Manhattanhenge 2023: what is the New York spectacle, who coined the term and when does it happen next?
The world famous concrete jungle framed the marvellous scene of the setting sun on Tuesday
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Not too often do New Yorkers have the chance to enjoy a true sunny spectacle like Manhattanhenge, a time when the concrete city's famous - but sinking - streets fit a perfect frame for the marvellous setting sun.
Residents did just that starting on Monday (29 May) when only half of the sun was in view. Yet on Tuesday (30 May), the full sun was on display casting a majestic glow across the New York grid system.
The biannual phenomenon drew thousands of onlookers, including locals and tourists. They clamoured for the opportunity to capture the perfect Instagram-esque image.
But what is the phenomenon of Manhattanhenge, who coined the term and when is it expected to happen next? Here's what you need to know.
What is Manhattanhenge and when does it typically occur?
The event normally occurs whenever the setting sun perfectly aligns with Manhattan's skyscrapers, all of which were constructed on the city's street grid system. Manhattanhenge is very similar to that of the Stonehenge event in the UK that usually marks the summer solstice ceremony.
It is not the only city that celebrates a 'henge' phenomena, as other locations with similarly structure-filled skylines and long straight streets, like Chicago, Toronto and Montreal, also mark the occasion.
Manhattanhenge happens every May and July and for two nights on each separate instance, three weeks before the summer solstice and three weeks after. While there is also a sunrise version of the event that typically takes place in the wintertime.
How was the term coined?
The term 'Manhattanhenge' was first coined by world famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in 1997. He was inspired by the event in Stonehenge, which is a display of when the sun is in alignment with the circle of vertical stones to mark a solstice.
DeGrasse Tyson explained: "As a kid, I visited Stonehenge in the Salisbury Plain of England and did research on other stone monuments across the British Isles, it was deep within me. So I was, in a way, imprinted by the emotional power that terrestrial alignments with the Sun can have on a culture or civilisation."
When does Manhattanhenge happen next?
As the May iteration of Manhattanhenge has come and gone, this means that New Yorkers will not need to wait long at all to bask in the spectacle once again. This is because it is expected to light up the city from 8.20pm on 12 July and 8.21pm on 13 July local time.
To catch the spectacle, viewers should aim to be head as east as possible, above 14th Street and below 155th Street. Below are the best areas to view Manhattanhenge, as recommended by The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation:
- 57th Street
- 42nd Street
- 34th Street
- 23rd Street
- 14th Street