Weather Reviews
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New York City, June 23, 2014

★★★★ The atmosphere had lost its refreshing edge, even on the way to the morning school dropoff. A touch of haze discolored the distance and thickened the nearby air, yet from downtown, it somehow didn't diminish the visible skyline.  There were so many bicycles on Lafayette it felt unsafe to jaywalk. A bird put enough muscle into singing to be heard over the deep roar of a pavement saw around the corner. The afternoon sky went white, on its way toward light gray. Children left school burdened with bags of collected class papers, cardboard architectural models. Two little girls carried a sideways skyscraper, one at the base and the other supporting the top. Wind blew on [...]

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New York City, June 18, 2014

★★★★ Hot wind hissed through the leaves on the plaza. The rails of on an open-topped sightseeing bus gave off a blinding flash, and so did the subway steps on the way back up. Up in the darkness of the tree crown in the churchyard by Prince Street, someone in a cherry picker was at work with pole saws. Severed branches were being passed up and over the high brick wall and into a chipper. The restaurant windows were closed, the blinds lowered. Short, clear shadows raised decorative conical brickwork to a mammary roundness. Up on the office roof, the black woven plastic of the desk chairs was hot; slumping into one gradually baked the [...]

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New York City, June 15, 2014

★★★★★ Some group of chaperoned teens, many in pink shirts, had swarmed into the Gray's Papaya from the 72nd Street side, forcing the line to bend back on itself out the wrong door. The tissue-paper pineapples and cherries hanging below the ceiling tiles swung and twisted in the breeze. The crosswalk stripes were like a fluorescent-tube installation underfoot. The party balloons, herded down Amsterdam, tugged at their ribbons without getting rambunctious. In the midst of the two-year-old's nap, the doorbell announced the upstairs neighbor, armed with a brand-new plastic lightsaber. John Williams music thumped out of the piano to welcome him. It took a long time in the imperfectly dimmed bedroom to dispel [...]

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New York City, June 10, 2014

★★ Fog drained the colors from the distance without really obscuring the lines. Gradually it ripened or decayed into routine haze, and for a moment blue showed overhead. Then came gray-green light and soggy, shifting breezelets. The old sneakers had dried crispy from the previous day's soaking. The subway platform smelled of brakes from prior trains, the air uncirculating. Up on the street, phantom raindrops landed, a few to a block, never amounting to more.

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New York City, June 5, 2014

★★★★ The morning was well short of full daylight; rain poured out the gray-brown dimness. The elementary school was closed for the day and the prospect of getting the preschooler off to preschool with the first-grader in tow seemed if not impossible at least pointless, or too difficult. Things stalled out, the breakfasts not quite finished, the clothes pulled out but not yet replacing the pajamas. To turn the kettle back on and follow up the first cup of tea would amount to surrender. Weren't the showers almost past? A radar map showed them going by, but time was going by too. The children made it down the elevator and a [...]

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New York City, June 2, 2014

★★★★★ The breeze was nimble; the sun came strong all the way to the ground, so that the colors of sneakers glowed and decorated sandals moved like trails of sparks. A gleaming clump of flies lifted away from an intact pile of dog turds. Each stone block in the face of the tower of St. Paul the Apostle cast its own rugged little shadow, while in the other direction the One57 tower stood dully against the hazy glare on the blue. Beach carts were rolled onto the B train, a furled sun umbrella sticking up out of one. Downtown, people ate sausage and eggs at lunchtime at sidewalk tables, a few [...]

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New York City, May 28, 2014

★★ Chilly and ominous. The first mosquito of the season, crouched on the wall behind the open headboard, died in a smear of someone's bright red blood. The six-year-old had woken up a nosebleed despite the humidity; now the two-year-old announced I'm bleeding and steered his scooter into a concrete planter so that he was shedding blood too. Flecks of moisture were blowing. An out-of-service train crawled through the station, lights on in the empty interior, without stopping. The shade on the streets was greener than usual, as if instead of clouds the sun were passing through some immense and distant leaf canopy. The wet flecks intensified, went away, and [...]

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New York City, June 22, 2014

★★★★★ "Clouds," the two-year-old said, riding nowhere in particular on adult shoulders. "Sky, sky, sky. Blue sky, blue sky, blue sky." The water in the fountain had gone from chemical blue-green to algal olive-green, with an accompanying algal odor. Loose-edged clouds covered and uncovered the sun. A lean black pigeon walked by on the bricks, its feet pink and claws black. The two-year-old wanted to go to the playground; the seven-year-old wanted to stay put. The compromise was Lincoln Center. Flatware clinked on dishes in the shade of the restaurant on the north edge, under the grass roof. The surface of the black reflecting pool was only a tiny bit ruffled, [...]

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New York City, June 17, 2014

★★★★★ The bedroom was already hot at the moment of waking, and the kitchen trash had ripened overight. Melon guts, probably. Edges of buildings were flat against the white glare. The breeze could still be construed as cool, though the moving air was damp and heavy. Enough Citi Bikes were out in use that it was easy to jaywalk through the rack. A lawnmower raised the smell of cut grass from the not-exactly-public garden. There was nothing discouraging about walking out for lunch. No, more than that. The generous loveliness of the previous days was of course gone, but in its place was the compelling feeling of hanging on the brink. A [...]

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New York City, June 12, 2014

★★ Another dark and warmthless waste of the year's longest days. Intermittent rain again, mist again, damp sluggish air in the subway. Sidewalk tables were empty. Water beaded on the seats of the outmost aluminum chairs. A backhoe bucked and dropped clods of dirt into a dump truck. An insistent breeze carried news of industrial cooking, news of feces. In the afternoon, in the sculpture garden that poses as a public amenity, the wind made the silvery grass sway, till a rubber-booted volunteer asked the public to leave.

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New York City, June 9, 2014

★ Rain fell like the sprinklings from a produce-aisle vegetable soaker, as the now-seven-year-old went off to school. By the time the still-two-year-old left for preschool, it was a splatting downpour. The ambient spray floating and splashing under the umbrellas was as wet as an ordinary misty drizzle. The two-year-old's feet in their rain boots splashed through flooded crosswalk gutters, the rest of him out of sight beneath his Central Park Zoo umbrella. Whitewater foamed over debris in the storm drains; West End Avenue was a confluence of temporary rivers. The two-year-old's arms got tired and he needed an adult hand to reach out and support the top knob on the umbrella as he went. Once he [...]

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New York City, June 4, 2014

★★ The blue jeans had to be intercepted on their way into the wash; they would have festered in the saturated air had they been hung up to dry. Birds made a racket in the plantings. The sun pressed down. The air conditioning was broken on the nearest 1 train car. Up on the street again, the gaze turned not just down from the overhead glare but inward, toward the buildings, away from the miniature suns reflected in the parked cars. The shade under the trees was correspondingly intense in its shadiness. Then came late afternoon, and all the contrast melted away to gray, so discontinuous with the morning it was [...]

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New York City, June 1, 2014

★★★★★ The morning was not, factually speaking, bright enough to overcome sleep, though it ought to have been. Outside was mild everywhere, save only the toxic microclimate of a street fair, sun-baked and smoke-smothered. The nonfestive used-items vendors sat in their usual sidewalk spaces, now behind the backs of the booths, in individual envelopes of sound: Joan Jett, reggae. The two-year-old was in a dangerous frenzy in the grocery aisles. Taken to the plaza outside the apartment to burn it off, he sent a toy car pinwheeling over the bricks again and again, with some indistinguishable combination of enthusiasm and malice. At naptime, music–a PA system–carried over from who knows where [...]

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New York City, May 27, 2014

★★★ The blue spaces between the clouds narrowed through the morning. People took their lunches out on the plaza off the street, styrofoam clamshells hanging open. A hot white glow edged the remaining blue. The old summery reek of garbage was on the air; the ice cream truck smelled of ice cream garbage. It was not too hot yet, still, but too cold indoors and on the train. The afternoon brightened for a while. Barbecue smoke or lighter-fluid smoke was on the air. The glare from the southwest brought tears to the eyes. By rush hour, things had grayed over again; the atmosphere was humid and vegetal, like the inside [...]

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New York City, June 19, 2014

★★ Pillows of light gray were piled high against a duvet of darker gray. Off to the northwest was a still darker purple-gray bedskirt. The late push of heat had been a feint. A light rain spotted the metal edge of the curb. An open umbrella–unnecessarily open, and doubly unnecessarily staying that way–blocked the subway stairs with its slow descent. The gray lasted till late afternoon, and abruptly came sunbeams, blue sky, shadows. Early diners sat at white-clothed tables below sidewalk grade. The rain had evidently led people to excuse themselves from picking up dog turds, which had softened in the rain without washing away and were now re-solidifying in flattish discs on the [...]

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New York City, June 16, 2014

★★★★★ The two-year-old stood on top of the heater to look through the window and enumerate the construction workers across the avenue, as the morning light shone into the seven unglassed top floors of the tower. Yellow hat, blue shirt. White hat, white shirt, blue pants, bright green gloves. Red shirt, white hat. Dust floated off the edge where one of them—wardrobe colors indistinct in the shadows—ran a polishing machine over the slab. Out the front doors, water sparkled where it flowed over the fountain's edges. People had stripped down without strain or overheating; chests and tattoos were showing. The sky was pincord blue. Bamboo and other plantings peered over the cornices, six stories up. [...]

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New York City, June 11, 2014

★ A food cart's row of light bulbs glowed conspicuously at midday, under the persistent gloom. Little raindrops had streaked the windows; the children had needed outerwear. Downtown, the sidewalk psychic stared blankly from her chair. It was not quite raining but not at all nice: neat raincoats and careless sunny-day clothes went by, equally uncalled-for. The late afternoon sky got around to brightening, indistinctly at first. East and north were blue and white, and Citi Bikes ticked past. Up at 79th Street, a shadow-casting beam of sunlight crossed the top of the crowded subway stairs. Now blue was to the south too, and overhead. The clouds over 66th Street [...]

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New York City, June 8, 2014

★★★★ Shapely cumulus clouds occupied the near sky with cirrus wisps behind them, but downriver was bleary grime-colored summer haze. A blimp cruised up the Hudson just above the line where the clear blue began. Out on the street, under clear hot sun, the puddle garbage was softening and cooking into a gray stew. Pale legs of all adult ages were on display; it was the last chance to pretend there was any volition behind putting on shorts or summer dresses. The street fair was on the far lanes of Broadway, where it could be ignored. A beach breeze was blowing up Amsterdam, offering relief no longer than the duration of a gust. By early [...]

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New York City, June 3, 2014

★ ★ A dusty pinkish haze reached well up from the horizon. Light off windshields in New Jersey twinkled in the heat over the river. Clouds began piling up in that band of haze. The air took a little extra effort to breathe. "Lots of laughing, smiling, powerful," someone in a photography crew instructed a model who was perched on the bakery windowsill at a height where no one would ever sit. On the disrepaired roof deck, weeds waved from the planting boxes. A dove floated by. The blue sky seemed solid and secure, which it was not. Instead, the late afternoon darkened. A pattering rain fell. The shoulders of a man's suit and the [...]

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New York City, May 29, 2014

★★★ The coolness and the humidity seemed like they could have reached some perfect balance, but combined instead merely to cancel each other out, making it almost sweltering without being warm. The morning light had a hard, acrylic clarity; the two-year-old–riding on shoulders, pointing out contrails–added his own fumes and energy to the mix. The leaves hung low, and the streets and sidewalk were a source of spectacle for discussion: a CitiBike rider struggling with the rack, a trio of police with one jotting notes or a citation. By afternoon, the air had improved, and the two-year-old had settled into an overdue torpor. Sun squeezed through the blinds to sparkle [...]