New York City, June 18, 2014

★★★★ Hot wind hissed through the leaves on the plaza. The rails of on an open-topped sightseeing bus gave off a blinding flash, and so did the subway steps on the way back up. Up in the darkness of the tree crown in the churchyard by Prince Street, someone in a cherry picker was at work with pole saws. Severed branches were being passed up and over the high brick wall and into a chipper. The restaurant windows were closed, the blinds lowered. Short, clear shadows raised decorative conical brickwork to a mammary roundness. Up on the office roof, the black woven plastic of the desk chairs was hot; slumping into one gradually baked the air-conditioning chill out of the depths of the lower back. A mourning dove walked around the corner of a planter, cocked a liquid eye, and walked right back. A few minutes later, it or another returned, chin fluttering and legs vivid red in the sun. The mobile phone was hot to the touch. Still, the roof was better than being in the freezing indoors. By rush hour, the heat had subsided in the shade, though the glare still overpowered the eyes. The two-year-old, riding on shoulders to the store, was on the lookout for motorcycles — motorbikes, scooters, anything — and finding plenty.