★★ Clouds were moving and kept on moving, bunching up and loosening and bunching up again. The river went dark and choppy, then turned smoother and silvery as the rain blew in. The clouds still had white in them, even as the drops fell. After the rain–or between the rains, as it turned out–the river was green and mottled with shadows, as sun came through. Then it was deeper green with whitecaps coming across the current. Indoors was humid, but the breeze outside had become fresh. A male kestrel fluttered up and perched on a balcony across the way. By the time the camera could be persuaded to zoom past the windowpane, the little falcon was gone from the viewfinder in the dimming light. Rain came blasting in again, falling in what actually did look like sheets: solid white objects plunging past, flashing in peripheral vision. Again it subsided; people spilled out onto Broadway, warily, to take advantage of the end of the rain, or was it just a pause in the rain? The latter, and it didn't hold quite long enough even to push a stroller up to the Fairway and back.
★★★ Nobody but the toddler was inclined to wake up in the dim morning. It was too humid to feel chilly, but toward noon, the CNN sign over Columbus Circle read 18 degrees lower than the sweltering forecast in the paper. Small schoolchildren out on field trips filled the crosswalk and sidewalk. Air conditioners dripped onto awnings downtown, and anti-fracking activists accosted pedestrians. The afternoon air was beach air, thick and full of glare. In a hot patch of light by a store window, the surface of sun-splashed clothes advertisements briefly seemed to dissolve into the real world. In front of the apartment building, people were sitting out on the stone-block representations of benches, which really serve as parking-space barriers and on which people never sit.
★★★★ Downriver, the Jersey side was almost gone in the bright morning haze. A pneumatic hammer on an excavator chattered like a monstrous bird courting. The air in the hallway was swampy. On the cross street, a man was up a ladder cleaning the metal sides of the lettering over the entrance to the music center. A group passed on Broadway wearing kilts, men and women both. There would be no sign of the forecast showers. Downtown, trapeze dresses were definitely announcing the season and themselves as a thing of it. Eventually the office air conditioner forced an escape to the roof, where sun warmed the dark shirt fabric and breeze pulled at it. Heat seeped from the metal railing into stiffened fingers. The iced coffee tap indoors had already run dry.
★★★ The morning fog was thick and forbidding, but the pavement was merely damp. The mistrustful kindergartener, preparing to go out the door, could be shown that people were down there without umbrellas. Soon enough, the worst had burned away, leaving only a lingering mist on the river and haze in the streets. By late morning, there were only a few scaly patches of cloud in a blue downtown sky. Motorcycles and bicycles came out; greenery twined in a bike's basket. Below Houston, shorts were out: baggy tourist shorts, short-shorts, culottes, everyone's own idea of ventilation or liberation. Uptown, in the evening rush, people seemed to be mostly still wearing the pants in which they'd gone off to work.
[No stars] The newsprint said one thing, but the dark gray outside said something obviously worse. Doing anything nice would be impossible, and doing the necessities would be nasty. Waves of misty rain swept by, streaking the windows. Taking an umbrella or leaving it behind seemed equally futile. Two young men were out in badly-fitting ponchos, possibly made from clear trash bags. They were as well equipped as anyone. Water soaked up into shoes and leaked down through the scaffolding. People winced under their hoods or impeded others with their umbrellas. On the lone dry spot, against the wall of a bank, a busker sat with a guitar, singing a stiff-paced "Let It Be." In the course of seven blocks, the rain had gone from misting to driving. A Fairway worker mopped the floor inside the doors over and over again. Under an umbrella, a dressed-up woman huddled with a man in a pale blue mortarboard-and-gown set. The outboard shoulder of the gown was darkening. All day, the gray stayed, turing to a dirty yellow on its way into a soggy night.
★★★★ 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 were light blue clouds against a deep blue zenith, and deep blue clouds against the light blue west.
★★★ 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 so much as condense out of the air, everywhere at once.
★★★★ 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.
★★★★ 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.
★★★★★ 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 drifted petals in the playground corner. When the light did go, sunset colors bloomed like paint in turpentine. In the darkening sky, a thin white moon came along behind.