Monday, July 15, 2019


Annamaria on 14th Street

Sunset on Manhattanhenge

To calibrate the relationship of the earth to the sun, the English have this:

We New Yorkers have this:

When the Commissioners' Plan of 1811 laid out midtown Manhattan, they set the grid 29 degrees clockwise from true east-west.

Still twice a year the streets line up with the sunrise and twice a year with the sunset, which can be pretty spectacular if the weather cooperates.

New York's favorite astrophysicist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson named the phenomenon Manhattanhenge, and each year it attracts more and more NYC denizens and tourists to enjoy the sunset view.  This year on July 12th, the evening was clear, and we gawkers stopped the traffic on 14th Street:

Meanwhile, in another part of the solar system, the moon was nestling on the steeple of nearby Grace Church:

Closeup of the above


  1. What a fabulous sight, Annamaria. I remember standing in Key West watching the most amazing sunset. But, just as the last of it dipped below the horizon and a moment of silent reflection was called for, people started applauding. It reduced the spectacle to a piece of fakery, somehow.

    1. It was, Zoe, as was seeing the church spire holding up the moon, as it were. I have been to sunset beach in Key West. Loving sunrises and sunsets as I do, I had exactly your response. Breathtaking beauty should be about a whole lot more than an excuse to gather with the neighbors and get drunk.

  2. I'm so used to spectacular sunsets from our balcony here on Mykonos, that I've become jaded to them. [NB. Barbara never fails to miss one.] Having said that, the cross-town sunset in Manhattan is beyond spectacular, and I must admit it never hit me before reading your post, Sis, that it's a calibrated event! Thanks.