Sunset photo courtesy mrgeneko.

Manhattanhenge, the visually stunning phenomenon that occurs twice a year when the sun sets in perfect alignment with Manhattan’s street grid, is happening tonight. It’s just too bad that Vice President Dick Cheney has arranged to be in town at the exact moment of the sunset, to speak at the New York Republican State Committee Dinner and simultaneously smother the golden light under his all-encompassing shroud of darkness.

Of course it’s no coincidence that the famously secretive Cheney would time his visit to Manhattan to coincide with Manhattanhenge – he’s long been devoted to ensuring the triumph of darkness over light; as he once told Tim Russert, “We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will.” So don’t be alarmed when tonight’s sunset is suddenly eclipsed by a frigid black miasma – that’s just Cheney taking the podium at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers Metropolitan Ballroom, where he’ll address the troubled GOP along with Rudy Giuliani and Joe Bruno.