New Yorkers flocked to all corners of the city Monday afternoon to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse, a rare opportunity to watch the moon cross between the sun and the Earth.
The full solar eclipse will be visible across the country from Oregon to South Carolina for the first time since 1918. While New York doesn’t fall in its “path of totality,” people packed cultural institutions, parks and other shared spaces to watch the moon cover 70 percent of the sun.
“Any time there’s an event that happens to get the public excited ... that’s fantastic,” said Cecilia Almeida, 38, an administrator with the Pratt Institute. “How often do people get together to look at the sun for a science event? It’s remarkable.”
Almeida, a Fort Greene resident and member of the Amateur Astronomers Association, brought a telescope to a viewing event at Pioneer Works, a cultural and scientific workspace in Red Hook.
Pioneer Works teamed up with the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York for the viewing party, complete with telescopes and about 200 viewing glasses for attendees.
Over at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Stuart McNiell, the museum’s manager of family and public engagement, said they handed out 500 eclipse glasses within 20 minutes.
For those who didn’t get a pair, the intrepid is broadcasting NASA’s live feed in the museum as well as a feed from their own 4-inch refractor telescope on the flight deck.
“Solar eclipses are not once in a lifetime events,” McNiell said. “However something like this where it actually goes across the American continent ... hasn’t happened since 1918.”
Thousands of people waited on long lines outside the American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center to get a chance to view the eclipse from its terrace.
The museum’s stock of free glasses went quickly as people braved the steamy temperatures and staked out a spot.
Logan Campbell, 5, was ready, excitedly clutching his eclipse glasses.
“We’re looking at the sun and the moon,” he said.” The moon is going to cover the sun.”
Campbell’s mother, Rachel, said she took the day off so her son could experience the eclipse.
“He is particularly interested in the solar system,” she said. “And he is asking about the moon, so I thought it would be a special thing for him to see.”
On Sunday, Americans across the country obsessively checked weather forecasts for cloudy skies. Last-minute shoppers in New York lined up at camera stores to buy a pair of viewing glasses to catch the celestial event.
The next time a solar eclipse will be visible in the city is April 8, 2024, with 90 percent obscuration, according to the mayor’s office. The next full solar eclipse in New York will take place on May 1, 2079.
With Ivan Pereira, Alison Fox and Lisa L. Colangelo