While you’re breezing through Instagram this weekend, remember to check the #Manhattanhenge hashtag. The first of the twice-yearly occurrences happens over two nights this weekend: at 8:12 p.m. tonight (half sun), and 8:12 p.m. on Saturday (full sun), along the east-west streets of the Manhattan grid.
The final Manhattanhenge of the year occurs at 8:20 p.m. on Sunday, July 12 (full sun), and 8:21 p.m. on Monday, July 13 (half sun).
Astrophysicist and Cosmos steward Neil deGrasse Tyson coined the term and writes this for the American Museum of Natural History about the 2015 events:
For best effect, position yourself as far east in Manhattan as possible. But ensure that when you look west across the avenues you can still see New Jersey. Clear cross streets include 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th, and several streets adjacent to them. The Empire State Building and the Chrysler building render 34th and 42nd streets especially striking vistas.
Here’s a map:
Tyson goes on:
True, some municipalities have streets named for the Sun, like Sunrise Highway on Long Island and the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. But these roads are not perfectly straight. And the few times a year when the Sun aligns with one of their stretches of road, all you get is stalled traffic [as] solar glare temporarily blinds drivers.
So Manhattanhenge may just be a unique urban phenomenon in the world, if not the universe.
Here’s a video of the scene last July on 42nd Street. A word of advice: Arrive about an hour early to line up a good spot — or else you might as well just keep looking at pictures of it on your phone.