"Let Me Tell You" is a series of columns from our expert editors about NYC living, including the best things to do, where to eat and drink, and what to see at the theater. They publish each Tuesday so you’re hearing from us each week. Last time, Things to Do Editor Rossilynne Skena Culgan shared quirky events to bookmark for 2024.
For a few minutes this spring, all eyes will (safely, of course) turn to the total solar eclipse, which will be visible in parts of New York. During this celestial spectacle on April 8, 2024, the Moon will pass between the Sun and the Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun, NASA explains.
The sky will darken like it's dawn or dusk, making for a trippy few moments until the afternoon light returns once again. You don't want to miss this. No, seriously, don't miss it. The next time a solar eclipse with grace the skies over the continental U.S. is 2044, but the next time you'll see a total solar eclipse in New York will be 2079.
Given how special this experience promises to be, you might just want to block your calendar now. Bosses of the world, hear me now: Do not schedule a meeting on the afternoon of April 8, 2024. Do not do it, OK?!
In terms of exact timing, totality varies from place to place. Taking Buffalo as an example, the partial eclipse will begin around 2:04pm, with totality running from 3:18pm-3:22pm. NASA's got a chart with exact timings here.
Do you remember the total solar eclipse back in 2017? I lived in Pittsburgh at the time and recall everyone in the city rushing out of their offices to experience the minutes-long phenomenon. Even though we weren't in the main path of the eclipse, we still experienced an amazing solar spectacle with a darkening sky and freaky shadows. While there's something eerie about the city darkening all of a sudden, there's also something truly awe-inspiring about thousands of people gathering together to experience nature.
This year, New York City will be in a similar position. Though the five boroughs aren’t in the path of totality, we’ll still see 89% coverage, per the Governor's office. That means you'll want to get your eclipse glasses ready and make plans for the day.
Back in 2017, New Yorkers flocked to Bryant Park to see the spectacle, and we expect that will happen once again. But if you want to experience the eclipse to its fullest, you'll have to head outside of the city. Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse are prime viewing locations, as they'll be in the path of totality and they're planning lots of fun events.
In Rochester, for example, the Rochester Museum and Science Center is hosting ROC the Eclipse, a multi-day festival from April 6-8. Events will include hands-on activities, speakers, food, and, of course, lots of fun science. Their goal? "Making sure the eclipse is accessible and exciting to literally everyone under the sun."
Over in Buffalo, the science center there is hosting a solar eclipse safety training on February 23, then an after-hours eclipse-themed event on March 1. They'll be closed on the actual day of the eclipse, though.
As for Syracuse, their science museum is hosting a solar eclipse festival on April 8, complete with free eclipse glasses, activities, and food trucks.
It's such a big deal that the state's tourism board has even created a campaign titled "Come for the Eclipse, Stay for New York" to spur visitors to stick around after the celestial event. They've rounded up events across the state and even made a vintage-style poster to mark the occasion.
No matter where you experience the eclipse, the most important thing is to do so safely. NASA has all the intel on how to do that.
The other important note: Allow yourself the time to truly enjoy this goosebump-inducing event. It's a moment that could inspire kids to love science. It could even inspire adults to put aside their differences and join together for a powerful human experience—and that's why this year's solar eclipse can't be missed.