CITY

The spectacle of Manhattanhenge: twice a year, the sun stops the streets of New York City

Manhattanhenge, also known as the Manhattan solstice, is a phenomenon in which the setting of the sun is perfectly aligned with the streets running east-west through the borough of Manhattan, the 'island' of New York.

This phenomenon, which literally paralyses the streets of the Big Apple for a few minutes, occurs twice a year, at exactly the same distance from the summer solstice. The first occurs, in terms of time, around 28 May, while the second generally occurs around 12 July.

This phenomenon is named after the famous scientific divuigator Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History.

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What is Manhattanhenge: one of the most anticipated events in all of New York City
Manhattanhenge, also called Manhattan solstice, is a phenomenon in which the setting of the sun is perfectly aligned with the streets that cross the borough of Manhattan, or the 'island' of New York, in an east-west direction.
Getty Images
What is Manhattanhenge: one of the most anticipated events in all of New York City
This phenomenon, which literally paralyses the streets of the Big Apple for a few minutes, occurs twice every year, at exactly the same distance from the summer solstice. The first is around 28 May, while the second usually occurs around 12 July.
Getty Images
What is Manhattanhenge: one of the most anticipated events in all of New York City
The name of this phenomenon is attributed to the famous scientific divuigator Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History.
Getty Images
What is Manhattanhenge: one of the most anticipated events in all of New York City
The word is an obvious reference to the archaeological site Stonehenge, an ancient Druidic temple in Wiltshire (England) where, according to researchers, during the summer solstice, the sun disc aligns with the 'heel stone', placed at the entrance to the site.
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What is Manhattanhenge: one of the most anticipated events in all of New York City
According to the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, the metropolitan grid of most streets on the island of Manhattan is rotated 29° clockwise from true east-west. As a result, at the moment when the azimuth of sunset is 299° (i.e., 29° north of true west), the Sun is perfectly aligned with the grid of streets, creating, as can be seen from the pictures, a spectacle that is truly unique to see in a place like the Big Apple.
Getty Images
What is Manhattanhenge: one of the most anticipated events in all of New York City
The exact dates may vary from year to year, but they remain very close to the summer solstice, which generally occurs around 21 June.
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What is Manhattanhenge: one of the most anticipated events in all of New York City
Instead, the days on which it is the sunrise that aligns in this east-west direction can be traced back to around the winter solstice, i.e. around 21 December.
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What is Manhattanhenge: one of the most anticipated events in all of New York City
Seen from the river, the images of New York City at this very moment are truly incredible. Breathtaking.
Getty Images
What is Manhattanhenge: one of the most anticipated events in all of New York City
Seen from the river, the images of New York City at this very moment are truly incredible. Breathtaking.
Getty Images
What is Manhattanhenge: one of the most anticipated events in all of New York City
Seen from the river, the images of New York City at this very moment are truly incredible. Breathtaking.
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