NEW YORK - To avoid hours of jostling, squeezing, leaning, and crouching with the gaggle of photographers pressed up against the western fence of the Tudor City overpass on Monday afternoon into evening, operating engineer Brian climbed a ladder on the other side of the street to reach his camera atop a nine-foot-tall tripod.
"I don't have to fight for my space. Look at them up there — they're like animals," Brian said. "I'm prepared to go over the top of everybody."
This is what Manhattanhenge does to those who want to capture this twice-a-year moment the sunset aligns perfectly with Manhattan's grid to frame the sinking orb between the glass and steel canyons of buildings.
"Yesterday, I came later so I didn't have any spot," said Sarah, who arrived three hours before sunset on Monday.
Locals report photographers standing atop parked vehicles and tripods chained to the fence overnight to claim real estate for Monday's golden hour.
"They were talking about photography all the time, showing the shots from yesterday," Sarah said. "They were really amazing."
Kate thought the sought-after image sounded cool but also didn't stop to wait for either the sun to set or her bag of ice to melt.
"I live around the corner but I did not know this was a thing," she said.
The weather stymied Brian's two previous attempts at a photo of peak Manhattanhenge.
"I've never caught one," Brian said.
Museum of Natural History astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson named the phenomenon Manhattanhenge two-plus decades ago after Stonehenge, several stones of which align perfectly with the sunrise on the summer solstice.
Those who missed their opportunity on Monday will get a second chance on July 11 as the sunset passes by New York City's grid once again this time on its path south.
"I was really regretting that I left my house so late," Sarah said.