Tonight and tomorrow night at sunset comes that magical twice-a-year moment when the sun sets in exact alignment with the Manhattan grid. Neil deGrasse Tyson coined the term “Manhattanhenge” to describe this rare occurrence. He writes, “the setting sun aligns precisely with the Manhattan street grid, creating a radiant glow of light across Manhattan’s brick and steel canyons, simultaneously illuminating both the North and South sides of every cross street of the borough’s grid.”
Things start at 8:25 pm, but Tyson recommends arriving 30 minutes early. For optimal viewing, go east, and make sure you can still see New Jersey. The best streets are 34th and 42nd, because of how wide they are.
Tonight’s show is distinguished from the “true” Manhattanhenge because the entire sun will be above the horizon. Tomorrow night, the sun will sit half above and half below the horizon.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 12, 2011