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Manhattanhenge: The Best Sunset Photo Opportunity in New York  blog image

Manhattanhenge: The Best Sunset Photo Opportunity in New York

May 09 2022

Manhattanhenge is a phenomenon that takes place in Manhattan a couple of times every year, when the setting or rising sun is aligned with the east-west streets in the city. The dates vary each year but happen around the winter and summer solstice with the event taking place over two days.

One of the days will offer a “full sun” and the other a “half sun” – at a half sun event half of the sun is already below the horizon when the sun and streets align. For most people, the full sun event is a better experience – but both are unforgettable.

Setting sun between sky scrappers with traffic on the roads beneath

This year, the summer Manhattanhenge dates are May 29th (half sun), May 30th (full sun), July 12th (full sun), and July 13th (half sun) attracting New Yorkers and visitors to take the “best sunset photo of the year”. As the sun sets, for a very brief moment the rays align with the skyscrapers illuminating them and turning the street and the buildings a brilliant shade of orange with the sun perfectly framed by the buildings.

The term Manhattanhenge was first used in 1997 in the Natural History magazine and is a nod to Stonehenge – the famous prehistoric structure in the United Kingdom that also aligns with the sun at both the winter and summer solstice.

Setting sun with rays between the skyscrappers in new york during manhattanhenge

You can experience the event on 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th streets looking towards New Jersey – but to get a good spot you will need to get there early. The best spots, according to Neil DeGrasse Tyson the Astrophysicist who first coined the term Manhattanhenge, are on 34th and 42nd street “The Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building render 34th Street and 42nd Street especially striking vistas.”

Don’t forget your camera and be conscious of traffic and pedestrians when trying to capture the best shot.

If you’re thinking of visiting New York for Manhattanhenge this year, we still have availability for rooms and apartment style suites for both the May and July events. Learn more about the Hotel Beacon here.