★★★★ The morning looked floodlit. A couple passed with their runners' bibs flapping in the breeze. People were facing the chill in everything from scarves to a short-sleeved sportshirt, tucked in. Two men—or maybe one man twice, coming and going—had chosen the blue and greenish yellow of a Boston Marathon jacket. In the evening, the river was glassy under pearl sky; a green willow, framed under the elevated highway and between buildings, swayed southward against the bright water.
★★★★ The breeze had the gentlest of bites to it, like a baby ring-necked snake trying to chomp on a knuckle. Clouds passed. Blue daylight shone on the express tracks. Downtown, on a corner, the air had blown through a wire trash basket and prolapsed the bag, so it billowed and swayed inside-out on the top. By late day, humidity had arrived, and haze put a touch of soft focus over everything. Blossoms had found their way even to barren Amsterdam.
★★★ The cool grayness was a soothing change, at first. The temperature and intensity of everything had lowered a little. With every hour that the warm days receded, as the light never changed, the novelty wore off: the chill was just chilly, the dimness was just dim. In the neutral late light, a film crew was out shooting a woman emoting in a doorway, and a photographer was shooting with a long lens at a couple walking stagily down a street. The book tables on Broadway were battened down, and the view ahead looked somehow smoky, like an oncoming wall of rain, though on inspection it was still clear and dry. [...]
★★★★★ Sparrows were singing from the traffic lights, perched on the tubular cross-braces atop the posts. A morning glow filled the street; two daffodils were up in the beds behind the scaffolding. A man on the train was wearing flip-flops, though there were still puffy jackets on the platform. The bodega flowers smelled like flowers. A sunbeam fell on a red bicycle. In the treetops, buds were opening, a tentative tan. Men wore suits easily, without coats; other men, on the same sidewalks, carried skateboards pointing up and down.
★★★ The wind tousled hair or whipped it around. On the steps up from the subway, warm air contended with and briefly edged out the chill. Out on the street, though, fingers went numb. Sparrows chattered in the shelter of the bushes behind the shelter of the netted scaffolding. One tiny wayward puff of cloud crossed above the avenue. The doorman scooped up a windblown cardboard box and made small talk about how cold it was. Winter, practically, still. In the night, the full Dipper stood over Broadway and Amsterdam, every star of it shining, if you looked up between streetlights.
★★★ The morning was tinted with haze and mild enough to be a little startling. Dress shoes clicked along the sidewalk, past flowerbeds of tulips sprouting, tulips budding, and then tulips in bloom, red and pointy-edged ones. A chilly gust tumbled through the churchyard as the children emerged and scattered, avid for eggs. An overlooked prize glimmered in the ground cover, inches or less from being stepped on. The haze was becoming clouds, and then the clouds were becoming thicker. In the afternoon, the toddler watched and pointed at the airplanes passing, deep gray against the medium gray. Droplets streaked the windows as the daylight and the dryness gave out together, [...]
★★★★★ Yesterday's mud-spatter glittered on the toes of the boots. Under the gray, away along the cross street, a golden glow was coming through. Downtown, the covering was starting to rumple and come apart, glowing white seams and clear blue ones opening to the east and overhead. Lingering rain-grit crunched underfoot on Franklin Street. One boot grazed the red synthetic back of a chair in the jury waiting room, leaving a powdery smudge like a squashed moth. In the murals around the top of the walls, well-proportioned pink-gold cumulus clouds marched above city landmarks. Straight ahead was Grant's Tomb. High up and off to the right, beyond the painted sky [...]
★★ The sky was solidly overcast, but the glare made it hard to look at. The wind was pushing darkness and unpleasantness into the middle of the day. It must have rained, while other things were going on; the door out of the office led to wet ground and chilly air. A dropped scarf lay in the street. The sidewalks smelled but the water in the gutters had been rinsed cleaner. Gratuitous light-wasting decorations on top of an apartment building left twin spots on the low clouds in the night.
★★★★ The spots on the starlings were starry, for once, under the white noon, as they pecked on a not-quite-established patch of grass in the garden. In the crosswalks of Midtown, the people-to-vehicles ratio was unfavorable to getting anywhere by taxi. People ate at sidewalk tables with their coats on, in the mirrored light. The white had turned blue, with the pale crescent moon straight overhead in midafternoon. The breeze was changeable but never too heavy; the blooming trees now dappled the sunlight. Clouds rippled, then arrayed themselves in long parallel rows. The sunset light off buildings uptown was lurid enough to interrupt dinner, for a look at the still-more-lurid west.
★★★★ In the span of less than 15 minutes, the morning clouds cracked apart and blew away. Daffodils in the building's side garden were toppling over under their own weight. On Broadway, a man in a black ball cap was lettering "HomeLess" in outline on a fresh piece of cardboard. A half-dozen Mormon missionaries, in neckties and shirtsleeves, were gathered on the subway platform. Downtown, an immense model's cleavage was coming unzipped in her bathing suit, up against the water towers and the sky. By late day, on the way out of the office, drops were falling from a bright sky; uptown, after a train ride, the contradiction had resolved itself [...]
★★★★ A ragged, eroding island of cloud covered the occupied island below in early afternoon shadow, the latest standoff between irregular gray and weak blue. Away to the west, New Jersey seemed to be in the clear. Peonies with rusty, wilting edges on their petals crowded a sidewalk bucket. People walked slowly and obstructively. Were they enjoying the day or lingering to wait for the day to become enjoyable? A gust of hot air from a kitchen duct broke the chill, at the price of foulness. An elderly man in a tan topcoat, sitting on a red motorized scooter, rattled a change cup. Later, the sun was warm on the cheeks [...]
★★★★ Helicopters and small planes buzzed above the brown river. An aluminum sawhorse barricade skittered a few inches in the wind. It was cold, measurably and palpably cold, yet somehow not cold-cold; the underlying chill was gone. A youth in full baseball uniform, royal blue socks pulled up high, thumped a ball over and over into his glove as he waited on the subway platform. The wind hissed through bamboo on the pedestrian stretch of Rivington Street. The Chrysler Building stood, the color of dead oak leaves, in its own individual patch of cloud-shade. The sunlight was as deep and full as the cold was shallow. Light flickered through the branches [...]
★★ A spot of sun appeared in the distance up the block, then disappeared in a few paces. Another bright spot appeared, glinting off a bald man's scalp. Then dull cloud prevailed again, relying on the averages. Something damp had fallen sometime before evening; Catholics in gray hoodies were out canvassing passersby about their Catholicism. Under a tentatively clearing sky by the Flatiron, in the roadway given over to pedestrians, people crowded around to photograph a statue of a bird, made of iron nails and wrought representations of nails.
★ Trash blew in a flat loop two or three feet off the ground, occasionally dipping to skim the pavement. Grit flew at the eyes. The snowflakes could be felt at the top of the subway steps several seconds before they came into focus. A little girl pulled her scarf up over her nose, then her eyes, leaning blindly into the woman she was walking with. The snow went over to a fine, unappealing rain, under summery-looking uneven gray clouds. A man in a fitted tan jacket walked under an umbrella, close beside a man in a fitted quilted blue jacket with water puddling on the shoulders. Down in the [...]
★★★★★ Outdoors was better than indoors. The humidity had worked its way into the apartment and gotten stuck there: Moving around was like pushing through a shower curtain, and the clothes from the washer lay on the rack without drying. Outside, though, was gleaming. Leaves were out on the little trees on the Broadway median, and pale green new growth spread over the shrubbery. Down on Grand Street, where the subway exit fed onto the sidewalk, the massed humanity caught on the projecting fruit stands and slowed to near immobility. A little boy crouched down to peer through a flap cut in the mesh over a construction fence, at a parked [...]
★★★★ Pear blossoms spread up and out, anticipating the forces that will some future day split each pear tree apart. The light was precise. A truck crane's red arm stood out against the blue, over a crew working on a roof. Stains surrounded the newly emptied trash cans. It was chilly, not too chilly, no matter which jacket you wore, or if you wore none at all. Carnegie Hall shone pink in its slot among buildings, and the smell of carriage-horse dung carried down from the Park. Motorcycles blared their way through the echoing facades of Midtown. People flowed through the streets, out in the day. Almost no one looked, in [...]
★★★★★ An overwhelming silver glare and an oceanic breeze filled the morning, as if the night had been a plane flight to some different latitude and continent. There should have been magpies or hoopoes. The 1 train smelled of sweat and grooming products, and why have taken it at all? On the B, the necessary train, the bubbling jabber of an unseen flock of children carried from the far end of the car. Downtown, in the warmth and shade of a quiet street, it was no longer Kowloon but a summer sidewalk in Baltimore, the 1970s. Other days came back in fragments–now the roof, in the damp wind, was briefly a [...]
★★ More stale, attenuated winter. The thinnest of clouds smudged the dome overhead. It was time to switch to the lighter coat, but to zip it up. The sky whitened as the afternoon expired; a man on a sidewalk bench put a bookmark in a book and departed. The light was neutral, featureless, a forgotten cup of tea. Evening went to night; beer got spilled on the coat. The smell of smoke carried up Houston Street with the taxicabs.
★★ The early sun was brightish but on a dimmer, and a chillier-than-expected breeze pushed up the avenue. Over the mouth of the subway exit, the sky was white and hard to look at; the spires of downtown, City Hall and the Gehry luxury tower and the rest, shaded away in the enchanted glow of their various fairytales. Flecks of light glittered on the asphalt-caked scoop of a backhoe parked expectantly at the curb. By late afternoon, the sky was not so much raining as it was dripping. Water crept up to darken the hems of a woman's flowing, poppy-colored pants. Up in the 60s, the dimmer was turning the other [...]
★★★★ Sun and returning sun lit parked cars front and rear. A lumpy oval of shadow stood alone on the ground between two vehicles, touching neither, the Venn diagram of nearly invisible eastbound and westbound penumbras. In a Bowery crosswalk, raised letters on a dark steel plate spelled out HALCYON in silver. Where shade held out, in the middle of blocks running uptown-downtown, it was chilly. Late in the day, over Broadway, the sky simultaneously reflected off of and shone through the all-glass corner of an apartment tower.