May 30, 2013

Manhattanhenge



Last night was Manhattanhenge, one of the two days of the year when the sunset lines up perfectly with Manhattan's grid.

"What will future civilizations think of Manhattan Island when they dig it up and find a carefully laid out network of streets and avenues? Surely the grid would be presumed to have astronomical significance, just as we have found for the pre-historic circle of large vertical rocks known as Stonehenge, in the Salisbury Plain of England. For Stonehenge, the special day is the summer solstice, when the Sun rises in perfect alignment with several of the stones, signaling the change of season.

For Manhattan, a place where evening matters more than morning, that special day comes twice a year. For 2013 they fall on May 28th, and July 13th, when the setting Sun aligns precisely with the Manhattan street grid, creating a radiant glow of light across Manhattan's brick and steel canyons, simultaneously illuminating both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough's grid. A rare and beautiful sight. These two days happen to correspond with Memorial Day and Baseball's All Star break. Future anthropologists might conclude that, via the Sun, the people who called themselves Americans worshiped War and Baseball." Read more here.

My roommate Kim and I had no desire to go fight the throngs of amateur photographers on 34th St. (apparently one of the best streets to see it on, especially with the Empire State Building), but luckily our street, West 95th, is a cross street with a clear view over the Hudson River.

So we walked down a couple of blocks and snapped some great shorts of the sun setting between the buildings. 




When the sun was all gone, we took a walk down to Riverside Park, and watched the colors change over the Hudson River, punctuated with sailboats and framed by the majestic Washington Bridge. 



I love New York. 


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