The best and weirdest ways to watch the eclipse on Monday

2017's eclipse was a city-wide party and maybe the 'last good day,' and we get to do it again.

The best and weirdest ways to watch the eclipse on Monday
Look up (safely): A still from a video from The Outline showing the 2017 eclipse.

It’s a big week for all those who hate the sun and think the moon rules: it’s eclipse time, babies. On Monday, the moon will shimmy in front of the sun around 3 p.m. ET, blocking the gaudy daylight and covering it in 90 percent obscurity. It’s the best solar eclipse viewing we’ll get in New York City until 2079, a date so far in the future that the mayor will surely be a robot cop by then. 

It’s also just a fun day to be outside among the crowds of the city, a rare cosmic event uniting us all in gawking. Indeed it’s fun to share such joyful occasions with strangers for a change, instead of the usual horrifying ones that unite us in protest or whatnot, so we do recommend you get out there. It’s kinda like that one weekend in 2016 where everyone was playing Pokemon Go, except for only an hour, and the sun isn’t harvesting your personal information. Please enjoy The Groove’s guide to the 2024 solar eclipse: 


The eclipse concentrates all the brilliance of the sun toward the edges, meaning if you look at it directly without protection, you may have a toenail-shaped image of the eclipse burned into your eyes forever, which is not the best souvenir to have of a nice time. Remember what happened to the former president who looked directly at the 2017 eclipse, an act that turned his perfectly functional brains and rational cognition skills into mush in a way that he never recovered from? Be better than the ex-president. 

What time is the solar eclipse in New York City? 

You can expect to see the total eclipse between 3:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. ET, with the best coverage at 3:25 p.m. The sun will start to be eclipsed at 2:10 p.m. if you want to watch the whole cosmic ballet play out. 

And I care??? Don't we have enough problems on Earth??

Oh you sweet child. Let us take you back to the last time we had a solar eclipse in the city in 2017, a day some people often labeled “the last good day” (subsequent horrors have proven this sobriquet a little weak in retrospect). I won’t go that far, but the shared joy in the air that day was palpable, a break from the fresh traumas of the 2017 news cycle, when everyone stood outside and stared at the sky at something truly cool, for an hour or so.

My experience that August day took me to Fort Greene Park, which was bustling with the childhood joy of a large-scale science project. A neighborhood dad had constructed a giant eclipse viewer and people lined up to use it. I met a friend on a blanket and we shared eclipse glasses and some beers while contemplating how miniscule we are in the grand ambivalence of the universe. Then after a while, I went home and it was back to Twitter and the horrors, but at least I had that hour. 

The Outline (RIP) put together a great video capturing the spirit of that day: strangers mingling, gazing skyward together, everyone taking a pause in their workday to stop and look up. 

Plus, there won’t be another one for a while: the next total eclipse visible from the United States will be in 2044,  but only in a small chunk of Canada and the Western United States. The next total solar eclipse won’t hit New York City until 2079, a full 55 years from now.

Why it’s a great time to get into stargazing in NYC
Don’t let anyone tell you the big city lights make it impossible to see stars. Amateur astronomers share their tips on how to get into stargazing, for free.

Where to get free eclipse glasses so you can, we repeat, not look directly at the eclipse 

The libraries 
The libraries, always making a case for why cutting their budget is eternally stupid, are handing out a limited number of eclipse glasses this weekend. The Brooklyn Public Library will be giving them out at their various branches this weekend, or at the Central Library on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Monday from 10 a.m. through eclipse time. They are sponsored by the National Esports Association, really. 

Get glasses at every branch of the Queens Public Library and New York Public Library too.

Moynihan Train Hall
Glasses are also available at the MTA Long Island Rail Road ticket windows at Moynihan, which is maybe a chance to check out the train station’s bar and see if you agree with Virginia’s hot take. The window is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. 

Who’s behind all the weird digital ads you see all over the city now?
And how did those vague, vibey astrology billboards come to proliferate all over the Fulton stop?

Warby Parker 
They got free ones at stores around the city, and they are indeed trendier than other versions. 

Just borrow some 
You don’t really need your own eclipse glasses tbh. If you go to any gathering with people, someone will have some you can borrow — even the most eclipse-horny sicko can only look up at the sun for so long, it’s a terrible strain on the neck. 

Bring your pasta strainer 
Pasta strainers, and anything with holes in the bottom, make great pinhole projectors, which are ways to see the eclipse’s shape without looking directly at it, which again you should not do without proper eyewear. You can carry one around and get a disco ball effect with occluded sunlight. It’s pretty neat! 

Wanna gawk with some other eclipse chasers?  

The city is full of plenty of eclipse watch party events, but they may be a little moot: if 2017 is any indication, the whole city will be having a watch party. The eclipse will hit toward the latter part of the work day, so you can sneak outside and gaze upon this solar event  with everyone else. 

You can watch the eclipse at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and see if the plants will be affected by fool’s night; hang out with actual astronomers at the American Museum of Natural History; see if the dead will rise from their graves at Green-Wood Cemetery; celebrate with Snapple’s new sun-themed flavor and more. 

See free viewing parties here, and more listings on TimeOut.

What’s the weirdest thing I can do during the eclipse? 

Maybe pay $8,000 for a three-day train ride to Niagara Falls, though if I pay $8,000 for a train, it better go on the express track directly to space so that I can punch god myself. The city will be full of people trying to harness the power of the eclipse with meditation ceremonies and the like

Should you go upstate? 

If you’re a real eclipse chaser, this is your best bet to see full totality (91 percent is garbage compared to the real totality, according to some eclipse snobs I saw on Reddit). You gotta go upstate though: like actually upstate, not just Westchester County. Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse are in the path, and it’s not snowing in Buffalo anymore so that’s a positive. 

Either a fun way to get murdered or a great way to make an eclipse buddy for life, people on Craigslist are seeking rides upstate to go stare at the sun together. People used to do this all the time in the 70s, and look at them now. 

Can I actually go on my building’s roof or will an alarm sound? 

Ah a conundrum as old as the sun itself. The building to your apartment, office or work building may have roof access, guarded by one of those foreboding EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY ALARM WILL SOUND crash bars. But will it reallllllyyyy sound? 

Only you can know that information for sure; personally, I’ve crawled onto plenty of city roofs in the past 15 years and have maybe encountered one of those that actually was connected to an alarm. It is your duty as a building tenant to test this at least once. On Reddit, users have posted various methods for hacking or getting around these alarms, if you want to do that. We’re not saying you should, but we’re also saying that you might have perfectly good roof access to a roof that you are not taking advantage of because your landlord has won the battle of psychological warfare, warning of a fake alarm the landlord was too lazy to connect in the first place.  

What happens if I get arrested from partying too much because I am excited about the eclipse? 

You might get a break from the judge. At least that’s what happened the last time New York City was in the path of totality of a solar eclipse. A group of men had been arrested the night before; or, as the Times wrote: “they had come to their plight through overdoing a liquid celebration held as a preliminary to watching the eclipse."  They were brought to a courtroom in Harlem the next day, where a judge asked: "You were in jail this morning when the eclipse took place?" 

"We were," the three replied.

"Well, I think you have been sufficiently punished," the judge said (taking a notably more humane stance than today’s corrections officers). "Discharged."