★★ Gray clouds stood behind grayer clouds in a jumbled assortment. A horse carriage rolled by below the pediatrician's office window, and then an open-topped bus, the upper deck completely empty. Here and there the brooding looseness of the clouds admitted some blue: an long opening over New Jersey, a weak spot in the cover high above and beyond Lower Manhattan. One raindrop landed, and only the one. Over time, the irregularities diminished; the day stayed dark and chilly. Even to the end, there was a brighter if not blue patch in the west—briefly edged in pink at sundown. The night air was cool enough for open windows.
★★★ The sun came straight along the cross street, hit the mirrored tower, and came back barely diminished, putting a blinding two-way glow on everything. The subway platform was warm enough to raise a sweat, if one was in a hurry and the next train was not. The clouds had been subtly lovely at dawn, then opened up, and now, downtown, closed again. A damp, pearly Hong Kong light lay on everything. Though the day, the brightness through the window right behind the new office seat slowly failed, till it was time to dig into the tastefully recessed wiring pocket and figure out where to plug in the desk lamp. Outside the clouds had gone over to heavy gray, with ugly yellow tinges to the east and west. The air was warm and thick. Sunset was a diffuse and featureless orange-pink glow that spread evenly far up the clouds, then smoothly receding and fading down to purple.
★★★★ Stepping out into the late morning air was like settling into a bath that had been waiting for a while—an enfolding, relaxing tepidness, not at all hot. Clouds softened the shadows on the playground. Children bored with chalking the concrete camel tried chalking other children's faces. The sun that got through was warm on bare ankles. The lid of the exhaust stack on a pony-sized Parks Department garbage truck clanged rhythmically with a sound of toy cymbals. By the afternoon, when there was no reason not to go to the playground again, the light had sharpened, but a haze still glimmered around the low-flying airplanes. The breeze was cooling, though it was barely strong enough to stir the dangling flags a little back and forth. Day's end brought wild pinks flaring one either side of the glass apartment tower, but the seven-year-old, unmoved, declared it a normal sunset.
★ Morning arrived in dimness, with a soaking rain, perfect for not having to send anyone off to school in. The rain went away and came back and went away; the sky brightened a little and more drops streaked the windows. Clouds blew along from north to south. Late in the day, blue and white appeared in the west, just above the buildings. It was warm and close inside the elevator, getting more warm and more close as the doors refused to open, minute after minute. Outside, after too long, the avenue was still gray as ever, but clear light was up on the tops of buildings. In the time it took to realize the nearest parsley wasn't worth buying, the gray had become blue. Bright pink clouds raced by underneath it, and yet another lurid sunlight bloomed.
★ Thin clouds moved over the morning sky. The air was cool and humid; the sun hung around for awhile, making shadows fade in and out. The clouds thickened and rumpled. By afternoon it was chilly up on the roof. A young man held onto a walk/don't walk sign and dangled from it for a photographer. His ankles were bare but he wore a knit hat. A couple of actors walked down Prince Street, hand in hand, with a camera and a crew retreating before them, undeterred by the lack of autumnal brilliance. The grays in the clouds, darker under lighter, gave way at sunset to an unexpected flood of pink.
★★★★★ The three-year-old had to be argued out of shorts and into a pair of corduroys to face the morning chill. It was sneezingly bright; two passersby pressed their index fingers across their upper lips. Bicycle bells, chromed fenders, and handlebars glittered, crowded together, along Lafayette. The chill lost its sharpness, but the light remained keen. On the walk up the fire escape, the accompanying shadow walked up the side of the next building. Bright window reflections stood on the eastern and northern faces of buildings–low and high, downtown and uptown, afternoon gold darkening to late red.
★★★★★ White, blowing clouds streaked the blue overhead like images of the planet from space. Litter blew along the base of the wall at the foot of the fountain. Even the littlest shreds of cloud, tattered and curling on themselves, were bright and solid-looking. Two women went by wearing scarves–lightweight decorative ones, but wrapped like mufflers. The sun warmed and dazzled the spaces it could find between the high-rises. Wind brushed softly through the still-green leaves. Getting to the river in the afternoon promised more sun, but also the brunt of the breeze. It turned out to be the warmth that prevailed. Later, lower light glowed in the trees and through a sail out on the Hudson. Sundown was a wash of red and violet just over the pale twilit water.
★ The air through the windows was cooler in temperature than the suffocating, humid air indoors, but it was too damp to ease the discomfort. A few outriders from the climate-change march were lined up on one side of Broadway, opposite the people still lined up to consume the new obsolescence-making, resource-intensive high-end mobile phones. The light gray thickness in the atmosphere was not really misty; there was nothing mysterious or enchanting about its effects, just a faded Empire State Building looking down toward the markets of Grand Street. Sweltering though it was, the TV personality crossing Broadway back uptown wore a trim glen plaid suit buttoned, with a necktie, as he would be expected to. Only at day's end did the gray end, the overcast breaking up into luminous pink clouds before the dark descended—no longer delayed, but seasonably punctual.
★★★★ Denim and sunglasses everywhere. Cartons and backpacks and other baggage were lined up in the morning sun against the side wall of the Apple Store. It was abundantly bright, bright enough for some eyestrain, and fully qualified as warm. In the middle of the afternoon, a gray-infused mass of cloud wandered into the scene, cooling things for a while. Then it wandered off somewhere, and left Washington Square Park in strong sun again, for the drummers and the shirtless. A pigeon fluffed its feathers and contemplated a flock of fabric pigeon-sculptures feeding on invisible food. By evening, the Apple Store line was populated and stretched around the block. The sun went down in a cloudless west, without theatrics. READ MORE
★★★★★ The sun was a grand, universal spotlight, raising a glow from the fair hair of a child in a stroller, the white hair of a woman nearby, the creamy top of a panama hat crossing the street. Cornices cast grave and solid shadows. A fried egg tilted atop a sandwich or burger on a sidewalk table. The shift-changing taxis scattered an orange-yellow glow over the gas station lot. A rat worked its way along the dry and only slightly littered rail bed of the uptown B/D, ignoring the soggy garbage lake on the downtown side. Had it rained recently? Was it even possible, rain? Topside, at rush hour, the air swelled the ribcage and straightened the spine. It felt clean, even when flooded with waves of a misguided pedestrian's cologne.