Friday, 24 August 2012


I recollect a summer vacation in New York City a few years ago and witnessing a stunning sunset as it aligned with the city’s uniform grid, framed by Manhattan’s vertical sky rises. People took to the streets blocking traffic to photo the astrological urban phenomenon.

Every year Manhattan’s distinct uniform grid layout (as does any city with this patterned master plan) lends itself to becoming an astrological calendar. Sunsets begin around May and last for a few months, on a clear night the uncluttered western horizon of NY provides the perfect backdrop to this spectacle.  Over the years it has become something of mini solstice gathering, with the public halting the city’s incessant movement for a few moments to witness an everyday wonder that so often gets forgotten and missed in an urban context.
These spontaneous gatherings, not organised or corporately funded, occurring in the one the world’s busiest metropolises, in a place not designated for public crowds is poignant. It reminds of the importance and innate wonder of sharing such an experience. The ancients recognised this and deliberately utilised it for worship, politics, and to disseminate ideals. In contemporary society, our busy lives and fragmented cities obscure, much of the natural phenomena we unconsciously yearn for. When however these same cities unexpectedly assist a natural spectacle, we are forced to stop and reflect. The urban henge reminds us all of our shared cosmological journey and thus serves as an important opportunity for human connection.

Thanks to for reminding me of this event.


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