The Magic of Manhattanhenge: Spectators’ Splendor

by Troi Santos

A Manhattanhenge phenomenon | Photo by Troi Santos

NEW YORK – Manhattanhenge, an accidental phenomenon occurring in which the sun sets in alignment with the streets that run east to west on the Manhattan street grid and casts a red-orange glow, is happening again tonight, May 29, at 8:13 p.m. ET with half-sun on the grid, and again on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, at 8:12 p.m. ET with the full sun effect.

On July 12, 2019, I photographed this celestial tableau, unveiled on the Pershing Square Viaduct, also known as Park Avenue Viaduct, on 42nd Street in Manhattan. Silhouettes of people and vehicles graced the scene, poised in anticipation of an event rarely experienced. Each figure shared a unique narrative, united in their reverence of the celestial dance above.

As the focus shifted, the sun receded, and the foreground took center stage. Just as it was then, tonight, I anticipate motionless silhouettes embodying our collective humanity, yearning for moments of transcendence amid the bustling cityscape. The image encapsulates the essence of shared experience, urging us to pause, marvel at the surrounding beauty, and find solace in the simplicity of these fleeting moments.

Resilience, hope, and an unwavering spirit would emanate within this rigid frame. The unity would enrich the vibrant tapestry of the city and the wonder witnessed during the Manhattanhenge. It will be a timeless tale, an eternal quest for beauty amid the extraordinary that resides within the ordinary fabric of our lives.

Untapped New York compiled a list of 10 places to get the best view of the Manhattanhenge sunset this year.

  1. FDR Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island
  2. The Queens Waterfront in Long Island City
  3. The NYC Ferry
  4. The Brooklyn Waterfront
  5. The Flatiron Building
  6. 14th Street (near Union Square)
  7. 34th Street
  8. 42nd Street
  9. 57th Street, and
  10. 72nd Street

If you missed this glorious sight and photographer’s delight, Manhattanhenge would occur again on July 13, 2023, at 8:21 p.m. ET (half-sun) and July 12, 2023, at 8:20 p.m. for full-sun on the grid.

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