New York City, August 3, 2016

★★★★★ The air conditioner could stay off after sunrise, and the windows could stay open. Looking west to the Park, along the shining leaves of the street trees, brought on sneezing. The sun flared off people’s shoulders. Clouds moved unhurriedly, in various pleasant white shapes. The light made its way to the building tops and it was suddenly apparent, bright as it was, that the days were dwindling. The person at the opposite desk felt it in the same moment. Where pedestrians had been a sharply-lit parade for weeks, they now moved indistinctly in deep shadows, though it was not even six. People were moving faster than they had been. From Broadway, the light was off to the west, or away up ahead, receding. Between 29th and 30th, beside a plywood construction wall, there was a brief hot microclimate. The folding chairs in Greeley Square were full of people, as were the seats in the seating zone beyond, behind metal barriers in the roadway. Times Square was still sticky through sheer human effort. One of the desnudas had eschewed the usual flag decorations and had painted her nude body in a yellow Pikachu theme. A man had his wallet out and was talking to a CD hustler. Now and then in a crosswalk some late beam of sun stretching across the island touched a passing face. A carriage horse trotted by, heading home for the night. Past Columbus Circle the streets were calm again and entering twilight. Up in the apartment, though, the door opened into one last burst of light, making it seem as if a lamp had been left on by accident.