Just as Pagans have flocked to Stonehenge to celebrate the solstice for thousands of years, New Yorkers come from every corner of the city to catch a glimpse of Manhattanhenge. Manhattanhenge is an accidental urban phenomenon that occurs when the sun sets in perfect alignment with the Manhattan grid, an effect that someone very perceptive noticed around 20 years ago. Though this event may not be ritualistic or intentional as the Stonehenge solstice, it is spectacular nonetheless. The excitement surrounding Manhattanhenge is palpable each time it comes around, and that excitement is building as first Manhattanhenge of 2023 is set to occur next week.
Made possible by the angle at which Manhattan’s grid resides (28.9 degrees east of due north, to be exact), Manhattanhenge comes twice a year like any other solstice or equinox. This year’s first occurrences are set for the approaching dates of Monday, May 29 at 8:13 pm (when the half Sun will be visible) and Tuesday, May 30 at 8:12 pm (when the full Sun will be visible). The later dates of Manhattanhenge this year fall on July 12 and 13.
Between the dates of May 29 and July 13, the sun will still be visible between the grid, though not as picture-perfectly situated as the actual dates of Manhattanhenge. The term “Manhattanhenge” was coined by astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History.
In order to get the best view possible of the Manhattanhenge sunset this year, we compiled a list of 10 places where you can see it!
1. FDR Four Freedoms Park
FDR Four Freedoms Park, located on Roosevelt Island, is fantastic viewing point for Manhattanhenge. With views of the East River and famous landmarks like the United Nations and Chrysler Building, it creates the perfect photo-op.
2. The Queens Waterfront
A very popular spot for seeing Manhattanhenge is Long Island City. Most Manhattanhenge admirers head to Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park or the nearby Gantry Plaza State Park, where the stunning photo above was taken by one of our Untapped New York’s Insiders. An alternative option is to check out the Pulaski Bridge between Brooklyn and Queens.