New York City, August 30, 2016

★★ Opening the windows brought in cool air and the seeming prospect of mercy, but the sun quickly betrayed that promise. A man slept on the sidewalk, carefully positioned in the shadow of a wireless public internet kiosk, his head up against the base. Crosswalk stripes looked like louvers in the lenses of someone’s fully mirrored sunglasses. The difference between the clear southern sky and the gray piled up beyond the Empire State Building was dramatic and meaningless. Baked-on ooze surrounded the trash cans on the sidewalk. The homeward subway offered a choice between cars with bodies pressed up to the doors or cars with the telltale tipped-in windows marking broken air conditioning. By Times Square the hot uncrowded cars were crowded too; new riders got on with looks of dread and dismay. It was hard to judge whether the air was already cooler uptown after the short ride or it was just the contrast with the foulness of the train.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Tom Scocca’s story.