When New York City's planners were laying out a grid system for Manhattan’s streets in the 19th Century, they probably didn’t think much about all the streets lining up with the setting sun. But twice a year, New York City’s densest borough has its streets, which run roughly east/west, bathed by the fiery light of the setting sun. The normally shadowed concrete canyons get an equal dose of the sun on both sides of the street, clear from the Hudson River to the East River.
"This year, to catch the sunset, the perfect alignment occurs on May 29th and again on July 12th."
Unlike the planning that went into the prehistoric site of Stonehenge, Manhattanhenge is more like a by-product of the grid-straight streets from 14th Street north and the ambitious builders of Midtown Manhattan.
This year, to catch the sunset, the perfect alignment occurs on May 29th (hey, that’s today!) and again (second chance) on July 12th. Also, on May 30th and July 11th, you can catch the full ball of the sun, just above the horizon, framed by the street’s buildings.
The best views are on the wide unobstructed streets, from 14th Street to 57th Street, such as 34th Street (hey, that’s where B&H is). Tonight, the sun will set at 8:18 p.m.; so get out there before that, and get set up with your camera. Head to the east to get more of the street in your shots, and wait for the light.