Governor Updates New Yorkers on State Plans for the April Total Solar Eclipse
With less than 100 days to go before the State’s first total eclipse in nearly a century, Governor Kathy Hochul updated New Yorkers and the State’s expected hundreds of thousands of visitors on its plans to ensure a safe, enjoyable and awe-inspiring experience.
“Whether you live in New York or are visiting to witness this generational spectacle, ensuring everyone can take in this year’s eclipse safely is our top priority,” Governor Hochul said. “I encourage everyone to keep safety in mind so that all can savor this experience and make memories to last a lifetime. Come for the eclipse, but stay for New York and enjoy all our great state has to offer.”
During the afternoon of April 8, 2024, a total eclipse will encompass the western and northern parts of New York State. In less than 15 minutes within a 3:15 to 3:30 window, the moon will pass between the earth and sun, turning day into night for 1 ½ minutes to 3 ½ minutes. The roughly 100-mile wide path of totality will enter in the southwestern part of the state at just after 3:15 PM, and will depart northern New York just before 3:30. Cities and towns within this path include Jamestown, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Watertown, Old Forge, Lake Placid and Plattsburgh. The entire event will last for up to 2 ½ hours, marking the time the sun is first obstructed to the last moments when the moon’s shadow is cast.
For other areas of the state that are outside the path, there will still be quite a celestial spectacle. The minimum coverage in the state will be on Long Island, with the sun being shadowed at 88 percent there. New York City will see 89 percent coverage with 96 percent in the Capital Region.
For the last 15 months, an interagency task force, comprised of nearly two dozen state agencies and authorities, has been collaborating on plans to ensure a safe and memorable viewing experience for New York State’s residents and visitors. It is focused on building awareness of the State as a prime location to experience the eclipse by gathering important safety and preparedness information, amplifying and supporting region-specific viewing activities, and maintaining regular communication with local governments and municipalities, especially those within the path of totality. New York’s public safety efforts align with the State’s normal jurisdictional role over State parks and State roads and support to local governments in their planning and decision making in accordance with their own codes, laws and needs as this exciting event approaches.
Public safety challenges for such an event include traffic management, communications capabilities and public health and safety. State, county and local public safety and emergency management efforts have been and will continue to be tailored to the anticipated needs from an influx of those who come to view the eclipse from both inside and outside the state.
The state’s goals surrounding the eclipse are to provide a safe, fun and enjoyable experience from start to finish. Alongside the focus on public safety is the promotion of New York State as an eclipse vacation destination. With so much to do and see in the path of totality, New York State and I LOVE NY are encouraging eclipse viewers to extend an eclipse viewing trip into a full vacation for a more enjoyable experience all around – including avoiding post-event traffic, like the massive backups after the Great Eclipse of 2017, which bisected the United States from Oregon to South Carolina.
April 8, 2024—and the days leading up to and following—mark an important opportunity to showcase New York State’s splendor from its parks and attractions to its quaint towns and landscapes. I LOVE NY has launched the multi-platform “Come for the Eclipse, Stay for New York” campaign to present New York as THE place to be to witness this event. The campaign and a special eclipse website highlight viewing location information in the five regions that will experience the path of totality, a variety of attractions and special eclipse-related events happening across the state, and safety best practices across digital platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter/X, email newsletters, and digital displays in various highly trafficked locations across the state such as the Moynihan Train Hall and regional welcome centers. The website also includes resources for educators, families and kids, along with photos and frequently asked questions about solar eclipses. Visitors can download a special edition eclipse poster, created through an I LOVE NY partnership with acclaimed artist and professional astronomer Dr. Tyler Nordgren to help promote and commemorate the eclipse.
As this once-in-a-lifetime event approaches, meetings and briefings will continue with agencies and governments across the state to continue preparation. In addition, the Governor’s office will be providing updates on relevant milestones and features to keep New Yorkers and its visitors informed on how to best prepare, be safe and enjoy the eclipse.
New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “It’s been nearly 100 years since New York last experienced a total solar eclipse and thankfully we will not have to wait much longer. With our state so uniquely positioned to view this celestial wonder, people from around the country will be flocking to New York to see it for themselves and we will be ready. As April 8 quickly approaches, we will continue to work hand in glove with our local partners to ensure it will be a safe and enjoyable experience for all.”
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The 2024 total solar eclipse will provide a historic opportunity for residents and visitors to experience this natural phenomena in several New York State communities. Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, the state’s tourism industry has generated record-breaking visitation, visitor spending and economic impact. This once-in-a-lifetime event offers a chance to invite even more travelers to experience New York’s diverse regions, and support the communities and small businesses that make them unique.”
New York State Police Acting Superintendent Dominick L. Chiumento said, “The New York State Police is working closely with our local and state partners preparing for any potential increase in traffic and large gatherings that the eclipse may bring. We are making preparations to ensure the safety of the motoring public, including deploying additional troopers as needed. We also remind the public to watch the eclipse from designated viewing areas and to avoid stopping on controlled access highways unless there is an emergency. The New York State Police wants everyone to safely enjoy this rare event.”
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “New York is well known for its natural beauty and majesty, so it is fitting that it will be front and center for this celestial spectacle. With the possibility of hundreds of thousands of people coming in for the event, the Department of Transportation’s top priority is the safety of the traveling public during this time. We will be closely monitoring the roads in our Transportation Management Centers located across the State of New York for faster identification and response to incidents, as well as sending additional HELP vehicles to assist disabled motorists. NYSDOT will consistently be communicating and updating drivers through 511NY, social media, and our Variable Message Signs to keep the public informed. We will also be working closely with our agency partners – state and local police, the New York State Thruway and other entities to help move people safely to and from their destinations. Those attending should also consider taking Amtrak, which provides passenger train service to the North Country as well as Buffalo. I urge all travelers to plan ahead; arrive early, stay late, and enjoy all that New York has to offer.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Viewing a total solar eclipse from our own backyards, neighborhood parks, and green spaces will provide upstate New Yorkers a once-in-a-lifetime, front-row seat to one of the most captivating natural wonders on our planet. DEC is proud to be partnering with our fellow state agencies to celebrate this rare celestial event and encourages those viewing the eclipse across our state to do so safely, observing all safety rules and regulations, and to be respectful of others and our shared environment at all times.”
New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “We are so excited have the total solar eclipse line up as part of our Centennial celebration. Within days of announcing several parks along its path would open early, reservations filled up for campgrounds, cottages and cabins. We expect an influx of visitors headed to several regions across New York State to witness this extraordinary cosmic event.”
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “While New Yorkers and visitors alike prepare to enjoy what promises to be a memorable event, it is important to keep health and safety in mind. In particular, take precautions to prevent solar retinopathy and wear an appropriate solar filter, like eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. We are excited to be collaborating with our state and local partners to help make this once-in-a-generation eclipse a safe and wonderful experience for all who observe it.”
New York State Department of Public Service Chair Rory M. Christian said, “As the regulator of the state’s electric grid, we have been working closely with New York’s utilities since early last year regarding utility preparations and pre-event actions that will be taken to ensure utilities are able to maintain safe and reliable services as well as implement any contingency plans necessary to respond to emergent situations during a period of high traffic and potential congestion on roadways in Western and Upstate New York. As a member of the NYS Solar Eclipse Task Force created by Governor Hochul, we are confident that all possible contingency planning has been taken, and we look forward to joining New York as we enjoy this outstanding natural event.”