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Manhattanhenge: A Site To See At Sunset


Crowds of New Yorkers lingered in the streets last night to witness one of the most glorious sights in the nation's most populous city. For two days every spring and summer, the sun lines up with Manhattan's street grid to create a sunset framed by skyscrapers. You look westward down 42nd Street or any westbound street and you see the sun at the end of the man-made canyon.


They call this Manhattanhenge. On YouTube, vlogger Erik Conover describes his experience watching it a couple years ago.


ERIK CONOVER: Look at all the people that come to watch this thing. And this is the view looking at the bridge. And this right here, this is the actual Manhattanhenge. Look how amazing this is, this huge fireball right down the canyon of 42nd Street. It's so beautiful.

INSKEEP: Yeah. The name Manhattanhenge is a nod to Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument in England apparently used for sun rituals. During the summer solstice, the sunrise is perfectly framed by those large stone slabs. The same effect happens in Manhattan just four sunsets per year.

GREENE: Although the quality of Manhattanhenge is highly weather dependent. And last night, the clouds were out. On Twitter, @thatguyahmed tweeted a video showing a hazy orange glow and plenty of disappointed people. His caption, quote, "NYC got played."


AHMED GEWILEY-ELBAKLY: So every single one of these folks on this street, on 14th, on 34th, on 57th - all lined up to see a single cloud blocking the whole sunset. This is a mess.

INSKEEP: Luckily, they'll have another chance at 8:12 p.m. sharp tonight when Manhattanhenge is supposed to happen again, although the forecast that I'm looking at calls for clouds once again.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.