Stargazing in the City That Never Sleeps

By Raphael Pallais of The Plaza
May 11, 2012 | New York, United States
Stargazing in the City That Never Sleeps
Photo by Kiersten Chou

When people talk about stargazing in New York, they usually mean spotting celebrities. But the city offers some amazing opportunities to gaze upon the real thing — the stars, the planets and all things celestial!

Every Tuesday (weather permitting) the Amateur Astronomers Association sets up telescopes atop the High Line, near The Standard hotel, at dusk. Strolling the High Line at twilight is always a magical experience — the crowds are a little thinner, and the city’s lights begin to twinkle all around. But all this “light pollution” doesn’t completely obscure the glories of the night sky. And fortunately the members of the AAA are eager to guide visitors as they peer through their telescopes.

The astronomy group hosts viewing nights all over the city, too, from Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. On June 5, they’ll host a viewing of Venus passing directly between the Earth and the Sun — a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I’m told. (Location to be announced.) Meanwhile, Cullman Hall of the Universe at the Museum of Natural History will show a live simulcast of Venus’ movement from the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii.

Of course, whether it’s rain or shine, you can always visit the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater. On May 29, you can view the sky “around the world in 60 minutes,” from inverted star patterns south of the equator to the midnight sun of the polar regions.