In New York City, a modern-day version of Stonehenge is a delight for residents and visitors alike. It happens only four days a year, when the sunset aligns with Manhattan’s street grid, turning high rises into canyon walls with a sunset perfectly in the center. It’s called “Manhattanhenge,” and lasts just a few minutes, when thousands try to capture the perfect photo. Hari Sreenivasan has more.
In New York City, a modern day version of Stonehenge is a delight for residents and visitors alike. It's aptly called Manhattanhenge and it lasts for just a few minutes, if the weather cooperates — which this year it did.
Thousands run onto the busy streets of New York City to try and capture a rare and dazzling moment. It happens only four days a year when the sunset aligns with Manhattan's street grid, turning the city's high rises into canyon walls with a sunset perfectly in the center. The goal for those out in the streets is that perfect photo.
It is almost spiritual. I've waited too many years to see that. It actually sets exactly in the middle of the street. I didn't expect that but it was very, very nice.
More than 200 years ago, the architects who designed Manhattan streets decided to use a grid system with avenues running north and south and streets east to west. As the earth tilts along its axis, the sun eventually is positioned in the perfect place for a sunset view on some of the city's widest streets. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson came up with a name for what happens every year similar to the annual solstice sighting at England's Stonehenge. He dubbed it "Manhattanhenge."
Since we learned about the phenomenon, since Neil deGrasse Tyson named it, we've been following it and so we've been trying to time trips to be here when it happens.
This year's view did not disappoint.
We were here three years ago, and we didn't get a successful sunset. It was just cloudy right at the last moment, but tonight it was pretty good.
The next Manhattanhenge won't occur until the spring of 2020, weather permitting.
Watch the Full Episode
Hari Sreenivasan joined the PBS NewsHour in 2009. He is the Anchor of PBS NewsHour Weekend and a Senior Correspondent for the nightly program.
Support Provided By:
Subscribe to Here’s the Deal, our politics newsletter for analysis you won’t find anywhere else.
Thank you. Please check your inbox to confirm.
Additional Support Provided By: