Manhattanhenge 2024 – All You Need to Know About New York City’s Famous Natural Phenomenon 

Get ready for one of NYC’s most spectacular celestial events – Manhattanhenge 2024! It’s amazing that I still remember the time when the event was not so popular and most people were asking me what I was taking photos of in the middle of the street. These days prepare for the crowds that stop entire traffic 5-10 minutes around that exact moment when the sun perfectly aligns with Manhattan grid. It lasts a short while but it is so worth it. Below I will provide you with all the information you need to prepare yourself for this absolutely amazing phenomenon. 

What is Manhattanhenge 2024?

This unique event occurs when the sun sets in perfect alignment with the east-west streets of Manhattan’s grid system. The sun’s rays travel parallel to the streets, illuminating the urban landscape with a breathtaking glow.

The name “Manhattanhenge” was coined by Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History, combining “Manhattan” with Stonehenge – the prehistoric monument aligned with the solstices.

When is Manhattanhenge 2024?

On four evenings this year, the setting sun will perfectly align with Manhattan’s east-west street grid, creating a stunning glow across the urban landscape. Mark your calendars for these magical dates:

  • Wednesday, May 29th at 8:13 PM (Full Sun)
  • Thursday, May 30th at 8:14 PM (Half Sun)
  • Friday, July 12th at 8:20 PM (Full Sun)
  • Saturday, July 13th at 8:21 PM (Half Sun)

Prime Viewing Locations

The most popular viewing spots include:

  • 14th Street & Broadway
  • 23rd Street & Broadway
  • 34th Street & 5th Avenue
  • 42nd Street & 3rd Avenue
  • 57th Street & 8th Avenue

These locations offer unobstructed views of the sun setting along the city’s iconic streets. There is also a sunrise Manhattanhenge which is a lot less popular and not nearly as crowded.

Tips for the Best Experience

Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before sunset, but an hour or more is recommended to secure a good spot (remember there will a lot of people gathering on these streets for the same purpose). Bring a tripod and telephoto lens to capture the perfect shot. If you plan to shoot content from Tudor City overpass (42nd St) and you want the best spot possible, you might have to show up 4-5 hours in advance. Yes, there are some people who will be there that early. Check the weather forecast and aim for clear skies to fully enjoy the stunning visual display. With a little preparation, you’re sure to have an unforgettable Manhattanhenge experience in 2024. 

How to shoot the Manhattanhenge Sunset?

When it comes to photographing Manhattanhenge Sunset, preparation is key. Use these tips to help you capture the best shots of this stunning annual event in 2024:

Choose the Right Location

  • Stake out your spot on one of the prime east-west streets like 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, or 57th for the clearest views.
  • Arrive at least an hour before sunset to secure a good vantage point.

Bring the Proper Gear

  • Use a tripod to steady your camera when using a telephoto lens or to capture time lapses.
  • Bring a wide-angle lens to frame the cityscape, and a telephoto lens to zoom in on the sun’s alignment.

Adjust Your Camera Settings

  • Shoot in aperture priority mode with f-stop f/9 or higher and use a low ISO setting of 100-400 to capture sharp images while minimizing the noise. If you want to go for a starburst sun effect, choose aperture closer to f/16.

Focus on the Details

  • Include iconic New York landmarks like the Empire State Building or Chrysler Building to give your Manhattanhenge photos a true sense of place.

With a little planning and the right photographic techniques, you’ll be able to capture the magic of Manhattanhenge Sunset. Just be sure to arrive early, dress for the weather, and get creative with your composition. The results will be well worth it.

Fun Facts

  • The best viewing spots are as far east as possible with clear cross-streets like 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th Streets.
  • Manhattanhenge happens twice a year, once in late May and again in mid-July, due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis.
  • During the peak moments, photographers flock to capture the sun’s rays framed perfectly by Manhattan’s towering skyscrapers.

Don’t miss this dazzling display of the cosmos meeting the concrete jungle! Let me know in the comments if you are planning to see Manhattanhenge this year or already have seen it. Happy photographing and I look forward to seeing your content out there. 

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