Cops Break Up Manhattanhenge Gathering Right At the (Im)perfect Moment

A group of sun-gawkers were blocking traffic on West 79th Street when the authorities decided to end the madness, forcing them to disperse just as Manhattanhenge was hitting its peak. Police told people to leave at 8:10 p.m., says Alex Israel. The sun hit its perfect spot between the buildings at 8:12.

Alex was there to document the anticipation, and the buzzkill, in the photos below.

A similar scene played out on 72nd Street, where a garbage truck pulled in front of people watching the sunset right at 8:10 a.m. “At 72nd Street they decided to back a garbage truck into the middle of the crowd watching the “show” at exactly 8:10,” wrote William, who sent the photo below. “I begged them to wait 2 minutes and was met with complete indifference. This caused the crowd to scramble out into CPW to get a view.” William wasn’t sure who told the truck to drive there, surmising that they might have been connected to a nearby race in Central Park or perhaps were just from a moving company.

NEWS | 24 comments | permalink
    1. EP says:

      What the hell?

    2. Sherman says:

      I’m glad the police are cracking down on these hooligans.

    3. Jason says:

      Hopefully there wasn’t an ambulance trying to get somebody to the hospital at the time because it would be a shame if someone’s life was compromised by people looking to Instagram a selfie with the sun.

      • Chrigid says:

        They would have moved and bunched up at the first siren. You’re worried about ambulances, worry about the corner of Amsterdam & 97th, where JHS wants to build a nursing home: gridlock morning, evening and 3 pm, and now a bike lane.

    4. sdsdsdsdsdf says:

      The streets are for cars, people! They’re not for people! For cars that pay taxes! You might get hit! Safety first. NYPD is on it!

      • Josh says:

        Cars pay taxes? Really? How exactly do they do that? I tried asking my car if it paid its taxes, and how, but it just sat there silently and didn’t respond.

    5. wombatnyc says:

      Cops were in the right – Got out the streets people !. I find the who Manhattanhenge was overrated

      • Cato says:

        — “I find the who[le] Manhattanhenge was overrated.”

        I haven’t seen any ratings of it at all. Who rates it? Where? Why would anyone rate the Sun?


    6. wombatnyc says:


    7. Whatever people inside motor vehicles are doing is automatically more important than what people not in cars are doing.

    8. Ken says:

      Captain Malin has some splainin’ to do.

      • Capt. Malin says:

        Sure. Happy to explain, because I responded to this. First off, we absolutely love Manhattanhenge and always want to reasonably accommodate spectators. The problem was that the spectators took over the ENTIRE street on 79th St. between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. At this point, 79th St. is four total lanes, two lanes east and two lanes west. My supervisors and officers politely asked all spectators to move to the sidewalk, or at least the lane of traffic closest to the sidewalk. This would have meant the two center most lanes would have remained open (one lane going east, and one lane going west). We were met with some resistance – some wanted to occupy the center of the street- and then we begin ordering people out of the middle of the street.

        Look, I get it, it’s a cool spectacle that only happens a few days a year. We try to make a reasonable accommodation for our resident viewers… (We gave them two of the four lanes of traffic!) But at that same time we also had residents who were in taxis, Ubers, and busses just trying to get home from work, and we cannot spontaneously shut down such a busy street at their expense.

        We did not mean to be a “buzzkill,” we are just trying to keep everybody safe and best serve all of our residents. Hope this helps.

    9. Joey says:

      Community policing at its best.

    10. Susan Epler says:

      Why not close the streets for one hour to allow folks to enjoy a special few moments?

      • Cato says:

        — “Why not close the streets for one hour to allow folks to enjoy a special few moments?”

        Or, better still, why not schedule Manhattanhenge for a time when there is not so much vehicular traffic?

        This one does not seem to have been very well planned.

      • Independent says:

        How many other special events would you have the streets be closed for an hour for?

        I wonder how many of the people complaining here are also among those who are most likely to complain from the reverse position, i.e., when stuck in a vehicle delayed by a street closure for a different special event.

    11. jill says:

      I feel safer knowing these people are off the street! LOL
      The police from the 20th precinct say they can’t do anything about the crowd nodding out day and night in front of mcdonald’s on west 71st street, with a school down the block… but seems they can disperse a crowd looking at the sky for a fun event.

    12. Fed Up Pesdestrain says:

      Usually, the police close the street so people can watch. I’m surprised this year they didn’t. However, I was more surprised that people were blatantly blocking traffic. It was crazy.

    13. Dale M Brown says:

      Usually the American Museum Of Natural History closes West 79 Street between Amsterdam and Columbus. This is the first time they haven’t. We had lots of patrol cars on the street – crazy!

    14. Tim says:

      Epitome of self entitlement. “It only happens once a year”…. “we were only in the street for a little while”

      Self entitled people always have plenty of excuses when they decide rules and laws shouldn’t apply to them.

    15. Tina Ley says:

      NYPD got nothing to do so why not harass people trying to get a picture of rare event that happens twice a year #gofightrealcrimeinstead