★★★★ The snow was going by the windows in every direction except downward — raggedy scraps at first, then smaller flakes. The apartment door had to be pulled shut against the air pressure. For a while, New Jersey emerged from the whiteout and a spot that was almost the sun flared in the mirrored glass of the tower across Amsterdam. By the early emergency pickup time for preschool, though, the snow was blowing again. A fuel oil truck was preparing to make a delivery to the mirrored tower. Some of the sidewalks were still bare; some looked bare but were slick with slush. At West End, the snow went from swirling to shooting hard down the avenue. The supermarket behind the preschool was overrun, the line for the registers reaching all the way to where the line for the bakery counter would ordinarily be. By two in the afternoon, the snow was white smoke streaming by. The steps down from the forecourt were well mounded with snow when the older boy’s school let out. On the storm blew, now thinner, now thicker. Now thinner. What was it amounting to? Out in the night, the fabric-belted line dividers of the Apple Store stood on the sidewalk, warding passersby away from the place overhung by a row of icicles that buckled away from the smooth glass top edge of the building. The cross streets were full of fluffy chunks of snow, each lump distinct in its shadows in the retained illumination. A shutdown warning on the subway speakers carried up the un-shoveled steps out of the empty station. The streets were pale and vacant but they were still the streets. Things held their usual shapes, with no real prodigies or perils yet in evidence. Surely it had snowed this hard before. Where the way had been recently swept clean, the prints of the soles of boots, with dragging heel marks behind, stood cleanly in the thin renewed accumulation. A wide circle had been cleared around the fountain in Lincoln Center Plaza, and the water was going, lit from below, sending up a mist to mingle with the flakes in the glow. A scant handful of people had closed in around the brightness — a couple, slim in their cold-weather gear, snapped pictures and put their heads together for a kiss. Then a security guard in a flapped hat cleared the plaza, and the barren isolation of the fountain was complete. But was it necessary?