Words by Cameron Higgins
Images by Sydney McDonald
Manhattanhenge: sounds like a post apocalyptic eighties movie about New York, is in fact a rare collaboration between the city and the sky.
For those who don’t know: Manhattanhenge is a celestial event where the sun sets perfectly inline with the east-west streets of Manhattan’s grid. New York always has lit sunsets (literally the only upside to the smog blanket covering the city), but this is the godfather of all New York sunsets. The flaming disc sinks perfectly between the pillar-like skyscrapers and coats the city in a stupidly beautiful urban alpenglow. Last night, the sun was perfectly bisected by the buildings on looker’s left. Tonight will be the full Monty: the whole sun will slide down the throat between buildings before getting swallowed by Jersey.
Dubbed Manhattanhenge by the world’s cuddliest astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the event conjures images of the solstice at Stonehenge. Even if you were living in the Stone Age, you’d know what Stonehenge was, so no explanation necessary there. Stonehenge is purported to be a kind of ancient British solar calendar, primarily because of the way the year’s solstices and equinoxes line up perfectly with the ancient structure’s apertures.
Stonehenge, Manhattanhenge, you already dig. Neil’s a smart guy.
Manhattanhenge a spectacle in a city full of spectacles. It’s beautiful, truly, but perhaps the most interesting thing about the event are the perpetually sidewalk-watching New Yorkers crowding the streets for a selfie, a romantic smoke break, the experience etcetera, and craning their necks upward toward one of Manhattan’s scarcest pieces of real-estate: the sky.
It’s a sun-starved city’s pleasant homage to the sphere of fire that makes life on Earth possible.
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