Weather Reviews
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Bethany Beach, Delaware, August 18, 2014

★★★★ Sun found the splinter or stray cactus spine in a finger, a tiny golden spark for the tweezers (turning to avoid the tweezer-shadows) to surround and snuff. Pine cones lay everywhere; the two-year-old had to be dissuaded from expanding his collection of them to three and beyond. The ocean was rougher than before, with chunks of seaweed in it and a bobbing lump of foam garbage, but out beyond the churn it was still soothing to float in. At the trolley stop in the afternoon, the sun experimented with severity, but was mollified by a cloud. A rabbit sprinted alongside the trolley for a few strides, then veered off. The trolley rolled past trim, [...]

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Budapest, August 13, 2014

★★ The comings and goings of the sun among the clouds made the difference between oppressive and pleasant humidity. A thrumming pump truck cleared out a portable toilet on a narrow lane, and the smell traveled down the lane in advance of it, on otherwise undetectable air currents. The blue in the sky made the turquoise sky of a mural look garish and implausible against it. Out on the broader street, a full white haze filled the view ahead. Up a lane again, in the courtyard of a bistro, there was full shade. A young man, absorbed in his mobile phone over his beer, allowed his cigarette ash to grow [...]

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To Budapest via Frankfurt, August 10, 2014

★★★ The moon gleamed on the wing and made the ocean pale. The disc itself was just out of view; craning the neck would produce a tiny ghost moon, floating refracted in the edge of the window through the edge of the glasses. The German cabin attendants politely declared it time that the shades go down, against the coming of the sun, even though the dinner service was still underway. Sometime later, a glow seeped into the cabin, rosier than the mood lighting. The descent into Frankfurt was between clusters of white puffs below and sheets of gray above. The airport was humid, the thermostat tuned higher than the United [...]

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New York City, August 5, 2014

★★ Another unvaried installment of high-but-not-too-high summer. The sky was a reasonably deep blue. If the morning was short of being hot, the child riding up on the shoulders made up the difference. The river's surface lay in glossy patches, and no relief was stirring from that direction. The Times Square subway platform raised a full sweat to the surface. Downtown, the tilt of the grid made itself apparent, as sun baked the downtown side of the crosstown streets. Again the cumulus clouds migrated into the midday sky. A big one overlaid the sun, and for a while it was not hot. When the sun did return, though, it was piercing. Breezes, [...]

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New York City, July 31, 2014

★★★★ Destabilized, opening the gates for the fall from paradise. Dark gray filled the sky to the west, while the sun fought through clouds in the east. Humidity was up; the air conditioning on again. People were engrossed in their devices. A few raindrops fell along the way to the office. Then the sun rallied: light traced the old painted scrollwork on the fire escapes and the new shiny ridges on the air-conditioner cages. It shone through the primaries of a pigeon banking over Grand Street. A damp wind rippled the stained rainbow umbrellas of the fruit vendors. The afternoon air had a thick and stuffy note, compared to the distilled perfection [...]

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New York City, July 28, 2014

★★★★ Morning brightened and darkened again. The boys dozed in their bunks in the dimness. North and south above the river were gray, rippling clouds, but overhead the ripples had become blue rifts, and the sun momentarily shone. The gray was darkening again when the seven-year-old got up and out. There was a chilly gust, then warm thick stillness. Down by Columbus Circle, the sun found another opening, raising a mirror-brightness from the windows on Central Park South. The train platforms were hot and noxious; a rush of sweltering air overpowered the air conditioning when the B train car opened its doors at Herald Square. Downtown, the sun was all the [...]

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New York City, July 23, 2014

★★★ Garbage was invisibly in bloom on 3rd Street; a sanitation truck weaved from curb to curb, through the rot-laden air. The small patches of sun were already challenging. But the clouds were surprisingly good-looking, small and loose cumulus on clean blue, and they were even more surprisingly effective against the early sun. A man sat in the little fenced yard off Prince Street and watched the passing foot traffic, the sunbeam behind his amber sunglass lenses calling more attention to his gaze than if his eyes had been uncovered. Up on the roof, out of the air conditioning, the heat was therapeutic, the brightness overwhelming in a soothing way. The [...]

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Bethany Beach, Delaware, August 17, 2014

★★★★ Blue gaps opened in the cloud cover. The little glimpse of ocean off through the pines was gray. The sun burned through on the way to the farmer's market, making the walk back bright and hot enough for the children to complain about. Out on the beach, the waves spread cool air as they broke. Now the water was the green of good olives, and where it broke it was the green that appears now in late-rmodel cars. The swells were gentle, though people still swarmed the water with their artificial floating planks, sub-surfboards, as if some excitement might happen. A wind roared over wet ears on the way back up [...]

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Budapest, August 12, 2014

★★★★★ Breeze lifted the stars of the EU and Lithuania's triple stripe on the face of some building, but failed to quite unfurl the folded and misaligned parts of the horse and knight of the Lithuanian presidential banner. A green apple lay on the sidewalk, fallen from an overladen tree. Water plashed quietly in a fountain set with an obelisk, beside the basilica. The office windows were tall and wide open, letting the fresh air blow through, past drooping tree branches. Bells tolled, wheels rattled on the paving stones. The ferris wheel out on the square by the hotel played an English language audio guid to the previous city in which it had [...]

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New York City, August 7, 2014

★★★★★ The air was not so much blowing as loose all around. The river was deep blue under a clear sky, the sun sharp and bright. Misplaced priorities and tactical errors kept the afternoon's beauty as a thing half-noticed out the windows, till the commuting hour arrived, the perfection of it sharpening the regrets and then immediately putting them away in the drawer. A man stripped off his shirt and changed into a t-shirt as he walked down Lafayette, barely breaking stride. The countdown clock for the uptown 1 was making false claims, and when the train pulled in it was a lobster tank of compacted frustration and resentment. Impossible [...]

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New York City, August 4, 2014

★★★ Already, as the clock rounded nine, it was fiercely bright and humid. In the shade, the people waiting in their cars for the street sweeper still favored opening the windows over running the air conditioning, by a noticeable margin. The heat stayed; cumulus clouds appeared here and there. Tennis-ball-colored items coincided, glaring in the light, on the corner outside the Apple Store: a lace top, the trim on a motorcycle, striping on a pair of baggy athletic shorts. The mirrored face of the apartment tower captured a startling pileup of clouds off in the east. There would be no violent release of heat, though, no turn in the plot—just the [...]

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New York City, July 30, 2014

★★★★★ Traffic sounds and cool air carried through the still-open windows. The sky was cloudless at first, with a thin white tinge to the blue, the sun benevolent and warm. Bicycles were everywhere, going the wrong way in the bike lanes. A group of men walked together wearing different-colored but otherwise similar trim shorts. Drumming rose from Verdi Square. A few midday clouds puffed up in the west. Nearly every seat on the plaza was taken for lunch; a row of day campers in blue t-shirts perched on the low wall just by the fountain. By afternoon, the bricks were strewn with water-balloon scraps and the whole space rattled with [...]

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New York City, July 27, 2014

★★★ The day arrived so gray that being rained on seemed inevitable. No sooner had that resignation set in, though, than the sun came, for just long enough to be encouraging. Stepping out into humidity was like walking into a wall, but when the breeze came, it was cool. From the Midtown luxury terrace outside the birthday party, the sky had settled into a noncommittal and featureless gray. The two-year-old never even tried to venture outdoors into it. By the afternoon, sun returned, and the clouds took on individual shapes, though a brothy haze lingered for a while in the spaces between them. It was hot on the avenue in [...]

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New York City, July 22, 2014

★★★★ It was still cool in the morning, though with an undercurrent of dread at where the humidity might be taking things. At the far end of the West Fourth basketball court, a lone figure shot free throws. The oncoming sun, clearing the buildings, found haze on the air and greenish dust on the parked cars. A pale scrap of a butterfly, with black-tipped wings, bobbed out over the sidewalk and into a fenced-off bed of weeds. Cornering out of the shade of Broadway into Houston was like stepping into a sluggish river and beginning to wade upstream. But the struggle passed. Midday approached and the sky showed brown around the [...]

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Budapest, August 14, 2014

★★★ Dark, rippling clouds overspread the city. The trees tossed. Then rain streaked the balcony doors and the sun came out. People walked under umbrellas in the sunshine, casting umbrella-shadows on the wet pavement by the square. Then the sun and rain were gone again and it was chilly, surprisingly so. A sport jacket, pulled on at the last minute for appearance and in case of air conditioning, was an unseasonable necessity. In the middle of a panel discussion, inside a covered-over courtyard, rain lashed the roof so violently that faces peered upward at the sound. The noise moderated a bit and then surged back, again and again, like the first [...]

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Budapest, August 11, 2014

★★ The morning was bright on unfamiliarly lemon-yellow taxis and lime-green sharing bikes. A few clouds were now tempering the glare, making it eye-watering. Long bright green shoots curved up out of the darker topiary cylinders of the treetops running down the median. Indoors, in the music center, bodies overwhelmed the judicious European air conditioning. A low-grade sticky sweat, part humidity and part circadian confusion, rose and lingered. At break time, the light had grown clearer, the zenith open blue. Viewed from the roof deck, upthrust skinny poplar tops waved back and forth beside brown brick chimneys, against a stretch of blue and white. The next quarter, what must have been the west, was [...]

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New York City, August 6, 2014

★★★★ After a foreboding moment, blue showed through the gray. It was surprisingly cool early; thin sheets of cloud took the edge off the sun, and little breezes were moving. The sidewalks were well smeared with dog shit, the rain long overdue to make up for accumulated inconsideration. Potted boxwoods awaited planting at the feet of the street trees on Broadway. Down at the river at midday, the coolness persisted. A flight of Canada geese flapped upriver, lower than the elevated roadway, seemingly intent on some distant destination. Then they came back the other way, and back again, less purposeful at every pass. At last they pulled themselves once more into [...]

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Aberdeen, Maryland, to New York City, August 3, 2014

★★★ The cloud light through the trees was deep green, for sleeping in and for sleeping in. A tiger swallowtail flapped and glided back and forth outside the second-floor windows. The goldfinches were the same strong yellow the early fireflies had been the evening before. A female hummingbird sipped at a plastic flower on the feeder, while the male perched on one bare curving stalk amid the swelling wave of trumpet vine. Now and again he flashed the red of his throat. Outdoors was damp, the air full of peeping and piping and trilling. Spiderwebs hung in even the broad gaps between the trees, clinging to the face and neck. The grass [...]

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New York City, July 29, 2014

★★★★★ Even in stillness, there was a distinct chill on the morning air. The high land in the far northwestern distance in New Jersey was plain and clear on the horizon. The sun raised bright white highlights on the cheeks and scalps of people walking beside the vast reflecting surfaces of the Time Warner building. Downtown, in dappled tree shade, it raised blinding spots from the top of SUV. Conditions kept subtly shifting: light and shade, warmth and coolness, gray and white. The edges of the clouds were now indistinct, now distinct. One could walk in it for blocks, looping out of the everyday pattern. Down Lafayette lower than usual, the open back door [...]

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New York City, July 24, 2014

★★★★★ The rain had washed away the haze, though if it had done anything even briefly about the garbage, the smell had already regenerated. Sex parts drifted down from the honeylocust trees. The clouds overhead were a smooth filter on the sun; off in the east, they stood out darker and individual. The temperature was uncannily mild and relaxing, a waking dream state. Outside a bodega, a sturdy man tried a pogo stick, not at all competently, the spring groaning. The late day brightened up in all directions. An gorgeously ordinary tree flared green against an opulently ordinary brick wall. Uptown, pigeons divided a chicken tender among themselves on the Broadway [...]