Today is one of the four Manhattanhenge days on the calendar where the sun aligns with the New York City street grid layout. The term “Manhattanhenge” was popularized by Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History and a native New Yorker. It is a reference to Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire, England, which was constructed so that the rising sun, seen from the center of the monument at the time of the summer solstice, aligns with the outer “Heel Stone”. (OK, I lifted those last two sentences from Wikipedia rather than trying to re-write them.)
In essence the island of Manhattan has a general north-south orientation and a street grid established in 1811 as the city was growing up the island. At four points in the year the rising or setting sun aligns with our east/west streets framing good old sol in our building canyons. Today is a sunrise Manhattanhenge so you may be reading this too late to catch the phenomenon. So write down May 28 in your date book now because that is the next “sunset” version. You have more time to get your camera ready, it is usually more spectacular (and for several days after) and you have time to plan your trip here if you don’t live here.
2018 will include the 20th anniversary of my move to this great city. This week and throughout the year I will be highlighting New York City topics in my blog.
As always you can find more on http://www.walterthinnes.com and on Twitter @walterthinnes
TOMORROW: Another New York City focused blog