Summer solstice in New York

As if to welcome the summer solstice today, temperatures in New York soared to record-breaking highs. Cooling centres were opened all around the city and air conditioners were cranked up to provide respite from the stifling heat.

Noel Coward once wrote a song with the lyrics “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun” and I think New Yorkers should be added to that list, because as the heat continued to rise, thousands of people grabbed their yoga mats and headed out to Times Square to salute the sun on the solstice. Organised by the Times Square Alliance, this annual event is now in its tenth year.

summer solstice new york times square  summer solstice new york times square

summer solstice new york times square  summer solstice new york times square

Passersby stopped in their tracks to watch the yoga class en masse. Even Times Square regulars were intrigued…

summer solstice new york times square               summer solstice new york times square

There is something visually spectacular about a large group of people doing a practice in unison; it makes for compelling viewing. Here are a few of my favourite moments:

summer solstice new york times square

summer solstice new york times square

summer solstice new york times square

summer solstice new york times square

summer solstice new york times square   summer solstice new york times square

summer solstice new york times square  summer solstice new york times square

summer solstice new york times square  summer solstice new york times square

summer solstice new york times square

summer solstice new york times square

summer solstice new york times square


About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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54 Responses to Summer solstice in New York

  1. Jeff Sinon says:

    Yummy! Oh wait, you didn’t say yogurt did you?

  2. scrapydo says:

    Must be awesome to see and feel the atmosphere

  3. Spiritual World Traveler says:

    Some of my friends were there!!! Awesome shots! Thanks for sharing.

  4. How electric….I love the energy of the whole thing. It must have been exciting to be there, except for the heat….but your pics are so cool. 🙂

    • ailsapm says:

      Thanks, strawberryindigo, it was a lot of fun, but I was very happy to eventually escape the heat and write my post indoors 🙂

  5. Madame Weebles says:

    I see that Elmo on 42nd Street almost every day!

  6. How nice to see that many NYers able to center and hold onto their real desires. Not so much that way on the subway or other places around the city.

    • ailsapm says:

      Haha, don’t get me started on subway culture, Robert, light years away from the serenity and harmony in Times Square during the solstice 🙂

  7. Spectacular indeed. If I was there, I will definitely join in. Such a rare opportunity. I agree that there is something amazing, even magical when one large group work in unison. Awesome images…

  8. Madhu says:

    Lovely shots! Our yoga school organised a similar ‘yogathon’ (108 sun salutations) for the winter solstice. Not being Englishmen (or New Yorkers) we were done with it by 8 am 🙂

  9. autumninbruges says:

    I love your pictures! So colourful! Looks really like something to do once in a lifetime 🙂

  10. Madoqua says:

    Ah… How wonderful this is 😃 I’ll swop you a warm day for a chilly one. For us ‘downunder’, the winter solstice brought a cloudy cold day, but not the rain that was predicted. Now we are on our way back to longer days and eventually ….. summer!

    • ailsapm says: we up north begin our slow descent into winter. I have to admit I love the winter, I was very disappointed at the lack of snow last winter 🙂

  11. Emma says:

    Did you participated or just took pictures?

  12. fgassette says:

    Wonderful shots. I just left NYC sorry I missed this but not the heat. I saw Elmo and he was with Cookie Monster. Thanks for sharing.


  13. This is so cool (no heat puns intended).

  14. Yoga in the streets of Manhattan is pretty groovy, indeed. But let’s take a moment to ponder the poor guy stuck in the Elmo suit, in hundred-degree heat. Oh, Elmo-guy.

  15. Rosa says:

    spectacular but just a bit unreal??.
    No obviously not, with so many participants

  16. Fabulous – love the energy you captured. Getting a real feel for the day.

  17. Amy says:

    I can feel the energy from your pictures. What an event, great shots!

  18. Great pictures! And nobody looks the slightest bit hot 🙂

    • ailsapm says:

      Indeed, the majority looked as cool as a cucumber. These photos were taken around 7pm so at least the sun wasn’t beating down on them, although it was still stiflingly hot. I passed by in the middle of the day and there were fields of people with faces the colour of Elmo’s fur – mine too, my Irish constitution really doesn’t know what to do when the mercury hits triple digits. 🙂

  19. reb says:

    Great shots … must have felt almost surreal … in that heat!!! It’s bad enough here, and we’re not even close.

  20. travtrails says:

    Great way to beat the heat…my daughter, living in New York, sent me pics too.

  21. gingerbreadcafe says:

    I love seeing people where all the cars normally are, taking back the streets what a fantastic event!

    • ailsapm says:

      I love your comment about taking back the streets, it reminds me of the day Hurricane Irene was supposed to hit Manhattan and the streets were deserted, no traffic anywhere. When it was announced the hurricane had passed, New Yorkers spilled out onto the empty streets and it was the strangest, coolest experience. And then the yellow cabs returned and life in the big city returned to normal. 🙂

  22. great photos, it looked like real fun!

  23. Hi @Ailsa,

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    Thank you for your efforts, I appreciate it. Warm regads.:D

  24. Joy says:

    Excellent series of captured moments.
    I love all of the color!

  25. onestreetshy says:

    I’ve been practicing Ashtanga for nearly 13 years. A few years back I attended a workshop with Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois (who has since passed away sadly) with over one hundred or so other people. When I see these photos, I wonder what our own large group must’ve looked like while in perfect sequence as he counted away…ekam…dve…trini…catvari…
    Great photos.

    • ailsapm says:

      There really is something quite magical about such a large number of people moving in perfect unison. I bet your group looked beautiful. Glad you enjoyed my photos, Jennifer. xxx Ailsa

  26. What a lovely post! And great pics too 🙂 I saw some coverage of this event and your post tops it, by far – thank you for the wonderful morning read! 🙂

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