★★★★ The smell of growing things came through the door, but that was the only change to mark the crossing from indoors to out. The air flowing under a shirt in public was indistinguishable from the air in private. Sun shone white on the treetops in Dante Park; birdsong was general. The bodega had peonies and watermelons out. Now things had overshot equilibrium, and a light sweat started and evaporated. On the office roof, the scotch in the lowball glasses was golden, and the light was heading that way. Thermal balance had returned. In a crosswalk, raw threads poked out from a dress chopped off short. Uptown in the evening there [...]
★★★★ Waves and the shadows of clouds made the river look unsettled in its bed. It was cool enough out to be a genuine surprise or anomaly, corduroy conditions. Wind audibly sighed through the thickly leafed treetops; green maple wings lay on the sidewalk. Downtown, in the afternoon distance, solid buildings stood with solid-looking clouds behind them. Striking but harmless grays were framed by whites and blue. The living room was golden, and the light flooded the face of the bedroom till the black numbers and hands on the clock were invisible white.
★★★ The beginning was straightforwardly undesirable: darkness, rain streaking the windows, thunder, tears over whether it was necessary to wear the raincoat to school. Then came a treacherous pause. Rain stopped, the sky brightened. From the upstairs bank office, the trees and planting beds of Verdi Square joined in a contiguous lushness not so apparent at ground level. On the way out, a few apparently leftover drops were falling. By Columbus Circle on the subway, a new arrival on the platform had water glistening heavily on her raincoat collar. Downtown, umbrellas were up, but it wasn't necessary. There was barely enough rain to justify a hood. Then in moments the hood [...]
★★★ There was no relaxing into the morning, despite the brightness. It was just not warm–it was brisk, even, or whatever the springtime equivalent of briskness might be. A woman huddled in her cardigan out in the misjudged chill. Later on, there were scarves out, all hope or pretense abandoned. Still it was clear, though. The toddler went out for a walk and came back sweaty. Late in the day, a yellow-white haze draped over the river. An American flag, backlit, flowed from the parapet of a setback on a Trump building. An airplane coming in was a fleck of reflected light too bright to resolve into a shape, a shimmer [...]
★★★★★ The clouds thinned and lifted into sunshine that put a gleam on anything even vaguely glossy—a leather jacket, a colored bicycle bell, the sip-cap of an empty water bottle left upright. The breeze was cool, too gentle to stir the leaves. The thermometer had crossed from the 50s to the 60s, and the second jacket worn over the first was a mistake, but not a serious one. In late afternoon, cheap bricks were mirrors. Light got in behind a passing woman's sunglasses and shone out amber. There was no better way from Elizabeth Street to the West Village than to walk it, a mile and a quarter along Bleecker Street, [...]
★★★★ Mares' tails blew north and away, leaving the dome clear, the color deepest at the zenith. Down below the windows, treetops were the color of tennis balls. A child stood on the sidewalk outside the school, staring at the organic soft-serve truck, refusing to leave. Blossom clusters were soft pink fists. The toddler yelped and pointed straight up at the empty blue. In the gymnasium, under sickly yellow light, fresh air flowed in past the irregular ranks of children in crisp karate whites.
★★★ The red Japanese maple leaves were out. A beverage-machine service van threw reflected light ahead of it in the street. Downtown, crews were installing Citi Bike racks. The uptown clouds were making shapes; the downtown clouds were making gray. That division held into the afternoon, with Lower Manhattan sitting in gloom. Two pigeons curved toward each other, clockwise and counterclockwise, then converged and flew off together. But by the day's end, it was blue in all directions. A window-washer screwed a squeegee head onto a long pole, at one end of a stretch of tall shop windows, where the late light caught the film of dust or pollen on them.
★★★ The IRS hold music played and played as the briefly clear morning darkened over. The toddler came back from the park, chased by drizzle. Most of the flame-colored tulips had blown out, leaving only the pink, hairy-edged ones standing. The early chill had brought out leather and leatherette, probably the last chance for that. By late afternoon that chance was over, the sun returning, the air heavy and warm. The buildings away down Amsterdam whitened in the haze, as if pressed under layers of waxed paper. The sun was a zone of brightness, the way painters depict it in the pink Martian sky. Twilight didn't fall over the city [...]
★★★★★ In the time it took to untangle the children and steer them out of bed, the gray sky shredded into blue. Outside, leaves twinkled in the breeze. People were carrying wrapped cut flowers, everywhere, all day. It was hard to believe that the day was passing by, that the afternoon could run out; the brightness seemed invulnerable. Leaf shadows danced frantically on the schoolyard playground. The toddler, on new shoes, ran through the infield of a kickball diamond, intersecting every baserunner, then made a baseline cut through a basketball game in progress. Dry petals fell from the trees and went scraping over the pavement. Toy cars were set wallowing through [...]
★★★ The humid air and the breeze were in a dispute over how the day should feel—stuffy! No, chilly!—and the body caught in the middle of the argument found itself constantly being jostled. Downtown smelled like a wharf. Eye muscles tightened painfully against the colorless glare. The trees had lost their blooms and were plain green now. The sun went out and in. People with long-handled paint rollers were obliterating graffiti from two sides of a brick building, with dull red and a vivid but watery yellow, the excess dripping on plastic sheets below. A man was out walking in the sunshine, dressed for brightness: pants a bit more glowing than [...]
★★★★★ Even duty was cause for elation, in the clear early light. Parents wore running gear to the schoolyard drop-off. The reflective beads in the crosswalk paint glowed underfoot. A line of children on scooters rolled downhill toward the preschools by the river, stopping and starting as they grappled with their scooting technique, their helmets and wheels rich plastic yellow and pink. A man in a tan suit and blue-and-tan saddle shoes lit a cigarette with one hand. Bad music thumped from a hits-radio promotion team set up under a sidewalk canopy. Prince Street smelled of cut grass. A mass deployment of skateboards, bare navels, sunglasses. Time to switch to bubble [...]
★★★ Tints of clear-sky colors, yellow and blue, shone somehow through an otherwise wholly overcast morning. Drops fell, far apart, and a superficial chill covered everything—a minimum theatrical representation of April Showers, long overdue. An oil-spot rainbow lay in the middle of the street, diffusing but not washing away. A lighting rig poured fake daylight and crisp shadows over a gaily umbrellaed sidewalk table. A block away, ordinary sidewalk tables were pushed together in the shelter of an awning. Tiny round petals floated and fell, looking now like soap bubbles, now like snowflakes. The climate control in the office had lost its bearings, and the indoors grew colder and colder by [...]
★★★★ Cool but warm but cool. Morning clouds were smallish and somewhat numerous. The sky reflected in a turning dump truck's chrome hubcap. The sign said there were six minutes till the next 1 train, which was enough of a reminder to stop short of the turnstiles and go back up the stairs and walk down Broadway instead. Noise rumbled up from deep in the pits for the water-main project in front of Lincoln Center. Men stood outside the Time Warner Center talking on their mobile phones, making hand gestures for emphasis. The B train was waiting at the foot of the stairs. Downtown, a pink-blossoming branch stuck out of [...]
★★★★ The morning looked floodlit. A couple passed with their runners' bibs flapping in the breeze. People were facing the chill in everything from scarves to a short-sleeved sportshirt, tucked in. Two men—or maybe one man twice, coming and going—had chosen the blue and greenish yellow of a Boston Marathon jacket. In the evening, the river was glassy under pearl sky; a green willow, framed under the elevated highway and between buildings, swayed southward against the bright water.
★★★★ The sun cast shadows through clouds, then didn't cast shadows, then did again. It was cool again, the actually narrow window of temperature in which men can go out in sportcoats, and men were doing that proudly, even unto a pocket square. People were willing to sit on sidewalk benches with their coffee or a phone call. By evening rush hour, the sky was clear. In the apartment across the way, residents were taking to their balconies.
★★ Sequel time: another summer day looped backwards through the projector, with storms unbuilding to a clear and quiet finish. A tolerably damp morning turned into another downpour, and another downpour after that. When that part was done, everything was waterlogged, with the unwanted heat rising faster than the wanted brightness. Downtown, though, cooler air stirred, under inconclusive moments of clearing. By rush hour, once more, everything had all been resolved or forgotten. People wore their raincoats unfastened, to swing in the breeze.
★★★★ One part of the cloud cover was dark and trailing mist below, like it meant to be serious; another part was showing blue patches, like the game was up. Pigeons worked on the scattered leavings where the line of garbage bags had been at the curb. By midday, the sun was a bright region in the white eastern sky; the deep clear blue in the west, under the filtered light, looked like nothing so much as gathering thunderclouds. Then, right at the moment of schoolyard pickup, it broke, and down poured the sunlight. The jackets came off. The children ran around the apartment building garden, past floating abundant tulips, blazing [...]
★★★★ The green in the trees had gone from tentative to lush. Iridescent green badges flashed and vanished on a starling's shoulders as it turned this way and that; a petal had fallen from a tree to rest on a petal of a tulip. The blooming trees on the Broadway median were one continuous mass. Prospects were spacious all around. Broadway was chilly in the breeze, but the Time Warner Center was a solar collector. Out over the office fire escape–between the frigid air conditioning and the rooftop closed for repainting–wine-crimson maple leaves crowned the dirty white side of the building. The foot of the brick wall on Prince Street [...]
★★★★ A few blots of cloud were on the blue morning sky, with light haze beneath. Leaves and blossoms and a red plastic shopping basket glowed in the sun coming from the east. Down across the river in Brooklyn, the humid air was chilly enough in the shade of Court Street that the kindergartener asked for his windbreaker. On Schermerhorn, in the sun at the top of the Transit Museum steps, it was a little stuffy. The light grew dimmer and grimier in the afternoon, and the wind picked up. The toddler rode and dragged his scooter toward Broadway, behind small dogs yapping at each other. Young musicians were drifting the [...]
★ Weak, blowing drizzle dampened the middle of the day. The light was like looking up from the bottom of a basement utility sink full of cold-cycle wash water. Two young foreign women, one in pink Crocs over tights, were searching for the Prada store. By the afternoon, the drizzle had quit and gone away; sometime after dark, the clouds went, too, and toward midnight the stars shone down.