“Manhattanhenge”, when the sun aligns between New York’s skyscrapers

For a few minutes of Instagrammable spectacle: Hundreds of New Yorkers and tourists came out on Tuesday evening to admire, mobile phones at arm’s length, the perfectly aligned setting sun between the rows of skyscrapers that cross the island of Manhattan smart appearance .

At 8:12 p.m., as expected, forming an orange ball in the still blue sky of New York, before disappearing into the distance, at the end of an east-west axis drawn by the streets of Manhattan Rose 42nd is running from Times Square.

People use their mobile phones to photograph “Manhattanhenge”, the moment the sun aligns between the rows of skyscrapers that cross Manhattan Island, May 30, 2023 in New York (AFP – Ed Jones)

“It’s a spectacular event. And it’s a totally New York moment,” said Janet Wolfson, a science teacher from Long Island, an island east of New York, the next day to take photos to show her students. And remind them that unlike visual effects, “it’s not the sun that sets, it’s the earth that turns and goes from light to dark”, smiles the 47-year-old teacher.

The event attracts many photographers equipped with telephoto lenses, as well as tourists and New Yorkers who do not hesitate to stop in the street, affecting the ubiquitous traffic of SUVs, yellow taxis and bicycle delivery men that make up the landscape. . Big Apple’s.

– “Something Unique” –

A man in disguise crossing the street in New York on May 30, 2023
A disguise crosses a street in New York during “Manhattanhenge” on May 30, 2023, when the setting sun aligns between the rows of skyscrapers that cross Manhattan Island (AFP – Ed Jones)

Camera around his neck, photographer Patrick Batchelder, 59, assures us that “the people” are what matter. “The photo itself isn’t that important. It’s in the middle of the crowd, and it’s fun to see something unique in New York”, states the regular.

This event occurs four times a year, for two days, approximately three to four weeks before and after the summer and winter solstices. Its name is “Manhattanhenge”, an allusion to Stonehenge, the great megalithic monument in the south of England, crossed in the center by the Sun during the summer and winter solstices.

In New York, according to a checkerboard plan of the island of Manhattan drawn in 1811, the city is laid out like a grid between 14th and 155th Streets.

The setting sun sets between the rows of skyscrapers that line Manhattan Island, once known as
The setting sun between the rows of skyscrapers criss-crossing Manhattan Island, known as “Manhattanhenge” on May 30, 2023

On its website, the New York Museum of Natural History recommends taking advantage of “Manhattanhenge” on 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd or 57th Streets when “the city frames the sunset”, as summarized by its astrophysicist, Neill. told in DeGrasse Tyson.

Those who missed out on Tuesday evening will be able to try their luck again on July 12.

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