Our Community. Our Nation. Our World.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Manhattanhenge Brightens This Memorial Day Weekend

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

There's a little something special to celebrate this Memorial Day weekend if you happen to be in New York City. Manhattanhenge, it's called. For two days, twice a year, on either side of the summer solstice, the setting sun perfectly aligns with the city's numbered streets. Those blocks, running east to west on Manhattan's grid, form a corridor, inducing a sunset that bathes the buildings in warm, amber light.

One astrophysicist told The New York Times the phenomenon has a lot to do with how the city was constructed two centuries ago. Jackie Faherty says, in the 1800s, when they made these 90 degree angles, they created a bullseye for the sun to hit. And you may have a henge in your town, too. Chicago, Philly, Boston, Toronto and Montreal all produce henges when the timing is right.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STONEHENGE")

SPINAL TAP: (Singing) Stonehenge, where the demons dwell, where the banshees live and they do live well. Stonehenge, where a man's a man and the children dance to the pipes of Pan. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.