★★ The phone’s flash-flood alert, blaring in the early morning dark, called attention to a storm that might otherwise have passed unnoticed. By dawn the gray clouds were dissolving through indefinite stages into gray haze. The higher sky went gradually blue, the lower sky pinkish-brown. People were walking slowly in the heat. Sun shone into the subway track beds and the foot of the elevator shaft. At 18th Street station there was a substantial puddle just past the turnstiles, the flood warning come true. By late day the light was clear, even though the breeze blowing up from the direction of the harbor was palpably sodden. Smoky orange clouds stacked under white ones. Two youngish men lugged an air conditioner in its box onto the N train and stood near one side of the door, flanked on the other side by a young man in a seersucker suit.