Done Stonehenge? Get Set For Manhattenhenge

The ponchos are in the wash, the 34 minor incidents have been recorded, the four cans of scrumpy per person have been consumed and recycled, and English Heritage has breathed a sigh of relief and locked the gates of Stonehenge against protesters and other undesireables for another year. Yes, that’s it, the summer solstice is now over.

Unless you live in New York, that is. Druids, hippies, and (probably) bored, unemployed bankers and thespians will descend on Manhatten for “Manhattenhenge” – the most important date in the Druid New Yorker’s calendar. The Manhattan Solstice happens twice a year, when the sun aligns with 42nd and 34th (and some other streets).

The term was coined by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. He explains:

“What will future civilizations think of Manhattan Island when they dig it up and find a carefully laid out network of streets and avenues? Surely the grid would be presumed to have astronomical significance, just as we have found for the pre-historic circle of large vertical rocks known as Stonehenge, in the Salisbury Plain of England. For Stonehenge, the special day is the summer solstice, when the Sun rises in perfect alignment with several of the stones signaling the change of season.”

Dates and times for this year’s solstices are:

Half Sun on the grid:
Saturday, May 30 8:17 P.M. EDT
Sunday, July 12 8:25 P.M. EDT

Full Sun on the grid:
Sunday, May 31 8:17 P.M. EDT
Saturday, July 11 8:25 P.M. EDT

Get yourself down to the east ends of 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd or 57th street, to get the best view.