Manhattan’s north-south roads are not oriented precisely north-south, nor do the east-west roads run exactly east-west. Actually, the entire arrangement is rotated 29 degrees clockwise of the true compass directions. As a result, the phenomenon Neil deGrasse Tyson has dubbed “Manhattanhenge” (when the setting sun sets at the end of the east-west streets, perfectly framed by the buildings) occurs at sunset about 24 days before and after the Summer Solstice (sunrise, on the east side, comes in December and January; much colder, and therefore much less popular). This year, the next occurrence will be July 12, at 8:20pm. Actually, the sunset occurs on the line on July 13, but on the 12th, the full sun will be visible down the street, while on the 13th, the half sun will be visible.
I’ve seen Manhattanhenge live a couple of times, but decided it’s time to share the experience. So, meet me in Bryant Park, near the northwest corner of the lawn, between 6:00 and 7:00 pm on July 12. Heck, bring a picnic dinner, and we’ll make an evening of it. About 7:45, we’ll mosey over toward Times Square, and join the crowds blocking traffic on 42nd Street starting about 8:00.
After communing with this intersection of stellar phenomenon and city planning, we’ll find some place to hang out for the evening: bring suggestions of a bar or restaurant.
For more information on Manhattanhenge: