First Manhattanhenge of 2012 Rained Off
Manhattanhenge is an urban phenomenon that occurs twice a year, and sees the sun set in perfect alignment with New York’s grid of roads. This has the effect of illuminating the north and south sides of every cross street – a very pretty photo opportunity, as a Google Image search will attest. Well, it’s pretty when the sun can actually be seen.
Alas and alack, rain clouds spoiled Tuesday night’s viewing. That means Manhattanites only have one more chance this year to catch the rare event. Manhattanhenge 2012, Part II is set to occur on July 12 at 8:25pm EDT.
Apparently, there are two other days this year when the sun will be unusually bright: May 30 at 8:16pm EDT and on July 11 at 8:24pm EDT. However, in neither case is the sun perfectly aligned to the grid.
The term ‘Manhattanhenge’ was invented by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History. Before yesterday’s washout, he had the following advice for those wishing to catch Manhattanhenge (which I guess will work for the July 12 showing as well):
“For best effect, position yourself as far east in Manhattan as possible. But ensure that when you look west across the avenues you can still see New Jersey. Clear cross streets include 14th, 23rd, 34th. 42nd, 57th, and several streets adjacent to them. The Empire State building and the Chrysler building render 34th street and 42nd streets especially striking vistas.”