Manhattanhenge as seen from 79th Street and 3rd Ave

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

Manhattanhenge as seen from Gantry State Park

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.

3. The NYC Ferry

Manhattanhenge as seen from the NYC Ferry

Untapped New York Insider Marie Carter caught the July 2022 Manhattanhenge sunset while cruising on an NYC Ferry along the East River. This is a clever way to see the effect from multiple vantage points along the Manhattan shoreline while avoiding the crowds and cars that you have to contend with on the street.

4. The Brooklyn Waterfront

If you are looking to catch some water in your photos, another good choice is the Brooklyn waterfront, though you may need to search for the perfect viewpoint. Bushwick Inlet Park and East River State Park in Williamsburg are worth trying as they line up with 14th Street.

5. Flatiron Building

Flatiron Building

Nearby the Flatiron Building, at the meeting point of 23rd Street and Broadway, there is a clear path right to the sun that makes for a great view. Neil deGrasse-Tyson (the man who coined the term Manhattanhenge) recommends this spot!

6. 14th Street

If you’re viewing from Manahttan, Neil Degrasse Tyson states that the best place to situate yourself is on one of the major east-west crosstown thoroughfares. A crosstown street that may provide ideal sun framing is 14th Street between Lower and Midtown Manhattan. Stick near Union Square for the best views.

7. 34th Street

A silhouette against the sunset

Moving further uptown, 34th Street is a classic spot to catch views of this iconic sunse. What makes it even better is that from here, the Empire State Building will be standing tall and ready for its photoshoot. We recommend heading as far east as you can toward FDR Drive.

8. 42nd Street

Manhattanhenge from 42nd Street

At 42nd Street, you will have a great view of the setting sun between buildings, and you also get the added bonus of having the Chrysler Building in the background. For this reason, it’s one of the most popular spots to watch from, While the Tutor City Overpass has fantastic views, it becomes easily chaotic with crowds of photographers trying to capture their best shots of the sun. Therefore, we think it’s a safer bet to stay on the sidewalk and take it all in from ground level with more room to breathe.

9. 57th Street

Manhattanhenge as seen from 57th Street and 9th Avenue

57th Street is another great spot for chasing the sun as it is wide enough to avoid over-stimulating crowds who may ruin the view in other parts of the city. The lucky shot seen above is noticeably missing the crowds that Manahttanhenge usually attracts as it was taken in July 2020 during Covid lockdowns.

10. 72nd Street

Manhattanhenge as seen from 79th Street and 3rd Ave
Taken from 79th Street

While many of the aforementioned crosstown street locations are well-known, a typically less busy place to see Manhattanhenge would be 72nd Street. If you want to avoid some of the crowds but still get a nice photo, this could be the perfect place for it. The sweet moment above was captured even further north on 79th Street.

Whereever you plant yourself to watch the sunset, we want to see your photos! Tag us on social media with the handle @untappedny!

Next, check out 17 Art Installations to See in NYC This Month