New York City, February 25. 2013

★★★ The decorative box on a water tank was briefly a beacon of flame, then subsided once again into anonymizing skim-milk-blue glass on the uptown skyline. Was the urge to step lively a response to abundant light, or to the still-pressing cold? Men had ventured canvas sneakers, one pair of checkered slip-ons, even; outside the bodega were bunches of cut daffodils. Maybe they’d been out there for weeks, from some industrial hothouse. The temperature would never climb the last few degrees beyond the seasonable. The averaged-out late light was gray, but there was color in the clouds if you looked up for it. Rosy beams carved out Stanford White’s cornice and brickwork at the top of the Cable Building, while the ground-floor Crate & Barrel lay in shadow.