The only time Astoria’s Kenneth Chin satisfactorily documented Manhattanhenge was in Long Island City in 2016, when he jumped really high over viewers’ heads and clicked a picture mid-air.
Since then, he has tried to photograph the phenomenon where the sun can be seen setting perfectly in alignment with Manhattan’s street grid — a view that has remained elusive for the past two years due to overcast skies.
Refusing to be deterred again, Chin embarked on a bicycle ride Wednesday along Manhattan’s busy 42nd Street with a GoPro strapped to his head, sporting a reflective, high visibility vest to avoid getting hit by cars. He had decided to ride toward the sunset, past loudly-honking cars and selfie-taking crowds flooding the street.
“I wouldn’t call myself religious, but it was very revealing,” Chin said of the experience, sitting at the Tudor City overpass where he first began his journey. “There is something special about this world that you can enjoy something as beautiful as this twice every year.”
Wednesday marked 2018’s first Manhattanhenge, a biannual event that is set to occur next on July 12, according to the American Museum of National History.
Chin’s video (begin at 2:42 for GoPro footage), uploaded to his YouTube channel, shows a cop warning him to go slowly and look out for pedestrians, scores of people flooding into the street with cameras and phones held high as the street light turns red, and cars honking as he rides toward what looks like a bright abyss on the west side of Manhattan.
A cycling enthusiast, Chin called the chaos of Manhattanhenge crowds “soothing,” adding that it was gratifying to see the sun illuminate the people’s faces looking “more and more awed” by the experience. Even though clouds marred the Manhattanhenge view this year, he deemed the ride to be spiritual.
“It was remarkable,” Chin said.