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Watertown falls into darkness as solar eclipse hits Northern New York

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — A day Northern New York will never forget.

April 8, 2024, brought a total solar eclipse to many parts of North America, including Watertown, New York. The small northern city was in the direct path of totality for the natural phenomenon, which attracted thousands of visitors.

The City held a large-scale viewing event at its historic Thompson Park. Roads surrounding the park shut down early in the day to accommodate the crowds.

Although a one-day event, Watertown had been making preparations for over a year. Mayor Sarah Compo-Pierce expressed that the hard work paid off.

“We have had so far nothing but excellent reviews from our visitors, many of whom had said: ‘You know, I look forward to coming back to Watertown,’” Compo-Pierce explained. “So that’s exactly what we’re looking forward to happening. And it’s great to see that actually take place.” 

Thompson Park had thousands of visitors, who sat on kite hill. Totality hit the city just before 3:30 p.m., which brought excitement as the skies darkened.

Doug Bayne from New Jersey was one of the many eager visitors. Bayne brought most of his extended family, including his daughter Casey, and a massive telescope to Watertown to see this moment.

“Everyone was just in disbelief, like screaming,” Casey expressed. “It was just like, crazy how quickly the darkness came up and how it just dropped. Like, got super cold. And it was it was just amazing.”

This reaction was common for all who saw totality, and many sat in disbelief.

Over 40 students from the Susan E. Wagner High School in Staten Island, New York, made the seven-hour drive to share this experience.

“It’s definitely once in a lifetime. It was like it was awesome to be here with my friends as well,” two students shared. “Great teachers, great classes. I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life. The entire sky got dark. It was like there was like a ring around the sun. It was. It was cool.”

And although the skies were cloudy during the beginning of the eclipse, it was a moment many will never forget.

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