Manhattanhenge 2012

Everyone was excited about yesterday’s Manhattanhenge the twice yearly (May and July) phenomenon during which the sun sets in perfect alignment with the east-west grid of certain New York City main streets: 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th Streets.

This year’s Manhattanhenge dates are May 29th and July 12th and 13th. Yesterday, with its beautiful sun, promised to make up for May’s dismal rain. To say I was excited would be an understatement.

My niece and friends had planned to view the sunset from the overpass near Grand Central. The overpass is a perfect spot. High above the traffic, it offers the perfect vantage point to get a clear shot of the sunset without distractions. Unfortunately, as soon as we took up our positions, the police arrived and told us to leave. We had no choice but to take to the busy 42nd Street, which is not closed to traffic.

Manhattanhenge 2012
Manhattanhenge 2012

At 42nd & Fifth Avenue, a crowd had gathered. Perhaps the police had urged some of them to leave the overpass. There were a few intrepid photographers, one had set up his tripod right on the yellow line in the middle of the busy intersection. Of course, as the lights changed he, and the rest of us, were forced to move.

When the traffic stopped again, everyone, myself included dashed back into the street to get a view and take some photos. The photo above is what I got before cars and buses started honking.

Unfortunately, yesterday’s Manhattanhenge was almost totally obscured by a thick clouds. Normally, you’d see something that looks like this.

Manhattanhenge, image from the Internet

Manhattanhenge doesn’t occur only in Manhattan. If you live in Chicago, Toronto or Montreal, you have your own henge. Although this is such a short and an unpredictable event, it’s definitely worth looking forward to.

When the sun dropped behind the clouds, we headed to a nearby bar and rounded out the evening with a few cold ones.

Have you experienced Manhattanhenge?


I’m linking this post to Endless Summer, a round-up of summer-themed travel posts
hosted by Travel Rants and Raves.

23 comments on “Manhattanhenge 2012

  1. Hearing about it for the first time! Does round pretty interesting, its a pity that the clouds obscured the views. Maybe next time you will have a better experience!

  2. I love how adaptive and creative this is. In such a built-up environment people getting excited about where the sun sets.

  3. Wow! That looks really cool! I bet you have had such a great time there! That place must have such a great atmosphere, your shots are really nice!

  4. That looks really cool! I bet you have had such a great time there! That place must have such a great atmosphere, your shots are really nice!

  5. I’ve never heard of Manhattanhenge either, but now I’m somewhat fascinated. I can just picture all the photographers running out into the middle of the street to get the perfect view. Too bad about the clouds though, because the last picture is stunning!

  6. I am sure you will catch it next time and we will witness it through your eyes!!
    Have a fantastic week Marcia:)

  7. I was really pumped up about catching it in May, but the rain made it not so different than any regular NYC sunset. Definitely hoping to catch a bright Manhattanhenge next year!;-)

  8. Hi Marcia, nice blog!
    I live in NYC and I haven’t seen Manhattanhenge:( Seems like I’m always away somewhere everytime it occurs. Have to try to catch it next time.

  9. Thanks, Grete. You’re right, it was pretty exciting. Everyone rushing out into the street when the lights changed, the police chasing us off the overpass.

  10. It’s so cool and amazing how everyone is drawn to this sunset. With it resting against those buildings, it’s reminds of the creators of both; man and nature.

  11. Spectacular sunsets always remind us how beautiful nature can be. There was so much ooohhhing and awwwhing that evening. You’d think there was a little baby in the crowd.

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