Also known as the Manhattan Solstice, Manhattanhenge is the biennial phenomenon when the sun is aligned perfectly with New York City's 200 year-old street grid, creating magnificent views of the sunrise or sunset across every East-West street. This year, Manhattanhenge happened on July 13th.
|It was awesome to see all the photographers, novice and pro's alike, |
snapping pictures on 34th Street
Manhattanhenge was popularized in 2002 by Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. It applies to those streets that follow the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, which are laid out in a grid offset 29.0 degrees from true east–west.
I'm amused at his apocalyptic tone, but deGrasse writes:
"What will future civilizations think of Manhattan Island when they dig it up and find a carefully laid out network of streets and avenues? Surely the grid would be presumed to have astronomical significance, just as we have found for the pre-historic circle of large vertical rocks known as Stonehenge, in the Salisbury Plain of England. For Stonehenge, the special day is the summer solstice, when the Sun rises in perfect alignment with several of the stones, signaling the change of season.
For Manhattan, a place where evening matters more than morning, that special day comes twice a year. For 2011 they fall on May 30th, and July 13th, when 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. A rare and beautiful sight. These two days happen to correspond with Memorial Day and Baseball's All Star break. Future anthropologists might conclude that, via the Sun, the people who called themselves Americans worshiped War and Baseball."
|Taken by fellow photographer Jeremy Heinz|
|Taken by fellow photographer Brett Weinstein|