EXPLAINER: When is Manhattanhenge? Where can you see it?

Didn't make it to Stonehenge for the solstice? There's still time to catch Manhattanhenge, when the setting sun aligns with the Manhattan street grid and bathes the urban canyons in a rosy glow.

Associated Press

Jul 11, 2022, 3:08 PM

Updated 680 days ago

Share:

EXPLAINER: When is Manhattanhenge? Where can you see it?
Didn't make it to Stonehenge for the solstice? There's still time to catch Manhattanhenge, when the setting sun aligns with the Manhattan street grid and bathes the urban canyons in a rosy glow.
The last two Manhattanhenge sunsets of 2022 are Monday and Tuesday. Some background on the phenomenon:

WHERE DOES THE NAME MANHATTANHENGE COME FROM?

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson coined the term in a 1997 article in the magazine Natural History. Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium at New York's American Museum of Natural History, has said that he was inspired by a visit to Stonehenge as a teenager.
The future host of TV shows like PBS' "Nova ScienceNow" was part of an expedition led by Gerald Hawkins, the scientist who first theorized that Stonehenge's mysterious megaliths were an ancient astronomical observatory.
It struck Tyson, a native New Yorker, that the setting sun framed by Manhattan's highrises could be compared to the sun's rays striking the center of the Stonehenge circle on the solstice.
Unlike the Neolithic Stonehenge builders, the planners who laid out Manhattan did not mean to channel the sun. It just worked out that way.

WHEN IS MANHATTANHENGE?

Manhattanhenge does not take place on the summer solstice itself, which was June 21 this year. Instead, it happens about three weeks before the solstice and again about three weeks after. That's when the sun aligns itself perfectly with the Manhattan grid's east-west streets.
For 2022, peak Manhattanhenge occurred at 8:12 p.m. May 30 and takes place again at 8:20 p.m. Monday. That's when the full sun appears to hover between buildings just before sinking into the Hudson River.
On the days before and after — May 29 and July 12 this year — the top half of the sun's disk sits above the horizon and the top half is below at the precise moment of alignment.

WHERE CAN YOU SEE MANHATTANHENGE?

The traditional viewing spots are along the city's broad east-west thoroughfares: 14th Street, 23rd Street, 34th Street, 42nd Street and 57th Street. The farther east you go, the more dramatic the vista as sun's rays hit building facades on either side. It is also possible to see Manhattanhenge across the East River in the Long Island City section of Queens.

IS MANHATTANHENGE AN ORGANIZED EVENT?

Manhattanhenge viewing parties are not unknown. The beverage company San Pellegrino hosted an "exclusive Manhattanhenge celebration” on a bridge spanning East 42th Street in 2018.
But Manhattanhenge is mostly a DIY affair. People gather on east-west streets a half an hour or so before sunset and snap photo after photo as dusk approaches. That's if the weather is fine. There's no visible Manhattanhenge on rainy or cloudy days.

DO OTHER CITIES HAVE ‘HENGES'?

Similar effects occur in other cities with uniform street grids. Chicagohenge and Baltimorehenge happen when the setting sun lines up with the grid systems in those cities during March and September, around the spring and fall equinoxes. Torontohenge occurs around Feb. 16 and Oct. 25.
But Manhattanhenge is particularly striking because of the height of the buildings and the unobstructed path to the Hudson.


More from News 12
Police: 7-vehicle crash on I-84 in Putnam County injures 9 people

Police: 7-vehicle crash on I-84 in Putnam County injures 9 people

1:42
Mostly sunny skies and warm temperatures in the Hudson Valley

Mostly sunny skies and warm temperatures in the Hudson Valley

0:36
Newburgh Police Commissioner Jose Gomerez resigns

Newburgh Police Commissioner Jose Gomerez resigns

0:49
Former medical officer manager from Orange County pleads guilty to health care fraud

Former medical officer manager from Orange County pleads guilty to health care fraud

0:35
New York State Police identify victim in fatal Sprain Brook Parkway crash

New York State Police identify victim in fatal Sprain Brook Parkway crash

0:38
2 preschoolers injured in fatal Sullivan County school bus crash

2 preschoolers injured in fatal Sullivan County school bus crash

1:48
Several Hudson Valley schools seek to pierce state tax gap in budget votes

Several Hudson Valley schools seek to pierce state tax gap in budget votes

0:17
Yonkers students honor war heroes at 7th Ward War Memorial

Yonkers students honor war heroes at 7th Ward War Memorial

0:26
Police: 2 additional arrests made in 2019 cold case killing of Middletown man

Police: 2 additional arrests made in 2019 cold case killing of Middletown man

2:41
Made in the Hudson Valley: Jaymark Jewelers continues family legacy, four decades in the making

Made in the Hudson Valley: Jaymark Jewelers continues family legacy, four decades in the making

1:41
County manager: School bus driver dies in collision with another school bus

County manager: School bus driver dies in collision with another school bus

1:50
Catskill EMS workers taken off duty after video shows apparent mistreatment of disabled patient

Catskill EMS workers taken off duty after video shows apparent mistreatment of disabled patient

0:57
Parents of late Pace University student receive award at 2024 commencement ceremony

Parents of late Pace University student receive award at 2024 commencement ceremony

1:35
North Castle police: Officer shoots man who attacked police with knife in Armonk

North Castle police: Officer shoots man who attacked police with knife in Armonk

0:49
Saigon Table: New Vietnamese eatery brings healthy fresh food options to Rye

Saigon Table: New Vietnamese eatery brings healthy fresh food options to Rye

1:44
Pride event organizers aim to attract more families while preparing for potential disruptions

Pride event organizers aim to attract more families while preparing for potential disruptions

1:42
Shrub Oak resident: It's only a matter of time until someone is killed on Old Yorktown Road

Shrub Oak resident: It's only a matter of time until someone is killed on Old Yorktown Road

1:56
Remembering Mark Woods: Rockland County reflects on councilman’s life

Remembering Mark Woods: Rockland County reflects on councilman’s life

1:10
Police: Multivehicle crash on Sprain Brook Parkway kills 1

Police: Multivehicle crash on Sprain Brook Parkway kills 1

0:21
Officials: 2 hospitalized following head-on collision in Cornwall

Officials: 2 hospitalized following head-on collision in Cornwall