Manhattanhenge: A Unique Bi-Annual Photo Op for New Yorkers

Twice per year something really cool happens: the stars, or rather one particular star, aligns with the grid of streets running through Manhattan island, offering photographers and astronomers alike an opportunity to go out and snap a few very unique and very cool photos. On May 29th (today) and July 12th of this year (it varies a bit each year) the sun sets in perfect alignment with the Manhattan grid. It’s known as “Manhattanhenge“. On those specific days, when the sun sets, you will see half of the glowing orb above and half below the horizon — although you can still get some cool, though not quite as perfect, photos on the days before and after.

Keep in mind that this sort of thing isn’t limited to Manhattan. The days will vary, but any city laid out in a grid will offer this special photo op a couple times per year. It won’t be quite as perfect as Manhattanhenge because of Manhattan’s clear view of the horizon past the grid, but us non-New Yorkers will take what we can get.

Manhattanhenge (via Hayden Planetarium)

Image credit: Manhattanhenge by 4rilla, manhattanhenge by lorenzo please, Manhattanhenge by GRI SHA, Manhattanhenge on 34th Street by numbphoto – Landscapes from the inner mind, and Manhattanhenge by sahadeva

  • Michaelangelorivera8888

    any particular street? 

  • Michaelangelorivera8888

    any particular street? 

  • Seth Christie

    All of the east west streets.

  • Guest

    above 14th

  • Slash_Cynic


  • rtfe

    big deal, there’s an instagram filter that does it to any city street

  • muitosabao


    astrologist – someone who predicts the future by the positions of the planets and sun and Moon
    forecaster, predictor, prognosticator, soothsayer – someone who makes predictions of the future (usually on the basis of special knowledge)

    I don’t think this was what you meant?

  • muitosabao

    Very insightful comment. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Michał Jaszewski

    Well it was a total fail today. I went to the bridge on 1st ave and 42nd, and it was packed. Went down to 2nd ave and 42nd, got to know the cops, so they didn’t mind me standing in the middle of the street, but too much clouds, and the sun was not visible at all.

  • Stu Marks

    How cool. Anyone not getting this doesn’t appreciate, the math involved nor the historical relevance of Stonehenge etc. Getting the location just right + coming up with a unique application of the concept so you make it “yours” + planning for the next event; all so cool.

    The same can be done with any grid pattern like tall corn rows, etc. But the concrete monoliths that New York has, so echoes the Stonehenge constructs made of stone.

    Thanks for this.

  • BongoLosAngeles

    Astronomers, not astrologists.

  • 9inchnail

    I wouldn’t have noticed this myself but yeah, you’re right, he propably means astronomers.

  • 9inchnail

     Yeah, the freemasons did a really good job there.

  • Michael Zhang

    Haha, thanks for catching that :)

  • Michael Zhang

    Thanks :)

  • ajw93

    Here’s a small copy edit:  bi-annual = every two years.  Semi-annual = twice a year.

  • Michael Zhang

    Hmmm… I think it’s correct. “Biannual” is twice a year, and “Biennial” is every two years.

  • muitosabao

    no prob. I studied  astronomy in college, and we tend to be very touchy-feely about his common mix-up ;)

  • ajw93

    Hmph, you’re right! Sorry. I have never actually heard the word “biannual.”  I meant “biennial.”

    Shutting up now.