Tuesday night, I spent the evening watching the sunset with about 200 fellow photography aficionados. The occasion was due to a rare event that happens 4 days in the year. Manhattan Solstice aka Manhattan-henge, named after the mythical construct Stone Henge, occurs when the setting sun aligns with the Manhattan city grid. Major streets that stretch east to west allow you see and photograph an incredible view. My fanaticism with this event has stretched back 3 years or so. Last year, my schedule allowed me to participate, but, I would have to wait another year due to the weather. Last night, I was able to view the full sun in all its splendor glide down on 42nd Street.
I arrived around 5:15 in Tudor City, a pretty village like area that stretches 3 blocks overlooking the United Nations. I knew the sun wasn’t due to set until 8:25, but, in order to be in the perfect spot, I was destined to be there early. I was mortified to find at least 15 photographers already staking claims to prime spots.
A steady stream of photographers continued to arrive the entire time I was there. The congregation of photogs were made up of mostly amateur enthusiasts with all kinds of cameras. Film-yes, you read correctly, digital, SLRs, Compacts, Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic-All brands and model types were represented. One person had an camera he created, attached to a ball head with a clamp. He attached it to the guard rail in front of everyone. He connected it to a battery source and with an ethernet cable, controlled it from his laptop some 6 feet away. By the end of the evening his camera was said to have taking over 5000 images of the 5 minute event. I really hope he got the shot.
The time ticked away and new friendships established, Google+ circles increased and business cards exchanged to pass time. When the sun arrived, baited breath was overwhelmed with the fury of shutters firing. It was electric. The moment lasted for a life time-although it was all of 5 minutes. When the sun was completely out of sight, everyone stopped, paused and began to clap. Maybe showing gratitude for the stars visit. I walked away drunk with the moment and partially blind. Last night at 8:25 was your last chance to see the half sun set. 14th,23rd,34th, or 42nd Streets:-pick your spot, you wouldn’t regret or forget it.