★★ Dimness laced with occasional unexpected colors. Morning was mild, though the sun was weakened by clouds. The air smelled of dampened leaves. Within an hour or two, it was fully overcast, thick and yellowish. The leaves on Prince Street had turned, in their passage through autumn, to the pale green of new spring growth. Spots of pink appeared in the otherwise gloomy late sky. The 1 trains were running 10 or more minutes apart, but walking was a decent enough option, as the clouds went to iodine purple.
★★★★ Seagulls were tiny flecks soaring high in the clear sky, turning from white to black and back again as their bodies alternately caught and blocked the sun. Broadway and Amsterdam was a complicated interchange for light-traffic, different streams of it bouncing downward off high apartment windows or coming low up the avenue through the leaves. The cold was no longer painful or wearying. The pumpkins in the rack outside Fairway had been picked over, but not entirely. The sun was a roving spotlight: setting aglow the hair of one pedestrian at a time in an otherwise shaded block, emphasizing a particular man in a sweatshirt at a particular window table [...]
★★ Marigolds in bloom sat in their planting beds at the feet of honey locusts gone yellow. The sun passed unevenly through a field of white clouds not quite fused together over the blue. For all the sweaters and wool and puffy coats out on the street, the chill had been blunted by late morning, and the air was mild and damp. By early afternoon the sky had grayed over, and isolated drops were falling. Then off it all went, and the chill came on. A couple struggled to bundle a baby into its stroller, among all its baby wrappings.
★★ Gloom prevailed in the morning. People were apparently too downhearted and sluggish to have bent over to pick up their dogs' shit, leaving it to be trampled by commuters. The temperature, though, was faultless, the temperature of dreams, in which clothing is strictly symbolic and capable of being overlooked. Dreamlike too was the persistence of the gloom, a rainy morning without any rain. At last some sun came, and for a while the downtown skyline stood propped up and schematic in gray haze. But the clouds returned and predominated. On the way to the subway, a burst of amplified guitar and a swath of golden light presented themselves in a [...]
★★★★ The children had half-raised the blinds, letting in the copious morning light. The high clouds were a fluctuating filter. There was a little haze, a little breeze. The sun was warm enough to gently cook the abandoned beer and Rioja bottles on the roof, coating their insides with fat droplets. The remains in the glasses were clumping and separating. In the bright sky over the shadowed afternoon streets, a perfect dab of cirrus decorated the zenith. There was a bold streak of cirrus leading away from it, and a charmingly lit and shaded airplane flying medium-low, but nothing beat that one spot of white, precisely overhead. It was weird, it [...]
★★★ A rumpled cloud ceiling cast a Decemberish light over everything, all day, but for one brief passage of pure sun. The breeze was stiff but temperate. It got stiffer and chillier away from the river, for once. The tarp on a scaffold crackled and filled like a sail. Again, in the luminous blue dusk, the clouds could not quite hide the moon.
★ A dispiriting foggy morning became a depressing foggy day—not bad enough to cancel Sunday plans for, but bad enough to make drudgery of them. Nothing brightened, nothing changed. The blowing drizzly mist, as it hit the skin, felt like being sweated onto by some clammy, clingy, invisible stranger.
★★★★ The morning was still dark blue when the toddler started calling out from his crib, but the clock in his room said he wasn't really in the wrong. He permitted himself to be held semi-quietly in the big bed for a few minutes, then climbed out and started hauling on the chain for the shade, hand over hand, till it was all the way up. Helping you, he announced. Boiling orange sunrise reflected in the windows of the old apartment slab to the west, the light not yet obstructed by the rising new tower to the north. By late midday, clouds were intermittently muting the sunlight. An immense, dark bee [...]
★★★ Little leaves and the sharp shadows of little leaves swirled together on the pavement. The toddler, in a hoodie over a hoodie, insisted on riding his scooter to preschool, through the deepening cold toward the river, bearing down on an oncoming sun-struck pedestrian. People seemed to be walking in the sunny half of the sidewalk under the scaffolding. Scarves were out, scarf after scarf in the train car. The clouds in the afternoon sky were attractive cumulus, well spaced and a little elongated. The late light attended to the faces of the buildings like a preservationist. A child wore a stiff pale vest that looked like sheepskin, over a color-saturated [...]
★★★ A restrained autumn chill under unrestrained autumn light. A little lane of sun led away from the apartment building door. The shadow of the stroller stretched far ahead on the slope down toward the river. The sun angled to find the stray stones stuck down inside the sidewalk grate, giving them individual colors and textures, like obscure satellites of outer planets caught on camera. The toddler exclaimed and pointed: the moon, gibbous and faded white, in the sky over the elevated expressway. Downtown, the sun hit one yellow tree, mid-block, in a receding row of green.
★★ Not oppressive but repressed, dim and humid and of indeterminate temperature. It was not cool enough to immediately relieve the heat from a rushed shower and the bustle to get the preschooler out the door. The clouds, a semi-smooth gray, relaxed to a loose white webbing on blue by late morning, only to tighten again. Some blue remained, but the light was only cloud-light.
★★★★ Fallen blossoms lay on the tiles of the lit-up apartment courtyard, open to the still-dark sky. The chill was the same as the chill that had come down after sunset, no deeper. Orion stood over the airport valet-parking dropoff lot. Out the windows of the 737, pre-light traced the shapes of mountains. Then red-orange spots lit the left wall of the cabin—higher up than the right-hand windows—their shapes clipped by the passengers' heads. A coppery glow filled the dimmed cabin, quickly lightening to gold and then on to white. The air on the upslope of the Rockies was "choppy," the PA announced. It was not so choppy that the attendants [...]
★★★★ The clouds interrupted the sun often enough and for just long enough that each interval of light dazzled anew. The air had a distinct, appropriate chill. The screen of Yoko Ono's live sky-video installation, by the Asia Society's elevators, was featureless and without color. A woman walked a pair of little white dogs down Madison, calling to them by name: "Let's go, Isabel!" Sometimes the left dog gleamed brighter, sometimes the right. Another woman, on the phone, announced that it was "kinda warm but kinda cool." People lay out on the rocks in the Park, singly or paired. Sunset brought a deep double streak of maroon and orange on the [...]
★★★★ The air was cooler but heavier than before. Everything looked filmed with dust in the hazy glare from the east. A steady breeze pushed up Lafayette, past the skatewear enthusiasts lining up for yet another new season in the merchandise calendar. The stairwell, without the breeze, was stuffy despite open windows. The clouds grew from wisps to a solid white filter, fading the shadows. The mildness was enticing enough to justify or suggest a long walk for lunch. The white turned gray, continuous and unspectacular, and then the gray turned to dusk.
★★★★ Wool felt a little itchy in the full sun. Dissolving contrails made an X in the downtown sky. It was worth chasing and re-sorting a few wind-scattered pages to get up on the roof in the afternoon light for a while, away from the still lagging office heating system. By now, the hastiness of the day's end felt like real shortchanging. There was no hope that the pink western sky would survive the length of a subway ride. But the sky over the uptown exit was at least a cheery cobalt, something less than full night.
★ Dull and a little raw. Banging from the construction site carried clearly under the cloud cover. Something crunched under a passing tire, sending the pigeons scattering from the street up to the shelter of the back side of a Trump building. The sun was a metallic smear among the clouds for a while, and then it wasn't even that. In the afternoon there was a rumor of sunshine out the windows, but there was nothing to substantiate it later on. Some sort of fluff was in the air, and the drifting bits kept looking impossibly but not implausibly like snow.
★★★★ Light skimmed the side of the Norwegian Breakaway down at its pier, raising a grid of white dots from the cabin balcony dividers and making it look even more like a terrestrial apartment building than the cruise ships usually do. The two-year-old galloped up the avenue in the morning breeze. A dyed hot-pink feather swirled on the sidewalk. There were lurid yellow leaves overhanging the playground swing set, and lurid pink charity gear showing through the chainlink fence beyond. The first-grader had picked out a short-sleeved t-shirt for himself, and was now grumpy from the chill in his windbreaker. He brought a vest out in the milder afternoon, and it [...]
★★★★ A boom crane stood out against the vivid blue northern sky. The south was whiter, shading to tan where the avenue narrowed toward the horizon. The Broadway median plantings, backlit, looked lush and tropical, with chartreuse shining through the leaves of the mid-level. Seen from downtown, the haze lay still farther downtown. People lunched at outdoor tables, sleeveless. Between Chrystie and Forsyth, there was almost color in the trees, or at least a widespread discoloration. Strong primary reds popped in the light: red paint marks, red trousers, a red fire escape, the red cage of a construction elevator blocks away.
★ Intermittent rain threatened to consolidate, but never did. The wind was cold, the ambient chill strong enough to sink in. Steam billowed from a stack in the street. The rain went away, but the gray and chill remained. Maple wings and the untrampled portion of the pale fallen leaves blew along the sidewalk.
★★★ The dead air–the deadest air–was in the cross streets, in the dim, sweltering morning. The wind was blowing on the uptown-downtown ones, and a drizzle was being wrung out of the sky. A needly genuine rain followed, then sun and a hot, damp wind. That little cycle dispensed with, the real phenomenon arrived: darkness again, heavy racing clouds, cold gusts. Low in the east, the sky was still white, and above it on the boundary the clouds were rumpled and choppy. The rain hit the western windows in a furious blur, while the eastern view, in the lee, stayed in focus. By rush hour it had all blown out. A [...]