New York City, November 19, 2012

★★ Sun and clouds traded off over Manhattan early. There was enough of the former to wake up to, through the perforated windowshade. But midday, under the girder shadows of the Queensboro Bridge, was dim and getting dimmer, save for a gleaming patch on the East River. Some forty-five hours earlier, in the adjoining airspace, the golden hour had gleamed through the clean and glassy tram to Roosevelt Island. Now there was the ride to the gray-tan concrete of the L.I.E., under gray-tan clouds. Only the foliage of Forest Hills was vivid, even in the dull light. The return trip, on the high approach to the Midtown Tunnel, laid out the entire skyscape: a dark blanket — one of those grimy felt ones from the back of a moving van — spread east and south over Queens; to the west, above the skyscrapers, were broken clouds and daylight, with one tasteful cumulus formation spanning the river. Manhattan had claimed a full share of illumination. The Traverse was aglow. After sundown, a fat crescent moon still shone.