.
6. American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History is another location that is holding an eclipse viewing party for the special event. Unique to this party, however, is the company of astronomers that will be present at the museum giving speeches and explaining just what is happening throughout the course of the eclipse.
The events for the day begin at 12:00 PM, and include a pop-up talk and Q&A. At 1:30 PM, an outside viewing will take place until the final contact at 4:00. The American Museum of Natural History will also be streaming NASA’s live feed of the eclipse in the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Glasses will not be provided at the museum, so it is recommended for guests to bring their own.
7. Hotel Americano + Bungalow Bar
Hotel Americano in Chelsea will be hosting a viewing party as well. The hotel, located at 518 West 27th Street, will be turning its rooftop into a prime location for the eclipse. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon of swimming while watching it all unfold. Admission into the party will be free, but it will cost $40 to reserve a lounge chair by the pool. In honor of the total solar eclipse, the hotel bar will be selling a special drink for the occasion: a martini with Grey Goose vodka. Solar glasses will be provided to view the eclipse above.
8. Todt Hill
The highest point in all of the five boroughs and on all of the Atlantic seaboard south of Maine, Todt Hill is an ideal location for anyone looking to enjoy the solar eclipse without the hassle of a viewing party.
Given Todt Hill’s elevation on Staten Island, it should make for a perfect view of the sky above. It is safe to say that there will be far fewer people competing for the best vantage point here.
9. Inwood Hill Park
Another great location for anyone looking to avoid large parties is Inwood Hill Park. Located in the northern end of Manhattan, in the neighborhood of Inwood, the park is set on the Hudson River and is filled with natural beauty. While there, keep an eye out for leftover evidence of caves and ridges caused by glaciers, as well as the luscious growth of trees.
The park is located far enough away from the center of Manhattan, so light pollution and distractions won’t be as severe as they would be in other parks throughout New York City.
9. Brooklyn Public Library, Clinton Hill Branch
The Clinton Hill Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library will be hosting an eclipse viewing party from 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM. The library, at 380 Washington Avenue in Brooklyn, invites the public to join them in experiencing this once in a lifetime occurrence.
Guests at the Clinton Hill Library’s viewing party will have the opportunity to draw their favorite planets on the sidewalks in chalk, and even create their very own pinhole viewer. The library will provide some special eclipse glasses, but it is first come first serve, so make sure to arrive early if you don’t already have your own.
10. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is equipped with a bar and cafe, is always a fantastic location to enjoy views of New York City. Not only does it overlook Central Park, it also provides a terrific view of the skyline, combining elements of city infrastructure and nature.
While the Met allows you to choose what you pay for admission tickets, the suggested price is $25. Also expect to pay for a few drinks to fully enjoy the experience.
11. Times Square
Times Square isn’t exactly the first place you would think of when trying to find a way to fully enjoy a natural occurrence. Ideally, one would go to a relatively remote location with little outside distractions to enjoy such an event. So why should you visit one of New York City’s most crowded and busiest locations? Simple, curiosity.
When someone thinks of Times Square, images of glowing neon lights and chaotic city block with masses of moving people come to mind. The solar eclipse on August 21st, however, will give everyone the unique opportunity to see Times Square lit up in only 71% totality of the eclipse, experiencing a combination of minimal sun and minimal artificial light.
12. Central Park
Although it is often crowded, especially during an occurrence like the solar eclipse, Central Park remains one of the most beautiful locations in all of New York City, making it one of the ideal locations to spend the afternoon on August 21st.
Central Park isn’t going to be as isolated or desolate as other parks throughout the city, but it offers far more opportunities for visitors to get that perfect view of the eclipse. Anywhere near The Lake should provide an excellent location, as well as The Ramble, one of Central Park’s quieter locations, which also happens to be a popular location for birds.
Wherever you are in New York City, August 21st is sure to be a day to remember and a unique event that you surely won’t want to miss. Just remember your eclipse glasses and avoid looking directly at the eclipse.
Next, check out Darkened Cities: Photographs of NYC and Other Major Cities Only Lit by Stars, or NYC Fun Facts: Former Nuclear Fallout Shelters are Scattered Around NYC From The Cold War. Get in touch with the author on Instagram: @mjohnathonrich.