Manhattanhenge 2023: Everything you need to know

New York, New York - New York's very own annual astrological phenomenon is just around the corner: Manhattanhenge. Here's everything you need to know the best cosmic event in NYC!

Everything you need to know about Manhattanhenge 2023!
Everything you need to know about Manhattanhenge 2023!  © 123rf/ edichenphoto

Twice a year, the sun hits the New York City grid at exactly the right place to be a photographer's dream: smack dab between the buildings of Manhattan and half above and half below the horizon.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson discovered and named the phenomena Manhattanhenge after Britain's Stonehenge landmark, back in the early aughts. This spectacular event occurs annually a couple of weeks before and after the summer solstice. When it does, the sun aligns with the east-west streets and illuminates the north and south sides of every street in Manhattan.

Here's what you need to know about when and where to view Manhattanhenge this year!

When is Manhattanhenge 2023?

Contrary to its other nickname, the Manhattan solstice, Manhattanhenge doesn't coincide with the earth's equinoxes, and it's visible for more than one day.

In fact, there are four opportunities to view Manhattanhenge every summer. All you need to do is choose if you want to catch a glimpse of the half the sun "sitting" on the city streets or the full ball of fire between the buildings.

In 2023, Manhattanhenge takes place between May 29-July 13, as Neil deGrasse Tyson writes on the American Museum of Natural History's website. The "Manhattanhenge Effect" occurs between the grid of the city as the Sun is low and setting, but to see it, the skies will have to be cloud-free.

To see half of the Sun on the New York City grid, head out on Monday, May 29, 2023, at 8:13 PM ET and/or on Thursday, July 13, 2023, at 8:21 PM ET.

If you're looking for the Sun's full glory on the grid, then you'll need to head out on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, at 8:12 PM ET and/or Wednesday, July 12, 2023, at 8:20 PM ET.

Manhattanhenge isn't visible from every city street in Manhattan, even though New York appears to be a perfect grid, so where you try to watch this special sunset matters.

Where to see Manhattanhenge 2023?

This is the view from 42nd street in New York City.
This is the view from 42nd street in New York City.  © 123rf/deberarr

As this phenomenon is all about how the Sun hits different parts of the New York City street grid, the view is better from some streets than others.

The best streets for viewing are:

  • 14th Street
  • 23rd Street
  • 34th Street
  • 42nd Street
  • 57th Street

But it's not just the street that matters, per Tyson. You want to choose a spot as far east as possible from which you can still see New Jersey across the Hudson River. Other good viewing areas include Tudor City Overpass, Manhattan, and Hunter's Point South Park in Long Island City, Queens.

You could also head to the American Museum of Natural History. The museum's new extension, which opened last Thursday, boasts a large glass facade designed precisely for viewing Manhattanhenge.

Happy Manhattanhenge 2023 viewing! May the sky be clear and your pics stunning.

Cover photo: 123rf/ edichenphoto

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