Rockaway Gets Eclipsed

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There’s going to be a blackout on Monday. No, you won’t lose your WiFi or air conditioning, but you’re going to want to take a break outside anyway and look up (with the proper eyewear). Much of the United States will be treated with the rare celestial event of a total solar eclipse, and you’re not going to want to miss it.

On Monday, August 21, people in just 10 states will be lucky enough to catch the true total solar eclipse, but the view from New York will still be worth the peak.  As the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, the view of the sun will be blocked, causing the eclipse. From the viewpoint on the peninsula, only about 71 percent of the sun will be covered at the peak of the eclipse. Starting at 1:23 p.m., New Yorkers will begin to see the eclipse and it will reach its peak at 2:44 p.m. and last for about two minutes before the moon slides away from the sun’s surface. By 4 p.m., the sun will be in full view.

It’s a sight not to be missed. The last total solar eclipse to be seen from the United States was back in February 1979, with a few northwestern states getting to see it in totality. The last total solar eclipse to be seen in New York City was in January 1925. The next chance New Yorkers will get to see a total solar eclipse will be April 8, 2024.

While it’s something you don’t want to miss, you also don’t want to be missing proper eye protection. Do not attempt to look directly at the sun during any phase of the eclipse, as this can cause severe damage to your eyes. Not even your regular sunglasses will be good enough to catch this phenomenon. The only safe way to look at the partially eclipsed sun is through special solar filters, like on eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers that are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. It’s too late to buy a pair on Amazon, but if you don’t have a pair, there will be some local places hosting viewing parties, which will have glasses on hand.

If your idea of a solar eclipse party includes watching with a beverage in hand, head to the Bungalow Bar (377 Beach 92nd Street) on Monday, between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. for their Solar Eclipse Party. DJ Teddy will be spinning tunes and special cocktails will be on the menu. Eclipse glasses will be provided to all guests.

If you’re more of the adventurous type, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge near Broad Channel is hosting a Solar Eclipse Hike on Monday, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Join a park ranger on a hike around West Pond Trail while viewing the eclipse and collecting data for citizen science projects. Wear comfortable shoes and bring water and bug spray. Eclipse glasses will be provided.  Call 718-318-4340 to reserve a spot.

For those who want to brush up on their eclipse knowledge before viewing, there’s no better place than the library. Queens Library is celebrating the event all across the borough, but the Seaside Branch at 116-15 Rockaway Beach Boulevard is where locals will want to go. The local library is hosting a viewing event from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Guests can learn about the eclipse and play some trivia before heading to the boardwalk to watch the eclipse. Special glasses will be provided to all participants.

With such an exciting and rare event occurring, some locals are throwing their own eclipse parties. As a science teacher, Jennifer Porcheddu of Broad Channel has been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the eclipse while sharing her excitement with her students and friends. She’s invited family and friends to come enjoy the eclipse at her home. “It's very exciting because even though we are not in the path of totality this is going to be a very distinct solar eclipse. The lunar eclipse that occurred in September of 2015 was very exciting as well. So many people in Rockaway from every diverse background came out to the boardwalk and onto the beach to watch together. So I feel to experience this eclipse, well, you should experience it with others. I happen to rent a very beautiful home with a lot of open space on Jamaica Bay, so why not have people come over and enjoy it?”

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