New York City, September 10, 2017

★★★★★ A chill clung to clothes worn in from outside in the early morning. The trick was to be out of the warm and blinding sun but also out of the cold breeze, so that everything hung in balance. The shin of a metallic Michael Jordan logo flashed from the front of a cap. A man turned his head and whistled as a line of bare tanned legs walked away from him. Fresh, damp horse droppings were piled in the shade of the bike line. Someone was unloading a boogie board from a car, though it was hard to imagine using it. The five-year-old took a few dutiful laps on his two-wheeled scooter, then switched to speeding and swerving around the plaza on the old three-wheeler. Now and then he would switch back, and back again. A few leaves, mostly green but scorched with brown, skidded a short ways on the bricks and then stopped. Nearly everyone going out or coming in paused and lingered. Scooters and strollers multiplied. For a while there were too many children for the children to ride scooters through—children in moods of tearfulness or challenge or eagerness or sleepiness. The crowd thinned and the scooters sped up again. Parents poured wine into plastic cups. The subway was crowded with riders, thickly overseen by police. After dinner, it seemed better to walk not quite a mile down Amsterdam in the cool oncoming twilight than to go back down into the heat and struggle. The five-year-old, who had insisted on wearing shorts and had scootered his legs into fatigue, disagreed, but he had been disagreeing about a lot of things, and in the end he went along.