New York City, May 2, 2013

★★★★★ Even duty was cause for elation, in the clear early light. Parents wore running gear to the schoolyard drop-off. The reflective beads in the crosswalk paint glowed underfoot. A line of children on scooters rolled downhill toward the preschools by the river, stopping and starting as they grappled with their scooting technique, their helmets and wheels rich plastic yellow and pink. A man in a tan suit and blue-and-tan saddle shoes lit a cigarette with one hand. Bad music thumped from a hits-radio promotion team set up under a sidewalk canopy. Prince Street smelled of cut grass. A mass deployment of skateboards, bare navels, sunglasses. Time to switch to bubble tea.