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Hundreds flock to Gantry State Park in Long Island City for solar eclipse viewing

Photo By Seán Ó Briain

Apr. 8, 2024 By Seán Ó Briain

On ‘moon-day’ afternoon, hundreds of spectators gathered in Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City to witness the awe-inspiring solar eclipse of 2024.

People of all ages flocked to the park for the Parks Department’s Solar Eclipse Viewing Party, which kicked off at 2 p.m. ahead of the eclipse’s peak at 3:25 p.m. 

The event featured free eclipse glasses and information kiosks, while Parks Department staff also invited crowds to view the eclipse through a specially-erected telescope. 

Photo By Seán Ó Briain

Due to popular demand, the Parks Department ran out of adult eclipse glasses early Monday morning. However, staff distributed glasses for schoolchildren from 2 p.m., with lines snaking three-quarters of the way around the Hunters Point Library building.

Crowds gathered on picnic blankets, lawn furniture, and inflatable chairs to watch the eclipse, the last of its kind for 55 years. 

New York City was not in the path of totality for the 2024 eclipse, with Gantry Park crowds observing a peak of 89% totality. 

Photo By Seán Ó Briain

Queens residents and outsiders alike said they were hugely impressed with the watch party, describing it as a feel-good community event. 

Richard Bory, who has lived in Queens all of his life, said the event showcased the best of the Long Island City community. 

“There’s no place like it. This is what Long Island City is all about, I love it here,” Bory said. 

“We’re used to it because July 4th ain’t too shabby here either, but this was really good. Everyone had a smile on their face and the little kids were all looking up. 

“I’m a little bit disappointed because the expectations were so hyped, but how can you complain? It’s not a bad way to spend a Monday afternoon.” 

Photo by Queens Post

Richard Renda, who traveled to the Long Island City waterfront from Manhattan, said he traveled to Gantry Plaza in 2017 for the previous solar eclipse. 

“For New York City, we got around 90% totality. It wasn’t 100%, but we didn’t have to travel eight hours to go see it,” Renda said, adding that he was pleasantly surprised by the lack of cloud coverage. 

“I would have been happy if we got just a couple of minutes of sun. That was part of the reason why I came to Gantry Park – the sky is so open. It was right over the East River. It was perfect.” 

Laurie Schechter, who also traveled from Manhattan, said the event was an “awesome thing to share with New Yorkers”. 

“It’s a wonderful community, I’ve come over before to see the fireworks. It’s a wonderful place.” 

Photo By Seán Ó Briain

Photo By Seán Ó Briain


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