Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Went to the drive-in this weekend to see Shrek (not that good, but as I've said before, and recently, the movie is secondary to the experience).  The interesting bit: at the time we showed up the lot for Shrek was just over half full.  The lot for Sex and the City 2 had exactly two cars in it.  Two.  Clearly, not alotta demographic overlap between folks who want to see Sex and the City and folks who go to drive ins.  Not too many Manolo Blahniks at the concession stand.

Couldn't get to sleep when we got home, so tuned into Coast-to-Coast, who had an actual astrophysicist on (Neil deGrasse Tyson!), as opposed to the usual parade of alien abductees and ghost whisperers. He discussed, among many, many other things, Manhattan-henge.  On May 28 and June 12 the sun lines up directly with the grid of the city streets in NYC and sets right at the vanishing point between the canyons of buildings, in the center of the street.  Every city with a flat grid of streets and an unobstructed horizon (e.g. no mountains) has two "-henges" a year. The exact dates depends on the orientation of the streets.

The most interesting he said about it was that centuries from now, when anthropologists dig up the ruins of New York City (a simultaneously pessimistic and optimistic prediction; NYC will be in ruins, yet the human race will still be around), they'll conclude we were a race of sun-worshipers, and built the entire city to celebrate two dates: May 28 and June 12. Or, Memorial Day and the All Star Break. They're belivve our two greatest religious holidays honored War and Baseball.

As NYC grew to become the capitol of the world in the heyday of the 40s and 50s, during the post-WWII boom and the great baseball troika of the Giants, Yankees, and Dodgers, that doesn't strike too far off the mark.


Eric said...

I love that idea, that we'll be remembered as we remember those long gone. Sun worshipers. Don't we, though?

ArtSparker said...

There's a book called The Weans, by Robert Nathan, you might enjoy.

Clowncar said...

Yes, cool that it stretches back through time, E. Though he seemed to also be making fun of anthropologists, and how they assume all cultures who built astrolabes were sun worshipers. As opposed to people who were merely trying to track the seasons, so they knew when to plant.

Art - never heard of it, or the Salt Continent (just googled it). I'll check it out.