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‘Manhattanhenge’ lights up New York City streets

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.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    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.

  • Onlooker:

    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.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    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."

  • Onlooker:

    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.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    This year's view did not disappoint.

  • Onlooker:

    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.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    The next Manhattanhenge won't occur until the spring of 2020, weather permitting.

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