Through a phenomenological and visual approach, I will present Manhattanhenge, a bi-annual celestial phenomena that occurs on the island of Manhattan in New York when the setting sun perfectly aligns with the street grid of the city creating a visually stunning glow of light that radiates through the so called city canyons. Referred to in mainstream media as an "urban ritual" and a must-see, Manhattanhenge has grown in popularity drawing crowds in the trafficked streets of NY hoping to witness the celestial event and snap an iconic picture. This paper will explore this urban contemporary phenomenon, and discuss its symbolic and collective meanings, particularly in relationship to Stonehenge from which it was named after.
Gaia Somasca holds a MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. For her dissertation, she has explored the debate surrounding the broken relationship between Westerners and Nature, conducting fieldwork in New York and exploring possibilities of regenerate this bond in an urban environment. She is an astrologer and sky photographer, and currently, she is an analyst-in-training at the C.G. Jung Institute in New York.