Posts Tagged: Weather Reviews
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New York City, July 20, 2014

★★★★ Bubbles drifted west on 68th Street in the sunshine. Wheeled conveyances were everywhere: scooters, bicycles, strollers, a wheeled walker. The two-year-old weaved upstream on his scooter through an oncoming line of them. He rolled expectantly up to the fence of the playground, missing the gate, looking over his shoulder at a pony-sized Parks Department garbage truck. Two games of frisbee were going on in the open schoolyard, and a boy in an Eli Manning jersey was place-kicking a football off a tee into the fence. There was humidity on the air, but still it was cool. After the playground and a long, sunny uphill, hot vapor was rising through the [...]

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New York City, July 15, 2014

★★★★ Sweltering humidity at its purest, unboosted by any overt solar heat. For once, and briefly, it was worth stepping into the office air conditioning, after the airless stairwell. Then the monstrous chill regained its monstrousness. The outside darkened. Mobile phones whined en masse, if not in perfect synchrony, with arriving flash-flood warnings. Suddenly and quietly a solid downpour was falling–and then came a loud growl of thunder, then a sharp clap of it, then a long sustained boom. Another boom followed, sounding very specifically overhead. The street-side windows were white with rain. A roll and a crash; a roll that turned into a crash. Ten minutes went by, fifteen. The [...]

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New York City, July 10, 2014

★★★★ An unexpected sampling of ways not to be unpleasant. The orbital muscles got ready to tighten and then relaxed, in the gentle light of a damp-aired morning. Mellow gray overtook the sky for a long spell, keeping the streets cool. Then abruptly there was almost-full warm sun. The light was clear; the sidewalks were full. Toward sundown, uptown, the neutral gray had come back again. Was air conditioning dripping, or was rain starting to fall? By the end of a trip through the grocery, in and then out on a wide-open express lane, the gray appeared to be resolving back to blue, in the ambiguous tones of dusk. Either way, the [...]

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New York City, July 7, 2014

★★★★ A pigeon puffed up and hunkered down in the top level of the fountain. The heat was baking, but still not crushing or unbearable; it raised a sweat but not a soaking one. A seed puff floated along at a companionable pedestrian rate till it reached the windward edge of a dumpster and sank. Cold streams of air conditioning crossed the sidewalk. On the subway, a bright-eyed young woman told a young man on other side of the doorway that she was heading to the beach, that she was going to see a movie there, that her birthday had just passed. They smiled back and forth and chatted for a [...]

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New York City, July 1, 2014

★★ A house sparrow wallowed on its side in a planter, its gray feathers fluffed and disheveled. The air was institutional plexiglass. Passengers on the platform stepped toward the doorway of a 1 train car and flinched back, feeling the lack of air conditioning. The air conditioning on the B train was working and dripping copiously into the car. Outside, a stagnant patch of shade was no better than direct sun. The heat grew thicker in the streets–nothing extraordinary, just conventionally sweltering. Nowhere was comfortable, even as the sun fell behind the buildings. On the way down Broadway to find gelato, the two-year-old was a squirmy, ever hotter and grumpier burden on the neck [...]

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New York City, June 26, 2014

★★ The clouds deserved a better day underneath them. They were clean white and voluminous in the morning, with deep blue between them. But the air made for difficult breathing; the Citi Bike rack was full. The clouds continued regardless, all through the day: now showing blazing white edges, now piling textured grays on grays, now sending a cotton-pure scout into an open expanse of uptown sky. They heaped themselves up in the west to escort the sun through its lingering descent, darkening themselves into blues, opening a glowing tunnel mouth lined with gold. A silhouetted airplane passed across them. A pink glory ray went angling upward like a spotlight, and [...]

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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, July 17, 2014

★★★★★ Unbelievable breezes flowed though the clear, sparkling morning and in the open windows. The breeze blew down Lafayette in cool cloud shade, blew across Prince in the returning sunlight. Mothers wore jean shorts; men rolled trousers to show socks or ankles. Some gray gathered over Lower Manhattan, then–were there wet spots on the fire escape? If there were, they were gone soon enough, the whole interlude merely a reminder not to take this for granted. It would take more than that to ruin the day. It would take knives falling from the heavens. Now there was nothing in the sky but firm, well-spaced cumulus clouds. The downtown skyline shone. Uptown, [...]

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New York City, July 14, 2014

★★ An indecisive follow-up to the sweeping storms of the night before. Morning was humid gray. A couple crowded into the niche between the turnstile fence and the MetroCard machines to kiss. The air was close and still. Paulownia leaves sprouting from a traffic-calming planting bed found enough breeze to wiggle on, and then a puff of wind delivered a raindrop just below the corner of the mouth. That was all the rain, for a while. The gray became glaring, up on the roof. White edging showed, and a little blue, until it was too bright to read in. Then it darkened and dimmed again. A shower passed, carrying a harbor smell [...]

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New York City, July 9, 2014

★★★ Morning was sweaty without being hot. Across what had earlier been blue sky, a solid strip of gray had formed, seeming to match the width and position of Manhattan. It stayed there for quite a while. By afternoon, it was gone, and the air was less damp and more pleasant–too pleasant, in fact, to help bake off the effects of the air conditioning when one fled to the fire escape. The gentle breezes were the answer to some unrelated problem. The clouds came back, to gather into dramatic late-day compositions of slate and ivory and rose. One ray of light broke through to light up one street corner, in golden isolation.

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New York City, July 6, 2014

★★★★ Out in the open, the clarity was a bit punishing. Noise seemed muffled, the colors bleached out. The side street was tranquilizingly dark and breezy; the avenues piercingly hot. Just inside the Park, liquid birdsong flowed. A sparrow ate a Cheerio in the shade of a parked stroller, crunching it with sharp, predatory strokes of its beak. Indoors, a small and active fly had ridden the fresh air currents through the window, and the relative dimness made it all but impossible to pick out and track. The once-empty blue sky acquired a few ribbons and dotted clusters of white. A hot eddy lifted and spun some sidewalk garbage. Heavy-duty squirt guns took [...]

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New York City, June 30, 2014

★★★★ What might have been a rural dream broke to twittering birds in the predawn dimness, the sound carrying up to the 27th floor. Out in the real morning, the clouds were interfering with the sun, and a damp breeze from downtown contended against the heat in a low-intensity pushing match. New tar shone wetly at the edge of a repaired patch in the street. In the afternoon, a line of cloud like a wing stretched along the sky in the west. It was hot up on the roof, but a heat cut by breezes, a fine natural heat, superior by far to the grim air conditioning below. A heat for [...]

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New York City, June 25, 2014

★★★ Plain summer, glaring and bad-smelling. A washed-down stretch of sidewalk under a scaffold stayed wet and made the air around it even more humid. After a few false attempts, the sun finally came on high and hot. A woman stepped out into it and in a few paces shrugged off her suit jacket, indoors and outdoors proving irreconcilable. The heat subsided by late afternoon; children on scooters buzzed the plaza outside the apartment entrance. In the night, flashes of lightning came white through the blinds.

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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, July 16, 2014

★★★★★ It was cool, utterly cool, under the gray morning. Was it getting brighter? Someone's mirrored shades, approaching up the street, looked suddenly agleam. Downtown, a fresh wind was blowing down the subway steps. The puddle around the blocked drain on the landing, days old now, had dwindled by maybe half. There were white shoe prints in the black silt layer at the bottom. A cyclist pulled out into the bike lane on Lafayette without looking, forcing an oncoming rider on a Citi Bike to swerve and exclaim. The air felt nice on bare arms, in short sleeves. One's own skin was skin, after all, with live nerves in it, something more than a thermoregulating membrane [...]

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New York City, July 13, 2014

★★★ Sun emerged, or part-emerged, and dried out the dampened gray morning. The shade was bearable, but the open areas were distressing. It was hard to guess who among the pedestrians had been out exercising and who was just walking around in exercise wear, glazed with sweat. Scrawny ears of corn were packed in ice outside the supermarket. The sun slipped all the way around the thin remaining clouds and struck full in the face like an insult. The clouds recovered; the sky darkened. Then it brightened again, and as it brightened the rain started falling, fine and dense, with pale floating bits in it like snowflakes. Shadows sharpened and reflective surfaces gleamed, [...]

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New York City, July 8, 2014

★★ Armpits. Men had given up or allowed themselves to give up and were walking around wearing tank tops. Early clouds, separated by fissures of blue, had drawn briefly together and then dispersed, leaving the sun impeded. Leaves tossed in a not at all cooling wind. A truck forced its way through a crosswalk, sending its rear wheels up over the curb for extra emphasis. A man with a butterfly of sweat darkening the back of his pale orange shirt body-checked his way off the B train, desperate to reach the A across the platform. Up on the street, a woman fanned herself with a folding fan in mid-stride, then [...]

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New York City, July 2, 2014

★★★★ Haze stained the horizon. A man in a sportshirt sat on a bench with a newspaper in his lap, chin on his chest, apparently dozing. The garbage smell of Prince Street was stronger than ever. Storms were closing in, but as thunder rumbled in the late-afternoon, the menace still seemed theoretical. The west was gray, the east blue, the sky in between unsettled. By Columbus Circle, the light coming down the station stairs was dusk-blue, two and a half hours early. At 72nd Street, it was dark and raining hard, but not too hard to walk through without an umbrella. A pedestrian went sprinting across oncoming traffic, unnecessarily unwilling to wait [...]

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New York City, June 29, 2014

★★★★ A little yellowish cumulus was showing in the distance up Columbus Avenue. There were some sort of clouds directly overhead in the overall blue, but it was too bright to look at them. It had taken real resolve to put on sunscreen and get out the door. People in medals and bibs, more motivated people, had already finished their morning exertions and were on their way out of the Park. A blur and a shine lay on the Sheep Meadow. Strollers clustered under the trees; sunbathers dispersed themselves in a slowly accumulating gradient fill. The sun raised damp vegetal fumes out on the open grass. The two-year-old had picked up a stick and he exulted [...]

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New York City, June 24, 2014

★★★ Variables teetered, rather than striking a balance. Here, in the west, the sky was white; there, in the east, it was blue. There was scaffold shade and cloud shade and sun fading in, or partway in. Humidity made itself felt without being the dominant impression. A man gave himself over to summer with an untucked linen shirt and bouncy linen pants. Suntans were developing, and some had already developed. Toenails were out and done in shiny untrue blues or standard reds. The late afternoon settled into a relatively cool, hazy blue. Street trees tossed their branches. The air in the 1 train car, after the mildness of the platform, [...]