Manhattanhenge Is Coming Really Soon

by Lauren Holter

Twice a year, the sun perfectly aligns with New York City's streets, creating an illuminating view of the sun unmatched every other time of year. Manhattanhenge is happening this weekend, and if you're in the city, you don't want to miss it. On Friday at 8:12 p.m., half the sun will align with the New York City grid and at the same time Saturday, the whole sun will be visible. The Hayden Planetarium recommends going as far east in Manhattan as possible without losing sight of New Jersey across the avenues for the best views. The best streets to stake out include 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, and 57th.

This phenomenon will happen again July 12 and 13. The Hayden Planetarium believes New York City is unique in its Manhattanhenge views — theoretically any city with a rectangular grid system could experience the same alignment with the sun, but none frame the setting sun as beautifully as New York City. "So Manhattanhenge may just be a unique urban phenomenon in the world, if not the universe," says Neil deGrasse Tyson on the planetarium's website. According to Tyson, Manhattanhenge happens because the sun sets at slightly different places on the horizon every day, except for the spring and autumn equinoxes when it sets due west, so twice a year, it lines up perfectly with Manhattan's grid.

If you want to strategically plan where to see the most breathtaking view of Manhattanhenge this weekend, it helps to look at past photos, since the sun's alignment will be about the same from year to year. Here are the best views ever captured on film (or iPhone).