★ The overstaying winter had switched again from cloudy and too cold to bright and too cold, as if that would make it appealing. Steam blew from the street chimney and people moved about in heavy coats under the high-angled sun, like a movie scene being staged out of season. Wind clawed at a man's lightweight dress trousers as he walked down Lafayette, his hands jammed so forcefully into his jacket pockets that the quilted fabric bunched up across the small of his back. The wind was numbing, shoving walkers around like a tired mime routine, made no less tired by being real.
★★★ Everything lay in brilliantly sharp focus, the colors clear and saturated. The brightness was no compensation for the biting cold—now plainly and a little ridiculously out of season—but on its own terms, it was a thrilling sight. A dog went skidding on the dry pavement, unwilling, as its leash-holder detoured to throw something in a trashcan. A woman wore a scarf as a babushka, with her mobile phone tied against her face so she could talk on it. The light gleamed on the chrome of the production trailers using up all the space where the moving van was supposed to go. At dinnertime, the toddler pointed up to the Mormons' angel where it stood in the lowering sunlight, going from flaring gold to copper to bronze. The toddler expected water should come from its trumpet.
★★ The wind early on was not necessarily wintry by the thermometer, but there was nothing springlike about it. The sky was flat gray and the river even flatter—the latter the color of off-white paint, as if someone had worked in the details of the New Jersey and Manhattan skyline and had yet to fill in the horizontal band between them. Two flaring white spots marked the late sun, then a blurry square. At last, the sun descended to reach a band of clear sky in the west, and simultaneously the clouds at the zenith dissolved to blue, with only shred of white remaining; beams of hot golden light bounced from building to building, spanning blocks. After dark, in the cleared cold air, there was nothing approximate about the wintriness.
★★ The gray broke up, and blue showed through the perforations in the shade. Now the furniture delivery was early, but it was warm enough in the sun to rush out in a hoodie. Out on the river, a cloud cast a shadow, one patch of darkness. Then more clouds cast more shadows. They blew away again, returned again. Midday, under the cloud cover, it felt colder than it had been three hours before. A proper coat was a little stifling on the trunk, while the extremities were still chilled. There was no right way to be out in it.
★★★ The plastic sheeting over the upper middle floors of the rising tower showed sharp wrinkle lines in the sun, like unpressed linen. Only a little haze downriver discolored the blue. A squarish piece of clear airborne litter danced with its reflection, rocking and flipping and flashing, up the side of the mirrored glass apartment building next to the construction site. It floated out of sight. The bare new apartment was cold, with nothing to do in it. Gleaming cement mixers came and went on the avenue below, and the furniture truck did not. It was cold even with a parka on. It was cold with the heater on, once the heater controls had been figured out. Rebar cast longer and longer shadows across the newly poured top slab of the tower, right there across the way. Workers, dressed warmly, smoothed it out. It was cold lying on top of the heater cabinet, wearing the parka, with the parka hood balled up as a pillow, level with the bottom of the window. The black netting sticking out from the construction site caught the wind and billowed up, one section at a time, then subsided. The river was blinding in the descending sun, along an only slightly unfamiliar sightline. Still no furniture. Back across the street, amid cardboard boxes and stacks of flat cardboard boxes-to-be, amber light poured through those glass walls, floor to ceiling, the admittedly and unsustainably extravagant expanse of glass.
★★ The sky was a hopeless gray. "I'm glad I'm not marching," one man said to another, as his dog urinated on a scaffold post. "I'm glad I'm not in a kilt," the other said. The piston-gusts of an uptown 2 and a 1 were frigid along the platform. People clutched hot beverages, or possibly other beverages in hot beverage cups. Who could tell? Babies or overindulged small dogs were bulges of fabric, on or inside outerwear. Later in the day, the clouds had acquired a little texture, light-medium gray against light gray. Then, in the night, they had come apart. One sheet, with the round just-past-full moon showing through it, glowed silver; others caught the orange of the city lights. Between them was deep blue, with twinkling stars and strong-shining planets in its lingering winter-clarity.
★ The bright, brittle morning gradually lost its only attractive aspect, so that having waited to face the cold meant facing it without any redeeming aspects. The intense sun faded to a white blur under clouds, over a late day devoid of highlight and shadow. Drafts came up under the bottom of the parka, carelessly thrown on without an underjacket. The sidewalk merchandise table had a full row of green ball caps, while the only green knit hat in sight was on the head form modeling it.
[No stars] A smack in the face, after a night of thumping and creaking wind. The children's gloves and mittens had to be relocated, but at least the inventory of clean sweaters had built up again. Threads of white showed on the river. The preschooler, who'd shaken off his mittens for the sake of carrying a toy car in his bare hand, relented after half a block and allowed the mittens to be put back on. Then he wanted a shoulder ride. Walking the back side of Trumpville with him up there was like driving an empty rental truck over a bridge in a crosswind. The gusts pushed the feet a little off course. By the time he reached the school washroom, his cheeks were a vivid magenta. Outside again, dust and litter were aloft and dive-bombing. Little icicles hung down from a livery sedan and a van.
★ Droplets were falling from somewhere, under the bright and scattered morning sun. Maybe from the construction work at the top of the still-growing tower. The clouds thickened from a filter to an obstruction; the day grew visibly grayer and palpably colder, a fact too bleak to even accept. Here was a March reversal without the least bit of drama or flair, just a steady decline. By midday a preemptive dampness lay over everything, a preview of the drenching that couldn't not be on its way. At the work day's end, the soaking rain had arrived, in drops fine enough to allow one last attempt at delusion–despite the water beading on the railing outside the window–before the slender vertical traces confirmed what had been obvious all along.
★★★★ Cirrus clouds slid along the sky at a noticeable but unhurried pace. Birds were singing. Hazy and dazzling morning sun glinted on the little smooth grains in the sidewalk concrete. Down in the subway station, out of the bouncing light, there was a deep, lingering chill. It was worth overshooting Broadway/Lafayette to walk up from Grand Street with a cup of Hong Kong tea. The light hit the trees above Kenmare and discovered shades of green emerging from the brown of their upper branches. People sat out at sidewalk tables in the afternoon, wearing light jackets. A man crossed Prince Street wearing flower-print shorts and boat shoes without socks. A silver glow lay over Lower Manhattan. Up at Columbus Circle, One57 looked like an unconvincing rendering, jutting flatly and singly up behind the textured collective of the older, humbler skyline. Broccolini in a hot pan set off the smoke detector, and the fresh evening air blowing through the opened window was delicious.