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New York State is offering free solar eclipse glasses: Here’s where to get yours

You can get limited-edition I Love NY eclipse glasses at 30 locations throughout the state.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Written by
Rossilynne Skena Culgan

The once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse is coming up on Monday, April 8, and if you want to see it, you've got to make sure to do so safely. To that end, Governor Kathy Hochul's office just announced that they're giving away thousands of eclipse glasses. 

"The total solar eclipse will be a once-in-a-generation experience for our state, and it’s critical that New Yorkers have the tools and information to enjoy it safely," Hochul said in a press release, adding that New Yorkers must be vigilant against scams associated with the celestial spectacle. Here's how to get a pair of eclipse glasses, how to watch the solar eclipse safely, and how to make the most of the event.

RECOMMENDED: The best Solar Eclipse 2024 events in NYC

Where can I get free solar eclipse glasses in NYC?

You can get limited-edition I LOVE NY eclipse glasses at 30 locations throughout the state, including New York State Welcome Centers and select service areas along the NYS Thruway. Each person can get two pairs while supplies last with a limited amount distributed daily.

In New York City, pick up a pair at Moynihan Train Hall's MTA Long Island Rail Road Ticket Windows. They're open daily from 6:30am-9:30pm. On Long Island, head to the Long Island Welcome Center (5100 Long Island Expressway, Eastbound between Exits 51 & 52) in Dix Hills between 7am-9pm daily. Other pick-up spots are located throughout the state; here's a full list.

The glasses were approved by the New York State Department of Health and carry an ISO certification.

How can I watch the solar eclipse safely?

No matter where you experience the eclipse, the most important thing is to keep your eyes safe. NASA has all the intel on exactly what you'll need to stay safe.

Per NASA: "You must look through safe solar viewing glasses ('eclipse glasses') or a safe handheld solar viewer at all times. Eclipse glasses are NOT regular sunglasses; regular sunglasses, no matter how dark, are not safe for viewing the Sun."

What is a solar eclipse?

During this celestial spectacle, 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 and cast lots of freaky shadows. It makes for a trippy few moments until the afternoon light returns once again.

When is the solar eclipse?

The total solar eclipse is on Monday, April 8, 2024. In terms of exact timing, totality varies from place to place. For New York City, we’ll be able to see the Moon cover up to 90 percent of the Sun at 3:25pm, per the American Museum of Natural History. As for the Buffalo area, 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.

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. That's why you really don't want to miss it.

Where can I see the eclipse in New York?

As long as it's not cloudy, you should be able to see the eclipse just about anywhere in the city. However, remember that New York City isn't in the path of totality, so we'll see about 90% coverage in the city.

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.

What scams should I watch out for?

The governor's office encourages New Yorkers to stay vigilant against scammers who might try to sell phony travel packages, fake merchandise, or inaccurate accommodations. It's best to pay by credit card (rather than cash) for more protection, to be cautious when giving out personal/financial information, and to do research with trusted sources.

Additionally, be sure to buy eclipse viewing glasses and other related products only from reputable vendors or verified sources. "Look to see if the glasses include the ISO stamp and message," per the governor's office. "When seeking eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers, your best bet is to start with the AAS list of suppliers so you can be sure your viewers are safe."

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