New York City, July 17, 2012

★ ★ ★ A solid peak-summer day, built on clean, baking heat. Late in the afternoon, as the lowering sun poured crosstown from the west, the dazzling glare and the blast of warmth felt united and directional; walking into the solar radiation was like walking into a strong headwind. Simply stepping outside, from frigid office air-conditioning, felt like warming oneself at a hearth as big as all outdoors—a physical relief and a conceptual challenge: what do we gain, on a day like this, by trading nature’s seasonal excesses for technology’s?

Weather ratings range from zero to five stars.