Weather Reviews
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New York City, March 13, 2014

[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 [...]

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New York City, March 10, 2014

★★★ The clouds and the clock shift made it a labor even to begin the day. The effort was rewarded with the sight of snow roiling everywhere, fine flakes surging over the landscape. Then, like changing the channel, it was gone, back to the uneventful and slowly fading gray. Out on the Broadway median, in the strengthening light, a worker with a blower blasted clouds of dust and old leaves out of the crevice behind the benches. The sun took over. Cirrus, in fluffy fibers like the pile of a sheepskin rug,  spread out. Some scarves and hats were still on, against the last traces of the chill. The late daylight [...]

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New York City, March 5, 2014

★★★ Starlings scuttled in the curbside trash, picking at the ruins of discarded pink-frosted cupcakes. The northern sky was patterned, mostly white on a broken field of blue. The east was still mother-of-pearl. The schoolyard was a salt flat. One of the more rambunctious boys was seeing how long he could hop on one foot, with a partner held the other, before falling. He kept trying till both knees of his trousers were streaked with salt. The sun came on stronger. Goodbye, for now, to the hulking parka. There was an intimation of spring in the angle and the quantity of light, but the wind was still cold. A nice February [...]

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New York City, March 2, 2014

★ Overlaid on the all-day gray of the sky was a diffuse and nonspecific discoloration, like an old bruise. The toddler spotted the snow first, toward day's end. Fine flakes began blowing down at an angle, and something even less visible was falling among them at an angle closer to plumb. And then even as the threat seemed to be coming true, it subsided. Out in the fading light, the continuing snow was too fine to see, a prickling on the forehead. The bread supply at the Fairway was intact; the aisles were relatively calm. On the way back, the snow was weaker still. The dread of winter was near exhausted. [...]

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New York City, February 25, 2014

★★★ An overbred German Shepherd or something related slunk out the side door of a high-rise, wearing protective booties that made its squashed hindquarters appear even more crippled. A powerful gray sameness lay over everything, so that even the sun was nothing but a pale round spot. A speck of something white drifted by, a snowflake or a bit of garbage? Then a tiny wet flick just below one eye, and another solitary white spec against a dark background: the most tentative of flurries, like the first post-Thanksgiving attempts at winter. A customer traced a star with a finger in the fogged-over window of the corner bodega. The Citibike rack down [...]

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New York City, February 20, 2014

★★★ Contrails were all around, spreading out or meandering or being laid down sharp and fresh in the direction of Newark. By now some of the snowbanks had flattened into sheets or comforters, their undercut edges floating a quarter inch above the sidewalk. A row of overlapping concentric ripples collided in the long puddle at the edge of a scaffold, under a constant barrage of dripwater. A skunk smell floated up Lafayette in the vicinity of the lined-up skate-wear shoppers. Misery was in full retreat. On the way back in the evening, the water was still splatting from the same scaffold, undiminished.

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Aberdeen, Maryland to New York City, February 17, 2014

★★★★ Through the western trees, the descending moon was fat and yellow-white. It was still dark, but the dog was whining and the birds were chirping. After an interlude of not very long, the toddler started chirping too, from the other side of the house. He wanted to see the moon out of the windows there, where it had been at bedtime, but had to settle for the sun. Back to the west, pink and tangerine light was in the tops of the drab trees, quickly descending the limbs and trunks. The colorless sky turned a saturated blue. Outside on the feeders and branches and the fence, over the yard full [...]

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New York City, March 12, 2014

★ 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 [...]

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New York City, March 9, 2014

★★★★ An uptilted oval of cloud balanced itself low down in an egg-blue sky. More white puffs moved in and out again, the leisurely theater of the heavens. Sharp light and a brisk breeze came up the avenue together. Pale pigeons nibbled at birdseed on the sidewalk, and a passing boy kicked at the pigeons. The day wasn't warm, but it was bright and fine enough to be out in, in then now-displaced afternoon. Now the wind somehow did the trick where it was headed down Broadway but up Amsterdam. It chilled the forehead and stiffened the muscles tightening the eyes against the glare. More pigeons, possibly some of the [...]

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New York City, March 4, 2014

★ The polar air was dismaying, not monstrous as it had been in the previous incursions. A street-sweeping truck raised a solid-looking cloud of dry dust on West End and left it hanging in the crosswalk for a dauntingly long time after the light changed. The sky was the color of salt-dust, too. The sun faded out and in. Pigeons fluffed and waddled in a patch of turf where the deep cold had preserved the last thin snowfall down between the grass blades, as if it were a specimen of long-term significance. Some new kind of blue melting salt was at work on the sidewalks. A pile of dog turds had [...]

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New York City, February 27, 2014

★★ Biting cold, and a sky slightly lighter than medium gray. The gray of a sparsely populated subway platform when every train but the C has already just been through. But a D train came after all, before too long, and the sun began to shine through. Then the sun vanished again and a few snowflakes came twisting down. Half the sky had gone bluer and half darker. Actual brightness came for a while and then faded. People were keeping their hoods up inside the subway station. At Columbus Circle, a wash of even colder air trickled along the 1 platform. At Lincoln Center, snow came blowing down the exit steps, [...]

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New York City, February 24, 2014

★★★ It took some looking, on the first few steps outside, to spot any remnants of snow. The Volkswagen camper that had sat on the block through the storms was melted clean, though still boxed in at the back corner and the street side by dirty plow-ridges. The preschooler, already late to preschool, walked slowly, admiring each passing vehicle. At West End, a plow truck was waiting at the light, its blade jutting up and out and its bed full of salt. Cold wind blew from the west and strong sun shone from the east, so strong that the parka pockets were full of warm air. Crusted garbage lined the sidewalk [...]

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New York City, February 19, 2014

★ Morning was simultaneously mild and raw, the arctic harshness replaced by a damp chill coming off the snowpack. The view from the prospective apartments was mud-colored all around. A BMW, unable to wait behind a garbage truck, pushed through a slush pile and sped the wrong way down a one-way street. The dark gray grew darker, and some sort of rain began to fall and steam on the driveway. The raindrops were splatting, or maybe it was the dripping meltwater that was splatting; the falling wetnesses were undifferentiable and terrible. Downtown, it was a full, drenching rain. Umbrellas were out. The non-rubber boots were wet, the jeans were wet. It [...]

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New York City, February 13, 2014

[No stars] Snow rippled through the air outside the shades like bedsheets being shaken. Clots of slush stuck to the windows. The preschool had robo-called to say that of course it was closed; incredibly or conventionally, the public school was open. The schoolyard, three blocks north, faded into the whiteout. To the south, a stubby little plow cleared a narrow path along the side of the high school, its lights battling the swirling storm. The visibility improved with a little waiting, but it was a deceptive improvement. Instead of big flakes, there were sharp flecks of ice blowing down Amsterdam. "Lovely day," a construction worker said, huddled under the scaffolding, [...]

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New York City, March 11, 2014

★★★★ 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 [...]

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New York City, March 6, 2014

★ Another step backwards into the freezer. In defiance of the early forecasts, the cold was intractable. Bars of reflected light lay partway over the crosswalk like misplaced pavement markings. Hands were gloved, gloved and balled, jammed into pockets. The noontime streets were sparsely peopled. Blood spread over one side of the tongue from a split lip.

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New York City, March 3, 2014

[No stars] The snow, the threatened and promised snow, was not thick enough to have even completely whitened the windshields of the parked cars. There had been a time when it seemed as if this winter would never falter, as if the forecasts would always be as accurate as they were dramatic, as if there were no limit to what could be achieved. Now there it was, a sickly dusting. Wasn't that the long-ago lesson of childhood, that the snow days hardly ever really come? Especially not from the west, was the secret rule, when the extrapolated progress always failed to account for the Appalachians raking the underside out of [...]

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New York City, February 26, 2014

★★★ Fine snow was blowing up through the clogged traffic on Amsterdam. From the 27th floor, only the outline of a cruise ship really backed up the broker's assurance that the river really would be in view out there, somewhere. The flakes turned bigger and quickly put a white layer on everything that wasn't moving and some things, like hoods and coat sleeves, that were. Snow gathered on the railing outside the walkup apartment where that apartment's broker was not. Inside at last, the fifth-floor radiator heat was stupefying. The dead roaches looked well dried. For a moment, the snow seemed to have cleared, but it had just gotten fine again [...]

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New York City, February 23, 2014

★★★★ A crushed rat, a large one, lay in the street, its guts a chopped-looking red pile beside it. The morning was bright and mild; the scaffolds were still dripping. Half-trapped plastic bags stuck out of the dwindling snowbanks, along with every other sort of garbage. Birds sang on the Broadway median. The gutters were mucky. Every transition from the warm sun to the still-chilly shade was a binary switch from pleasant to unpleasant. Someone outside a bistro on the sunny side of the street had gone ahead and hazarded bare legs and a miniskirt. Whole expanses of the schoolyard playground were still surfaced with snow, or with the thick layer [...]

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New York City, February 18, 2014

★ White swirled enthusiastically outside the morning windows, subsided to gray, then went white again before stopping. The construction workers pushed more snow off the top slab of the rising apartment building. Outside, the slush underfoot was gluey. New accumulation highlighted and exaggerated the contours of the old dirty snow piles. Double parkers were giving themselves permission to sit further our in traffic than usual. A steam chimney vented down Central Park West, turning the people clustered outside the Park into an indistinct mass. Only flashing emergency lights and an acrid smell distinguished the scene of a wildly smoking manhole fire from the ubiquitous grayness. At the crosswalks, clambering over the [...]