Yesterday was the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017, and although Megan and I had considered flying to her hometown in Oregon, which was in the path of totality, for the occasion, we never got it together to make the necessary arrangements. Instead, we spent the day at our respective offices in New York. We didn’t even get around to buying eclipse glasses. Sad.
My lunch break at NYU-TV coincided with the most exciting part of the eclipse, between 2:00 and 3:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time, as maximum eclipse was to occur over New York City at around 2:44 PM. I took my camera to nearby Washington Square Park and snapped photos of the revelers.
I really enjoyed watching everyone devise creative ways to fashion pinhole projectors and watch the moon partially block the sun.
Perhaps the most expert model was the camera obscura boxes that were distributed by online glasses outlet Warby Parker.
Others made their pinhole-projectors own with cereal boxes.
Others used colanders to see dozens of crescents projected on paper or on the ground.
Yet others used the front-facing cameras on their smartphones to view and photograph the eclipsed sun.
One guy used two sheets of paper: one with the pinhole and one as a screen.
There were some viewers using dubious “safety” equipment, such as a perforated black sheet of paper.
And one trio using strips of unexposed, unprocessed photographic film.
I hope all these people are okay today.
One of the most enjoyable parts of watching the eclipse in the park was the community among strangers. Many shared safety glasses with each other.
After I snapped a photo of this undergraduate looking at the eclipse, he asked if I could send it to him.
I transferred the photo from my camera to my iPhone and emailed him the photo. While we waited for the transfer, he offered to let me look through his glasses. I took him up on the offer.
What I saw was a wisp of a cloud overlapping with the eclipsed sun. It was an indescribably beautiful image, and I was happy to have that as my first view of the sun. Sorry, I don’t have a photo of what I saw, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget it and who needs a photograph?
This being New York, of course, there was an enterprising woman selling glasses for $20.
At 2:40 PM, just a few minutes before the maximum coverage, I bought a pair.
Twenty bucks seemed a bit steep for a pair of glasses that will have about an hour’s worth of utility, but I I earned some karmic equity by sharing them with my coworkers after my lunch break had concluded.
As countless of people have commented, including me in an Instagram post, this was a rare moment where we gathered together and forgot about our problems and our differences. We gathered together and shared watching the spectacular cosmic dance between the sun and the moon.