By Kimberly Simmons
If you are in New York tonight, be thankful the theaters are dark, because at dusk the sky will take center stage and create the phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge.
Manhattanhenge, a term coined by Neil de Grasse Tyson from the Hayden Planetarium, is one of the most beautiful ways to see the city interact with Mother Nature. If you look west (according to Manhattan’s grid which is not a true “East-West”) at about 8:25 p.m. tonight the setting sun will perfectly nestle itself between the buildings of Manhattan’s skyline.
The biannual occurrence, based on the sun’s alignment at Stonehenge for the spring equinox, will take place tonight and tomorrow night (July 12th and 13th, 2011). Although New York’s tall buildings often make you forget about the sunset, this unobstructed view is one New York sundown you’ll always remember.
As you would expect, the best viewing locations in the city are the major cross streets in Manhattan (57th Street, 42nd Street, 34th Street, 23rd Street, and 14th Street). The further east you are located, the more dramatic the view, which makes the bridge in Tudor City (1st Avenue and 42nd Streets) a popular location for photographers and viewers alike.
If you are outside Manhattan but still want to glimpse the phenomenon, make your way to Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens, where the sun can be seen searing through the city.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
But really, whether you are in Manhattan or across the East River, almost any street will do. Just remember to look towards New Jersey at dusk and enjoy this unique New York minute.
Photo: Brian Collins/2011 Traveler Photo Contest