Last week I got to see a phenomenon unique to Manhattan - a singular time of year when the setting sun aligns with the grid of Manhattan streets and shines right through the cross streets of the city. It's a incredible sight to see, not only because the sun seems to magically appear exactly where you're looking, but because the photographers gather for hours (hours!) beforehand at their chosen cross streets. I had scouted out the Tudor City Bridge at 42nd Street and First Avenue as my prime viewing spot earlier that day and was surprised to see photographers camped out at the spot at 2 in the afternoon!
When the sun appeared from the left, coasting down to the right, we all clamored to get that perfect shot - for those few seconds that the sun was actually in the middle of the space between the buildings. I was craning over the shoulders of the two rows of photographers in front of me, and only really got a few shots of the sun in the very middle. I had a friend with me, who kept telling me to appreciate the moment and stop taking photos for a second. She was right. The sun was huge, and orange, and magnificent. And it looked so much better with the naked eye than through my camera lens.
In the end, the shots that show the sun in a blur make it much easier to see the perfect central placement of the sun on the grid as it sets.
So cool, right? By the way, Manhattanhenge also occurs twice during the year as the sun rises. I'd like to say I'm going to make it up for that, but the sunrise version of Manhattanhenge falls in the wintertime (December and January), so it's going to take some serious motivation to get me up before sunrise.
When we turned around after our sunset photos, we were faced with a full moon rising over the East River. And yes, that long tripod below is holding a tiny camera!
Manhattanhenge, I can't wait to see you again next year!