New York City, November 1, 2012

★★ After another brief sunny morning, the lid of clouds clapped down again, leaving a cold, top-to-bottom winter gray. A toddler crossing the street coughed, and the baby in the stroller coughed back. Dogs were out everywhere, and dog-walkers. The entrance to the Park was choked off with fences and generator trailers and tents for the marathon. Against the downtown sky, at 57th Street, the broken crane still dangled. Inside the Park, a man wearing safety green stood in a cherry-picker basket, up among the trees, and pointed at a higher limb in need of closer inspection. Rounding the corner away from the park, the sound of a chainsaw faded into the sound of a jackhammer. A Callery pear tree showed a wound where one of its limbs had been torn away. The next tree had lost its entire top. Farther west, a leaf fell all on its own, straight down, unforced. Another followed it.