Manhattanhenge Photo Opportunity

If you live in New York or will be visiting soon, Manhattanhenge is something you won’t want to miss. For two days every spring and summer, the sunset lines up with the Manhattan grid to create a beautiful display and an incredible photo opportunity.

Manhattan was created on a grid system, with streets that run east and west and avenues that run north and south. Because of the way the sun moves along the horizon throughout the year, there are times when the setting sun lines up perfectly with the east and west running streets in Manhattan.

As the sun sets into the amazing spectacle known as Manhattanhenge, the sun’s golden rays flood the streets of the city and create a glow unlike any other sunset the city has seen.

Regarding last year’s Manhattanhenge, astrophysicist Jackie Faherty from the American Museum of Natural History said, “It’s the best sunset picture of the year that you will have in this beautiful city. Sometimes they call it the ‘Instagram holiday’.”


Photo by Timothy A. Clary

Capture Manhattanhenge photos on these dates:

Tuesday, May 29, 8:13 p.m. EST

Wednesday, May 30, 8:12 p.m. EST

Thursday, July 12, 8:20 p.m. EST

Friday, July 13, 8:21 p.m. EST

Where to be:

The ideal position to be in is facing the west side of Manhattan as the sun sets. This means you will want to be looking down a street, not an avenue. Also, keep in mind that if you would like more buildings shown in your shot, position yourself further east.

Photo by Vanessa Carvalho

Photographer Javan Ng notes that “for the clearest views, it’s best to position yourself on the widest crosstown streets, like 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, and 57th Streets. Remember to look around for famous New York City landmarks to enhance the sense of place in your images. For example you have the Empire State Building on 34th Street, or the Chrysler Building and Times Square on 42nd Street.”

Faherty also states that “you have to be on the grid of Manhattan to see the event. It is all about the angle. If you go off the grid by even a degree you will be out of alignment.”

To take the best photo of the henge, most cameras will do the job. Use a tripod if you plan on utilizing a slow shutter speed. If you are shooting handheld, just increase the ISO so that your photo won’t be blurry.


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