About City of Stars

This City of Stars self-guided tour was inspired by an article written by Neil deGrasse Tyson in a special issue of Natural History magazine (January 2002) which was dedicated to astronomy related sites in New York City. We have expanded the list of sites to see over the years and will continue to do so in the future.

For the past 10 years or so, Linda Prince of the Amateur Observers' Society of New York (a Long Island astronomy club) has conducted periodic free tours of some of the sites. We have created this page to make these sites known to the public; this content is also available on our City of Stars Facebook page.

Most of the sites are located in Manhattan but there are also some in The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. We also added two bonus sites - one in Garden City, Long Island and another in Holmdel Township, New Jersey - which may be more challenging to get to from New York City. Visiting all the sites on the list would take several days at least, so you may want to select 5 to 10 to visit in a single day. Below is a map of the location of each of the sites, as well as separate numbered postings for each site that include a location, description, pictures and links to more information. Some sites might be worth the time only if you are visiting the particular museum or site anyway. We have listed the sites in the order, in our opinion, of the most astronomical interest.

Be sure to check hours of operation and accessibility for sites before heading to them. Let us know if there are any astronomical sites in New York City that we have missed. You might want to consider creating a similar page for your hometown. Please let us know if you do create one.

Keep in mind that, like all big cities, New York City can be a dangerous place. Be careful and aware of your surroundings at all times.

Thank you to all those who over the years have helped us to find or explain these sites, particularly John Pazmino and Mark Licker. We hope you enjoy your self-guided City of Stars Tour.


Zoom in and out and click on the numbered markers for more information about the City of Stars locations. Summaries of the sites are listed below.


  • Atlas Sculpture
  • 1. Atlas & Prometheus Sculptures
    Rockefeller Center

    Atlas, brother to Prometheus, was a half-man, half-god giant Titan of astronomy and navigation. Atlas helped lead a war against the Olympic Gods, but after the Titan's defeat, Atlas was punished by Zeus and forced to carry the world on his shoulders. The world he carries is an armillary sphere. [...]

  • Mercury
  • 2. Mercury Sculpture
    Grand Central Terminal

    Mercury is at the front of the building above the clock. With him are Hercules and Minerva, whose namesake is an asteroid. The eagle could stand for Aquila. The clock below Mercury, 13 feet in diameter, is the world’s largest example of Tiffany glass. [...]

  • Globe of the Earth
  • 3. Globe of the Earth
    Daily News Building - Lobby

    This building was the home of the Daily News (a New York City daily newspaper) until 1994. It was completed in 1930 and the owners allowed $150,000 to be spent on the lobby. The result was a beautiful space designed in the art deco style, with an oversized, tilted, rotating globe of the Earth. [...]

  • Planetarium
  • 4. Planetarium and Hall of the Universe
    Rose Center for Earth & Space at AMNH

    The Rose Center for Earth and Space encompasses the spectacular Hayden Sphere and exhibitions that explore the vast range of sizes in the cosmos, the 13-billion-year history of the universe, the nature of galaxies, stars, and planets, and the dynamic features of planet Earth. [...]

  • Space Shuttle
  • 5. Space Shuttle Enterprise
    & Aurora 7 Mercury Capsule Replica

    Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

    The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is an American military and maritime history museum with a collection of ships consisting of the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid and various other maritime vessels, aircraft and spacecraft. It has the Space Shuttle Enterprise and a replica of the Mercury capsule, Aurora 7. [...]

  • St. Paul the Apostle Church
  • 6. Crepuscular Rays & Star Ceiling
    St. Paul the Apostle Church

    The facade above the entrance doorway shows the Sun's crepuscular rays. The ceiling inside the church depicts the stars as they appeared at midnight on January 25, 1885, the day the church was dedicated. Also, the cupola of the altar and the baptistry have star motifs, though they do not represent any actual patterns in the sky. [...]

  • 7. Sun Triangle
    McGraw Hill Building Plaza

    Each side of the triangle points to the Sun's noon position in the sky on 3 special days: summer solstice, winter solstice, and equinoxes. No side is vertical, since the Sun is never directly overhead in New York City. Since its construction, a building was erected which blocks the winter solstice noon Sun from reaching the triangle. [...]

  • Peace Fountain
  • 8. Peace Fountain Sculpture
    Cathedral of St. John the Divine

    The Peace Fountain Sculpture, in bronze, by Greg Wyatt, artist-in-residence to the church, is an odd mix of modern science, old testament biblical depictions, exotic animals, and the decapitated head of Satan. Although originally built as a fountain, the structure has no running water on it currently. [...]

  • Albertine
  • 9. Night Sky & Zodiac Motif
    Albertine Bookstore

    This 5-story house has been owned by the French government since 1952. It was originally a wedding gift to Payne Whitney and his bride, designed by the architect Stanford White in the high Italian Renaissance style. [...]

  • Space Themed Park
  • 10. Space-Themed Park
    Dr. Ronald McNair Playground

    The park is named for Space Shuttle Astronaut Dr. Ronald McNair who died in the Challenger Space Shuttle explosion in 1986. The site is near an auto repair shop once owned by Dr. McNair's father. [...]

  • Sputnik Replica
  • 11. Sputnik Replica
    United Nations General Assembly

    A replica of the Soviet Sputnik 1 satellite hangs from the ceiling in the main lobby, a gift to the UN from the Soviet Union in 1959. Sputnik 1 was the first artificial Earth satellite and started the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union. [...]

  • Big Dipper Asterism
  • 12. Big Dipper Asterism
    Frederick Douglass Memorial

    Artist Algernon Miller and sculptor Gabriel Koren designed the Frederick Douglass Memorial, which includes granite seating and paving patterns based on traditional African-American quilt motifs, as well as bronze perimeter fence with a wagon wheel motif. There is also a bronze water wall depicting the Big Dipper asterism that guided those on the "underground railroad. [...]

  • Lunar Module
  • 13. Lunar Module
    Cradle of Aviation Museum

    The Cradle of Aviation Museum is an aerospace museum located in Garden City, New York on Long Island to commemorate Long Island's part in the history of aviation. It is located on land once part of Mitchel Field which, together with nearby Roosevelt Field and other airfields on the Hempstead Plains, was the site of many historic flights. [...]

  • Holmdel Horn Antenna
  • 14. Holmdel Horn Antenna
    Nokia Bell Labs

    This is a microwave horn antenna that was used as a satellite communication antenna and radio telescope during the 1960s at Bell Telephone Laboratories. This antenna was the instrument that in 1964 first detected the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, radiation left over from the Big Bang. [...]

  • NYC Subway Stations
  • 15. NYC Subway Stations
    Various Locations


  • Armillary Sphere Sundial
  • 16. Armillary Sphere Sundial
    St. Catherine Park

    The design of St. Catherine's Park which was renovated in 1996, mimics that of the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva church located in Rome, which houses the remains of St. Catherine. The sundial is in the southeast corner of the park. [...]

  • Solstice Bench
  • 17. Solstice Bench
    Riverside Park South

    Riverside Park South was dedicated in 2005 and its theme is the various railroads that picked up goods from the dock for distribution in NYC and places beyond. The park is located on the site of the former NY Central Railroad’s 60th St. yard, which operated from the 1870’s to the early 1970’s. [...]

  • Rocket Park
  • 18. Rocket Park
    New York Hall of Science

    The NYSCI is a science museum occuping one of the few remaining structures from the 1964 New York World's Fair. It is New York City's only hands-on science and technology center. There are more than 400 hands-on exhibits focused on biology, chemistry, and physics. [...]

  • Atlas Sculpture
  • 19. Sundial - Waldo Hutchins Bench
    Central Park

    The sundial and bench are a tribute to Waldo Hutchins (1822-1891), who helped create Central Park and promoted the idea of personal fulfillment through pubic service and the need to preserve and protect important pieces of New York City history. [...]

  • Manhattanhenge
  • 20. Manhattanhenge
    Midtown Manhattan Cross Streets

    Manhattanhenge, also called the Manhattan Solstice, is an event during which the setting sun or the rising sun is aligned with the east–west streets of the main street grid of Manhattan. The sunsets and sunrises each align twice a year, on dates evenly spaced around the summer solstice and winter solstice. The sunset alignments occur around May 28 and July 13. [...]

  • Sundial
  • 21. Sundial
    Columbia University

    This is the base of a sundial whose gnomon, a polished dark green granite sphere having a diameter of 7 feet and weighing 16 tons, is no longer here. In 1910, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their graduation, the class of 1885 presented the University with the sphere to be placed in the center of 116th St., now College Walk. [...]

  • Luminescence
  • 22. Luminescence
    Hunter's Point South Park

    Phases of the Moon are represented by seven cast concrete domes which show light and shadow as the sun's rays hit them. [...]

  • Obelisk
  • 23. Obelisk
    Korean War Veterans' Memorial

    Designed by Welsh artist Mac Adams, the 15-foot obelisk of black granite contains a cutout of a "universal soldier" lit by the Sun. On July 7th at 10 am, as in 1953, the exact time of the declaration of the cease fire, the Sun shines directly through the opening in this sundial, creating a shadow in the shape of the soldier. [...]

  • Starry Night
  • 24. Starry Night
    Museum of Modern Art

    Starry Night is an oil on canvas painting by Dutch Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh. Regarded as among van Gogh's finest works, Starry Night is one of the most recognized paintings in the history of Western culture. The brightest "star" in the painting at the upper right is belived to be Venus. [...]

  • Sculpture
  • 25. Sculptures of Mythological Creatures
    Metropolitan Museum of Art

    The Met is the largest art museum in the United States. Among its many collections is the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Collection which includes sculptures of several mythological figures for which constellations/planets are named, including Hercules, Andromeda, Perseus, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, plus others. [...]

  • Constellation Chandeliers
  • 26. Constellation Chandeliers
    Metropolitan Opera House

    A gift of crystals for the chandeliers from the Austrian Government were turned into the starry, light-burst structures which likely due to recent space related events in the news were deemed "constellations." [...]

  • Armillary Spheres
  • 27. Armillary Spheres
    Federal Reserve of NY Plaza

    These four intersecting hoops of antiquity were teaching tools that illustrated the geocentric universe. With a model of Earth at their center, the various angled rings represented important cosmic coordinates where one might track the movements of the Sun, Moon, and planets in the sky. [...]

  • Zodiac Symbols
  • 28. Mosaic Tiles of Zodiac Symbols
    Surrogate's Courthouse

    The Surrogate's Courthouse, completed in 1907, was originally called the Hall of Records. It is considered one of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in New York City. A surrogate is a person deputized by another in a specific role or office. [...]

  • Bronx Science Mural
  • 29. Bronx Science Mural
    Bronx High School of Science

    The front lobby of the Bronx High School of Science (a school whose alumni boast 8 Nobel Prizes and 6 Pulitzer Prizes) displays a giant mural. The 63-foot Venetian glass mosaic, titled “Humanities Protecting Biology, Physics, Chemistry,” was created by artist Frank J. Reilly, when the school initially relocated to its current building in 1959. [...]

  • Indian Bowman
  • 30. Indian Bowman Sculpture
    U.S. Post Office, Canal St.

    Wheeler Williams (1897-1972) a Harvard degree architect, sculpted the relief of an Indian bowman featuring the crescent Moon, Saturn, and stars in 1938 under the auspices of the Federal Works Agency. [...]

  • Unisphere
  • 31. Unisphere from 1964 World's Fair
    Flushing Meadows Park

    Commissioned for the New York World's Fair in 1964-65, this 350-ton, 120-foot diameter globe is made of steel. Three circles surrounding the globe represent the tracks of 3 orbits of John Glenn's space flight two years earlier. [...]

  • Earth Model
  • 32. Earth Model
    Columbus Circle

    The shiny Earth model is similar to the Unisphere at Flushing Meadow Park in Queens, but 1/5 its diameter. The Unisphere has 3 rings around it representing the three orbits of John Glenn's flight around Earth in 1962. The 3 rings around this Earth model go every which way, with no significance. [...]

  • Armillary Sphere Sundial
  • 33. Armillary Sphere Sundial
    Clara Coffey Park

    The park was named after Clara Stimson Coffey (1894-1982), a landscape architect, in 1997. The armillary sphere, installed in 1971 and built of bronze, sports an equatorial band with the zodiac constellations on it in a golden finish. Inside the band are the sundial hours in Roman numerals. [...]

  • Zodiac Constellation Bas-Reliefs
  • 34. Zodiac Constellation Bas-Reliefs
    Salmon Tower

    Salmon Tower was designed by York and Sawyer and completed in 1927. The name is derived from the name of a former owner of the building, but today it is known simply as 11 West 42nd Street. The entrance is framed with 12 reliefs, each illustrating a zodiac constellation [...]

  • Sundial
  • 35. Sundial
    Central Park - Shakespeare Gardens

    Dedicated in 1945, made of bronze and cast iron. [...]

  • Crescent Moon
  • 36. Crescent Moon
    Islamic Cultural Center

    The crescent Moon, a symbol of the Islamic faith, is seen atop the dome. The start of Ramadan, Islam's holiest period, is signaled by the first sighting of the young crescent Moon without the aid of a telescope. [...]

  • Extruded Parabola
  • 37. Extruded Parabola & Sundial
    Murphy Center at Asphalt Green

    Asphalt Green is a nonprofit sports, swim, and fitness organization that was created from the abandoned Municipal Asphalt Plant built in 1942. This building is an extruded parabola. An open-side-down parabola makes for an especially simple yet stable structure. [...]

  • Sundial
  • 38. Sundial
    Roger Morris Park

    The sundial, behind the historic Morris-Jumel Mansion, is one of the few sundials that might actually have been used for time-keeping purposes. The beautiful courtyard below the mansion has been often used for film shoots. [...]

  • Sundial
  • 39. Sundial
    Brooklyn Heights Promenade

    This NYC park opened in 1950. The sundial, located at the northern terminus, is also an armillary sphere with the zodiac constellation symbols in relief. Some years ago it was vandalized - the Pisces symbol was removed. [...]

  • Monument to Astronaut
  • 40. Monument to Astronaut
    Dr. Ronald McNair Park

    The granite monument here is a memorial to Dr. Ronald Erwin McNair (1950-1986), the second African-American astronaut to travel into space, a distinguished physicist and astronaut who perished in the space shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986. [...]

  • Sundial
  • 41. Sundial
    Port Richmond High School

    This 18-foot high structure, titled "Song to the Sun" is designed to resemble the rudder of a ship to reflect the nautical location of the school. [...]

  • Sundial
  • 42. Sundials
    Various locations

    Read more about a variety of interesting sundials in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.[...]

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    AOS logo shirts and many other items are now available on the AOS Cafepress website. Feel free to look around. Show your support for the AOS or find great gift ideas for freinds and family of any age.

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    AOSNY is a non-profit, 501(C)3 organization and, as such, donations are tax deductible within federal guidelines. Please check with a tax accountant for details.

    The Amateur Observers' Society is an active member of the Night Sky Network, a nationwide coalition of amateur astronomy clubs bringing astonomy experiences and the science, technology, and inspiration of NASA's missions to the general public.