Twice a year, you can watch the sunset from almost every street in downtown Manhattan.
On May 28 and July 12, the setting sun aligns with the east-west street grid of New York City’s most densely populated borough, Manhattan. And on December 5 and January 8, it’s the sunrise that aligns with cross streets.
In 2002, the term Manhattanhenge was coined by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse to describe the phenomenon. The term makes reference to England’s Stonehenge, a prehistoric circular array of large standing stones where the sun aligns during the summer solstice.
Manhattan’s streets run along the length of the island, so they’re actually about 30 degrees off of a true east-west line. Otherwise, Manhattanhenge would fall on the equinoxes. Still, when the sun does align, commuters who are suddenly blinded realize something’s different. And the site of Earth’s nearest star setting into each street’s centerline is pretty amasnic.
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[tags]Manhattanhenge, Manhattan, New York, Stonehenge[/tags]