New Yorkers flock to the highest point in Brooklyn to view the eclipse

Eight million New Yorkers gazed toward clear blue skies on Monday afternoon, eagerly awaiting a historic solar eclipse.

One of the prime viewing locations was Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, home to the highest point in the borough.

The vibe at the historic cemetery was akin to a music festival, with thousands of people bringing towels, beach chairs, food and drinks. Organizers had a hefty stash of solar glasses to distribute to as many as 7,000 people. Numerous telescopes equipped with solar lenses were pointed at the sun.


Crowds watching the solar eclipse at Green-Wood Cemetery.

Bess Adler

Elizaveta Schneiderman had a full picnic set up with her friends.

“We’ve got organic cheese, we’ve got some co-op fruits, plenty of vegetarian samosas, guacamole, some seaweed, nuts, Haribo – ’cause why not? Gelatin. Cottonelle for the hands,” said Schneiderman. “It’s fun to experience these things in the context of collective joy.”


The solar eclipse as seen from Green-Wood Cemetery.

Bess Adler

For Luba Drozd and Lilith Taylor, the eclipse had an extra special meaning. Drozd proposed to Taylor when the eclipse was at its peak around 3:25 p.m., when 90% of the sun was obscured by the moon. The celestial spectacle fell on the one-year anniversary of their first date.

“I just turned to her and just grabbed the box with the ring and asked if she’d like to spend more anniversaries [and] “Eclipse together,” Drozd said.

The eclipse represents “the death of the old, the birth of the new, and a new life together,” Taylor said.

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It was a sunny day and temperatures were in the 60s. The cemetery's famous parrots chirped through much of the scene.

“It doesn't happen all the time,” said Roman Barroso, a Ridgewood resident. “This is amazing. This is the cosmic game, and it is beautiful.”

Experienced astronomers noted that the tomb was an ideal location due to the clear, unobstructed views and lack of noise.

“The cemetery is a great site for any kind of astronomy,” said Peter Lipschutz, an organizer with the Society of Amateur Astronomers.

Susan Zugaib wears eclipse glasses while reading ahead of the cosmic event at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

Bess Adler

Rafael Uribe said he came to the cemetery from the Bronx because he was looking for a “quiet, meditative place to take it all in.” While the large crowd made mediation a long shot, he was still satisfied with the spectacle.

“I think it’s kind of a sacred moment, I guess? I’m pretty secular but I guess that’s the closest you can to it,” Uribe said. “This is one of those events that kind of every culture, civilization is kind of awestruck by.”


Amateur astronomers said the unobstructed views at Green-Wood Cemetery made it a perfect location to see the eclipse.

Bess Adler

Other parts of the city also slowed down for the solar spectacle. On the High Line in Manhattan, Jenny Fang shared solar glasses with passersby. It was her first eclipse.

“Take a look. The sun is so amazing,” said Fang, 62. “I always share so other people can see it. Everybody’s so happy.”

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Marie-Jeanne Fethiere, who used special filters to photograph the eclipse at the elevated park, said she wasn’t originally intending to go out and view the event. But she said was inspired to view the cosmic phenomenon after Friday’s earthquake shook New York.

The next solar eclipse won’t be visible in New York City until 2044.

This story has been updated with new information.

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