New York City, February 27, 2013

★★ A dog turd on the rainy pavement was thinning out into a surrounding pool of color, like a glob of burnt-sienna acrylic on a palette. Dabs of it had been foot-painted up the sidewalk going east. The umbrella, tipped forward level to the ground, chattered in the headwind. The oppressive new scaffold on Broadway was welcome shelter. A woman pushed a stroller up onto the curb one-handed, the baby snug under plastic, while her other hand held a broken and flapping umbrella. A morning for the selfish brutes with oversized umbrellas to feel justified. There was no downtown skyline at all—and then, in midafternoon, there was Lower Manhattan again, shining in emergent sunlight, even as the mast of the Empire State Building still jabbed invisibly into gray clouds over midtown. The descent toward evening grew brighter and brighter. A man in a hoodie was out on a corner with a baby strapped to his chest. Pink clouds and blue sky shone in the puddles.