★ Thin clouds moved over the morning sky. The air was cool and humid; the sun hung around for awhile, making shadows fade in and out. The clouds thickened and rumpled. By afternoon it was chilly up on the roof. A young man held onto a walk/don't walk sign and dangled from it for a photographer. His ankles were bare but he wore a knit hat. A couple of actors walked down Prince Street, hand in hand, with a camera and a crew retreating before them, undeterred by the lack of autumnal brilliance. The grays in the clouds, darker under lighter, gave way at sunset to an unexpected flood of pink.
★ The air through the windows was cooler in temperature than the suffocating, humid air indoors, but it was too damp to ease the discomfort. A few outriders from the climate-change march were lined up on one side of Broadway, opposite the people still lined up to consume the new obsolescence-making, resource-intensive high-end mobile phones. The light gray thickness in the atmosphere was not really misty; there was nothing mysterious or enchanting about its effects, just a faded Empire State Building looking down toward the markets of Grand Street. Sweltering though it was, the TV personality crossing Broadway back uptown wore a trim glen plaid suit buttoned, with a necktie, as [...]
★★ A flake of gold reflected briefly from somewhere, in the gray morning. Then rain took over, dutifully, on schedule. The expected end came and the clouds lifted in the west. The showers, successfully outwaited, had left sheets of water on the pavement, and the east was still gray. A rich blue opening appeared in the clouds above the stairs into the subway, and the subway stairs downtown ascended into sunlight. Pebbles in the wet sidewalk concrete glittered. But an hour or two later, dirty clouds had still not surrendered the north, even as the full sun grew warm and edged toward being hot. Another hour, and gloom had overtaken [...]
★ Not only did it not conform to any fixed ideas of what other day it might resemble, it would not even conform to itself. The morning sky was a softly rumpled gray, with cool air coming through the windows and the floors feeling damp under bare feet. Little openings of blue passed now and again, moving north fairly quickly. The ropes of the waterproofing crew's rig swayed darkly back and forth across the windows. A moment of sun passed, and the air got more and more stuffy. By the end of the school day, the cloud cover had come apart into streaks and ripples of white on blue. Then came [...]
★★★★★ The river was crushed-velvet blue. Broken, dry leaves blew in a cloud around the street sweeping truck. It surged ahead or sagged to a halt, as the cars did or did not scatter for it, its roar reverberating under the scaffolding. Being in the sun was a bit too warm, after the exertions of prying a clinging first-day-of-preschooler off one leg. Loose, white clouds were moving fast, northeast to southwest, making the higher cirrus look like it was in retrograde motion. Evaporative cooling was going on in the hollows of the elbows. Afternoon brought a gray sky with gray clouds under it in the east, and white clouds under gray [...]
★★★★ Smells moved individually on the air currents, rather than hanging together in one stale accumulated stench. The sun had a little sharpness to it, but high clouds screened the worst of it and it no longer had the angles to unleash its full power. Summer's late bid at awfulness had collapsed like all its previous attempts. The roof was pleasantly warm, mingling with moments of pleasant coolness. Ample late light reflected gold here, copper there. Only in the subway platforms and the apartment building's back hallway was the air still close and hot.
★★★ It was not hot yet on the way to nine in the morning, over wet, newly washed sidewalks. The air had gotten clearer overnight; the sky was a sharp blue. Cigarette smoke floated in the early light on 81st Street. The heat and haze came on, but with no power to chase people away. A group sat in the shade in the not-really public park with food, a stroller, a little dog in a harness. The tops of the honeylocusts in the sun were a green fluffy line going down the street. The clouds were blurry and discolored, even relatively high in the sky to the north. The warmth stayed [...]
★★★★★ The three-year-old had to be argued out of shorts and into a pair of corduroys to face the morning chill. It was sneezingly bright; two passersby pressed their index fingers across their upper lips. Bicycle bells, chromed fenders, and handlebars glittered, crowded together, along Lafayette. The chill lost its sharpness, but the light remained keen. On the walk up the fire escape, the accompanying shadow walked up the side of the next building. Bright window reflections stood on the eastern and northern faces of buildings–low and high, downtown and uptown, afternoon gold darkening to late red.
★★★★ Denim and sunglasses everywhere. Cartons and backpacks and other baggage were lined up in the morning sun against the side wall of the Apple Store. It was abundantly bright, bright enough for some eyestrain, and fully qualified as warm. In the middle of the afternoon, a gray-infused mass of cloud wandered into the scene, cooling things for a while. Then it wandered off somewhere, and left Washington Square Park in strong sun again, for the drummers and the shirtless. A pigeon fluffed its feathers and contemplated a flock of fabric pigeon-sculptures feeding on invisible food. By evening, the Apple Store line was populated and stretched around the block. The sun [...]
★★★★★ A dark moth had blundered in on the night air. It made its way back across the living room, encouraged by an old newspaper section, and tried to escape into daylight in the little blind glass space where the sliding windows overlapped, a child-safe distance. The strong sideways light was like a drumroll, like a ping-pong volley between two good players who aren't good enough to finish one another. The sky was clear blue, not a deep and piercing blue yet. By afternoon it had deepened a little. A little chill held on in the warm direct sun. Shadows directly preceded footfalls going uptown. The fountains in Columbus Circle seemed [...]
★★★★ Pigeons were bathing in the top of the fountain, getting into it, coming up drenched and ruffled. The sky was blue but with a discoloring haze low down it it. Some squares of the sidewalk had a shine on them. Long sleeves felt appropriate, though evidently so did shorts. It was too soon for jeans. Unexpected dirty gray cumulus intruded on the nice sky—looming to the east, lurking behind water towers to the north. A grubby cloud was nearly overhead while the grim fanatics and the agitated counterfanatics took up their positions on the street corners. Warm enough for skivvies, or for gender-nonconforming scanty things. The event moved on; the clouds went back to healthy [...]
★★★★ The sky was a heartening blue, with a little dingy blue haze lower down. A cool breeze pushed into the apartment lobby, but the sun out on the avenues turned out to be hottish. In the Park, on the Sheep Meadow, the sawtooth oak sheltered its recurring rain puddle, but the turf was nearly dry. Amid the conflicting agendas, the two-year-old's desire to go to the tots' playground turned out to be the wisest, microclimate-wise. Sprinkler posts made a puddle and sent water trickling down the entrance path. The two-year-old climbed up the shiny tube slide, with reflected light filling his face. He knocked his head on the top a couple [...]
[No stars] The long-lost dog days had trotted up to the door, weeks late and unapologetic, smelling of decayed things they'd rolled in. Overhead was a bleary mix of haze and thin unbounded cloud. A blinding glare reflected off oncoming cars and the surface of a grime-speckled curbside puddle. Production-crew workers were sticking greenery into the chain-link fence around the non-public garden, till it combined with the flourishing street trees to present a sinister jungle lushness. By midday the sky had settled out into blue and white, and the heat had not gone much beyond the earlier unpleasantness. Visible haze had abated at rush hour, but the air was thick and dead. Down in [...]
★★★ Haze stained the edge of the sky. The two-year-old decided he wanted a sweatshirt, and had to be talked into settling for putting it in his backpack. The air was thicker and more difficult to breathe than it had been for weeks. By any standard other than the blissfully anomalous one of the preceding weeks, though, conditions were still gentle. The subway platform was not quite stifling, but the blast of air from an incoming train felt refreshing. The air conditioning on the crowded 1 was up to the task, by a narrow margin. On the D, condensation dripped and puddled on a seat. Aboveground was nicer than below. The [...]
★★★★★ White, blowing clouds streaked the blue overhead like images of the planet from space. Litter blew along the base of the wall at the foot of the fountain. Even the littlest shreds of cloud, tattered and curling on themselves, were bright and solid-looking. Two women went by wearing scarves–lightweight decorative ones, but wrapped like mufflers. The sun warmed and dazzled the spaces it could find between the high-rises. Wind brushed softly through the still-green leaves. Getting to the river in the afternoon promised more sun, but also the brunt of the breeze. It turned out to be the warmth that prevailed. Later, lower light glowed in the trees and [...]
★★★★★ The sun was a grand, universal spotlight, raising a glow from the fair hair of a child in a stroller, the white hair of a woman nearby, the creamy top of a panama hat crossing the street. Cornices cast grave and solid shadows. A fried egg tilted atop a sandwich or burger on a sidewalk table. The shift-changing taxis scattered an orange-yellow glow over the gas station lot. A rat worked its way along the dry and only slightly littered rail bed of the uptown B/D, ignoring the soggy garbage lake on the downtown side. Had it rained recently? Was it even possible, rain? Topside, at rush hour, the [...]
★★★★★ Cool, fresh air through the window vied with frying bacon and won. The children were in long pants, newly sorted through to account for a summer of growth. The clarity out the window was prodigious, unreal, like eagle vision. A dignified old brown-brick apartment building, stair-stepping as it rose, stood out deep and solid among its flatter-faced neighbors. What was the light, the two-year-old asked, standing on the radiator cover, gesturing southward: six or eight blocks away, a tiny bright orange pinprick. It took binoculars to identify it as an ordinary sodium security lamp, burning in the dark shade of a rooftop superstructure. And far beyond that, what looked like the [...]
★★ Whatever else it was (gray, principally), here was something new for the season: an intimation not of sparkly autumn but of the deep damp chill behind it. A flight of purple clouds in the west lingered a good while after sunup before yielding to a general overcast. Then a soaking undramatic rain fell in the middle of the afternoon. The smell of wet live greenery, available still, was on the air at rush hour. Shoe soles slipped on the pavement. Uptown it was drier underfoot, the clouds darker but looking less like rain.
★★ The coolness was gone again, even at eight in the morning. Teens abled with their backpacks and another teen with a backpack hurried to catch up. A napkin flapped down to the plaza in the clear light. Cirrus clouds wisped this way and that on the sky. In the evening, a breeze pushed back on the way down into the subway steps, sustained like the air coming over a sailboat's prow. No such wind reached the midblock stretches east of Penn Station, becalmed in the oncoming dark.
★★★ Mist gathered on the windshield of the car and trickled up it in the darkness. The wipers swept it clear and it accumulated again. Orion and Sirius were up in the sky. Off to the left, down low, the sky was beginning to lighten. It grew brighter on one side of the air terminal, ever-lighter blue streaked with lilac. The lilac turned bright pink, then pale pink. Beyond the parking garage, swirls of orange and purple were forming. Out the water-streaked window of the shabby old regional jet, white edges started to show. The plane taxied past what looked like the previous night's unused plane, then cleared the end of [...]