The sight in the New York sky will take place at at 8:20 p.m. ET on July 11 and at 8:21 p.m. ET on July 12.
Something special happens in New York City a few days a year: the sun aligns perfectly and, for a few moments, creates an almost magical spectacle of light between iconic buildings in the skyline known as Manhattanhenge.
It happens during sunset and only on a few select blocks on a few select days, but viewers who catch the spectacular display are in for a treat. One of several special night sky events this month, Manhattanhenge is only visible for a few minutes and people who want to see it should arrive early before the sunset.
“For the best views of Manhattanhenge, head to a sidewalk on a major Manhattan cross street that runs from west to east with unobstructed views,” the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation wrote on its website. “Face west towards the sunset. Don’t forget your camera — go further east to get the best shot!”
This is everything people need to know to get the best view — and best Instagram photo — of Manhattanhenge.
What is Manhattanhenge?
Manhattanhenge is a phenomenon that occurs when the sun perfectly aligns with the buildings in New York City to create the effect that it is setting equally on both sides of the street. New York City is uniquely laid out with a grid system that looks directly onto a clear view of the horizon (the Hudson River offers this on the West side), according to the American Museum of Natural History.
"And tall buildings that line the streets create a vertical channel to frame the setting Sun, creating a striking photographic opportunity," the museum wrote. "So Manhattanhenge may just be a unique urban phenomenon in the world, if not the universe."
When will Manhattanhenge occur?
Manhattanhenge only happens four times each year. This year, the first two occurrences were on May 29 and May 30, but people can catch it again on Monday, July 11 (for a full sun view), and Tuesday, July 12 (for a half-sun view), according to the Parks Department. The best time to view it will be at 8:20 p.m. ET on July 11 and at 8:21 p.m. ET on July 12.
"Manhattanhenge lasts for only a few minutes at sunset — get there early!" the Parks Department wrote.
Where can you see Manhattanhenge?
The phenomenon is based on how the sun aligns with New York City’s grid system and tall buildings. The best places to view it are from Manhattan’s east-west oriented streets: 14 Street, 23 Street, 34 Street, 42 Street, and 57 Street.
Sun watchers can also catch the spectacular sunset from the Tudor City Overpass in Manhattan, and from Hunter's Point South Park in Long Island City, Queens.