Lonely Planet Writer

When and where to check out this year’s Manhattanhenge in New York

Each year, Manhattanhenge lights up New York in a magical glow for a few brief sunsets, drawing crowds of people eager to see – and photograph – the event.  So if you want to glimpse this year’s phenomenon yourself, start planning a summer trip to the Big Apple.

Photographers gather on the Tudor City Place overpass to capture the Manhattenhenge looking across 42nd Street in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, USA.
Photographers gather on the Tudor City Place overpass to capture the Manhattenhenge looking across 42nd Street in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, USA. Image by Zoran Milich/Getty Images

The best dates to get a glimpse of the sun as it sets in perfect alignment with New York streets have been posted by the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Manhattanhenge is a term coined and copyrighted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and a reference to Stonehenge, the ancient English monoliths that align with the sun at the summer solstice – often drawing huge crowds of people to celebrate.

While New York’s version doesn’t occur with the changing of the seasons, twice a year in Manhattan the setting sun is framed by the surrounding skyscrapers.

The best way to see it is to get as far east in Manhattan as possible, but ensuring that when you look west you can still see New Jersey, according to the museum’s website. They advise hitting up 4th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th streets, noting that the Empire State building and Chrysler building make for great views at 34th and 42nd.

The full sun on the grid will be visible on Tuesday, 30 May at 8:12 pm EDT and Wednesday, 12 July at 8:20 EDT. The half of the sun will be visible on Monday, 29 May at 8:13 pm EDT and Thursday, 13 July at 8:21 pm EDT.

If you want to learn more about Manhattanhenge, the American Museum of Natural History will hold an event on 30 May, where astrophysicist Jackie Faherty will discuss the event at the Hayden Planetarium at 7 pm.