In recent years people have made a big deal of “Manahattanhenge,” the otherwise astronomically insignificant day when the rising or setting sun happens to line up with the Manhattan street grid.
But there is another street grid in this city that lines up with the rising and setting sun at a no less astronomically auspicious time than the summer and winter solstices. I’m referring to the street grid that begins on Garfield Place in Park Slope and extends down to Windsor Place/Sherman Street in Windsor Terrace.
The angle of the east-west streets is slightly different starting with Carroll Street to the north, and Prospect Avenue to the South. But those in between and on the Park Slope side of the terminal moraine will find the sun setting straight down the street on the summer solstice. For those on the Windsor Terrace side, the sunrise was right down the street on the winter solstice. It was about that time last year that I figured this out, following my curiosity and messing around with this site, and went out and checked.
I can’t help but suspect this wasn’t an accident. Why does the street grid have a slightly different angle starting on Garfield Place? But then why did they change the angle further south? This street grid, one of two big ones in Brooklyn (there are many smaller ones including some village street systems) extends all the way down to the southern reaches of Bensonhurst, but at a slightly different angle. Perhaps at some point the Freemasons lost power in Brooklyn. Or the city fathers were concerned that with the druidic implications of a street grid lined up with the solstice, too many Celtic types were moving in. So they altered the grid to no longer match the solstices.
In any event the summer solstice is a great time to toast the setting sun in Park Slope. Someone decided to set this spectacle up, so folks might as well appreciate it. Us early to bed, early to rise folks on the other side of the terminal morraine in Windsor Terrace can capture the view and sunrise in late December.