★★ Thin new snow clung to the walkway that led from the construction elevator to the top of the tower, and coated the cars down below. In the cross-street shade, some of the windshield ice lasted into midday. A few daffodils were out in the sidewalk planters, and they seemed to be flinching. A bus lumbered right into a curbside puddle, splashing a stroller. A track fire at Columbus Circle had stopped the 1 trains, but the sun up Broadway, on the forced walk, couldn't help but feel warm. It was no substitute for a genuinely pleasant spring day, though, with more than half of April gone. The afternoon light glowed prettily [...]
★★★★★ Sun came in high through the leafless street trees and went glancing everywhere. The waters of the New Jersey wetlands were lightly ruffled. Someone's large-screen portable device caught the light and sent a retina-hurting beam across the train car. The phragmites and the trees and the gravel of the rail bed were all brown. A few miles later, dustings of pale green began flashing by, and trees were tipped with red. Somewhere before Princeton, the lawns were green. Deer grazed on a field fuzzed green with new growth. The green smudges became patches; the patches became swaths. On the way into 30th Street Station, broken glass twinkled on the embankment. [...]
★★★ Falsely promising. The light sparkled on the waterslides atop the cruise ship docked downriver. Helicopters went up and down the airway above the Hudson, with the sun either showing off their color or showing off their somber featurelessness. The thin wool coat was simultaneously too warm and not warm enough, as heat bounced up off the sidewalk and a cold breeze blew. Motorcycles throbbed at a stoplight on Amsterdam, then roared away, only to have the hindmost one caught at the following light. Pedestrian traffic overtook it as it waited. The light changed and it rumbled ahead again, but no further than the next uncooperative green.
★ Fog lay over Amsterdam Avenue, up on the building tops and lowering to cover the whole roadway in the distance, but at least it wasn't raining. Outside was raw and indoors was humid and stifling, but at least it wasn't raining. Then it was drizzling, but at least it wasn't raining hard. At least it wasn't freezing. The narrow points of gratitude were adding up to resentment. Down on Herald Square, the wind was colder but no less drizzle-laden. Uptown again, there was more of the same. A rat walked unhurriedly along the not-even-dampened sidewalk, in broad if gray daylight, but to be fair, it was a very small rat.
★★ The wind early on was not necessarily wintry by the thermometer, but there was nothing springlike about it. The sky was flat gray and the river even flatter—the latter the color of off-white paint, as if someone had worked in the details of the New Jersey and Manhattan skyline and had yet to fill in the horizontal band between them. Two flaring white spots marked the late sun, then a blurry square. At last, the sun descended to reach a band of clear sky in the west, and simultaneously the clouds at the zenith dissolved to blue, with only shred of white remaining; beams of hot golden light bounced from [...]
★★ The sky was a hopeless gray. "I'm glad I'm not marching," one man said to another, as his dog urinated on a scaffold post. "I'm glad I'm not in a kilt," the other said. The piston-gusts of an uptown 2 and a 1 were frigid along the platform. People clutched hot beverages, or possibly other beverages in hot beverage cups. Who could tell? Babies or overindulged small dogs were bulges of fabric, on or inside outerwear. Later in the day, the clouds had acquired a little texture, light-medium gray against light gray. Then, in the night, they had come apart. One sheet, with the round just-past-full moon showing through it, [...]
★ Droplets were falling from somewhere, under the bright and scattered morning sun. Maybe from the construction work at the top of the still-growing tower. The clouds thickened from a filter to an obstruction; the day grew visibly grayer and palpably colder, a fact too bleak to even accept. Here was a March reversal without the least bit of drama or flair, just a steady decline. By midday a preemptive dampness lay over everything, a preview of the drenching that couldn't not be on its way. At the work day's end, the soaking rain had arrived, in drops fine enough to allow one last attempt at delusion–despite the water beading on [...]
★ There had been, at bedtime, one bright planet or star in the sky, but when the alarm went off before 3 a.m., all there was to be seen in the west was the quotidian rust-red glow of city lights off the cloud cover. Little lighter-orange bits of cloud blew along under the main mass. Could the moon, entering its eclipse, still possibly be discernible, maybe off behind a building? It was not worth going out into the dark to see. Certainly by dawn, the clouds were not even admitting a glimpse of the sun. Light rain dampened the dull scenery; people bothered with umbrellas, out of something less than necessity. [...]
★★★★ Someone found it irresistible to start jackhammering in the earliest daylight. Downtown, a woman in a light dress and broad-brimmed hat posed for a photograph in the bicycle lane, after pausing for a cyclist to go by. The sun backlit the clouds into fierce whiteness–white puffy cumulus clouds and clustered white shreds, as if a whole cloud had exploded or been shot out of the sky. A brick-scattered glow filled the six o'clock streets, and the wind had a gently autumnal bite.
★★ Not at all bitter, but still devoid of the least bit of sweetness. A dark gray morning passed through a listlessly rainy midday into a bright, clear afternoon and evening, but none of it made a difference. Even in the stifling height of summer, when the trash-rot hangs on the sodden air, who will long for this endless unwarmth? The children came home from the Park, happy enough, scattering sand from their shoes, carrying sand somehow into the middle of the bedclothes in the furthest part of the apartment. The late light was soft and lovely, and so what?
★ The overstaying winter had switched again from cloudy and too cold to bright and too cold, as if that would make it appealing. Steam blew from the street chimney and people moved about in heavy coats under the high-angled sun, like a movie scene being staged out of season. Wind clawed at a man's lightweight dress trousers as he walked down Lafayette, his hands jammed so forcefully into his jacket pockets that the quilted fabric bunched up across the small of his back. The wind was numbing, shoving walkers around like a tired mime routine, made no less tired by being real.
★★ The gray broke up, and blue showed through the perforations in the shade. Now the furniture delivery was early, but it was warm enough in the sun to rush out in a hoodie. Out on the river, a cloud cast a shadow, one patch of darkness. Then more clouds cast more shadows. They blew away again, returned again. Midday, under the cloud cover, it felt colder than it had been three hours before. A proper coat was a little stifling on the trunk, while the extremities were still chilled. There was no right way to be out in it.
★ The bright, brittle morning gradually lost its only attractive aspect, so that having waited to face the cold meant facing it without any redeeming aspects. The intense sun faded to a white blur under clouds, over a late day devoid of highlight and shadow. Drafts came up under the bottom of the parka, carelessly thrown on without an underjacket. The sidewalk merchandise table had a full row of green ball caps, while the only green knit hat in sight was on the head form modeling it.
★★★★ Cirrus clouds slid along the sky at a noticeable but unhurried pace. Birds were singing. Hazy and dazzling morning sun glinted on the little smooth grains in the sidewalk concrete. Down in the subway station, out of the bouncing light, there was a deep, lingering chill. It was worth overshooting Broadway/Lafayette to walk up from Grand Street with a cup of Hong Kong tea. The light hit the trees above Kenmare and discovered shades of green emerging from the brown of their upper branches. People sat out at sidewalk tables in the afternoon, wearing light jackets. A man crossed Prince Street wearing flower-print shorts and boat shoes without socks. A [...]
★★★★ The morning air was damp and smelled of the Chesapeake, a minimum of five miles away. Diffuse sun cast soft-edged shadows. The daffodils were up, and the hyacinths, and the forsythia was starting to blossom. A goldfinch was in full yellow now. Out on the highway was chalky brightness; the tunnel and then the Arena garage were befuddlingly dim by contrast. At eddies and crosscurrents to the orange southerly flow of pedestrians, there were cheerleaders in light-catching spangles and oversized hair bows, heading for the convention center. Meanwhile in with the orange were the fluorescent green-yellow sashes of the safety patrol, for Safety Patrol Day. The ramp to the upper [...]
★★★★ Through the cool morning drizzle and mist, the shoe-repair shop was already showing an OPEN sign, ready to sell a replacement shoelace for the first-grader's earlier replacement shoelace, which had already exploded into parallel strands at one end. A thin film of water covered the concrete of the schoolyard, where a gravely misplaced earthworm slowly and intermittently twitched, first one end and then the other. The rain stopped; the partly built new scaffolding around the building kept its share of sidewalk damp well after the rest had dried out. The sun came through, and the clouds, now separated, formed a pixelated clouds-and-sky image in the north face of the glass [...]
★★★★ First thing, out the window, white flakes were falling on a sharp diagonal. Again, again, and still: snow. One spasm—one last spasm?—of horribleness. Then blue skies blew in, first with decorative white clouds and then pristine, innocent, as free of malice as a child is, when the child is not being malicious. The office roof deck was closed, but it was good enough to go out on the fire escape, coatless. On Lafayette Street, the late light caught choking, gritty clouds of dust raised by traffic on the torn-up roadway.
★★★ Everything lay in brilliantly sharp focus, the colors clear and saturated. The brightness was no compensation for the biting cold—now plainly and a little ridiculously out of season—but on its own terms, it was a thrilling sight. A dog went skidding on the dry pavement, unwilling, as its leash-holder detoured to throw something in a trashcan. A woman wore a scarf as a babushka, with her mobile phone tied against her face so she could talk on it. The light gleamed on the chrome of the production trailers using up all the space where the moving van was supposed to go. At dinnertime, the toddler pointed up to the Mormons' [...]
★★★ The plastic sheeting over the upper middle floors of the rising tower showed sharp wrinkle lines in the sun, like unpressed linen. Only a little haze downriver discolored the blue. A squarish piece of clear airborne litter danced with its reflection, rocking and flipping and flashing, up the side of the mirrored glass apartment building next to the construction site. It floated out of sight. The bare new apartment was cold, with nothing to do in it. Gleaming cement mixers came and went on the avenue below, and the furniture truck did not. It was cold even with a parka on. It was cold with the heater on, once the [...]
[No stars] A smack in the face, after a night of thumping and creaking wind. The children's gloves and mittens had to be relocated, but at least the inventory of clean sweaters had built up again. Threads of white showed on the river. The preschooler, who'd shaken off his mittens for the sake of carrying a toy car in his bare hand, relented after half a block and allowed the mittens to be put back on. Then he wanted a shoulder ride. Walking the back side of Trumpville with him up there was like driving an empty rental truck over a bridge in a crosswind. The gusts pushed the feet [...]