New York City, July 5, 2016

★★ In the dim and humid morning, the remaining puddles were less drying up than spreading out, their damp edges merging into the ambient dampness. Over 18th Street the sky was still gray, but in the distance down Seventh Avenue the buildings popped out from the otherwise gloomy scene. Above them were blue gaps in the clouds. Fitfully and slowly the day cleared, till the sun was coming down everywhere, hot and direct, stinging like sweat in a paper cut. It began to seem as if those sullen clouds had been the day’s best feature. The sky and the light grew clearer and more brilliant, till the baking heat filled even the shade. It was impossible to resent the air conditioning. People moved slow-wittedly, getting in the way. On the crowded 1 train, a woman clutched the handrail along one side of the car with a straight arm, heaving backward to press her bulk against the center post as well, in simultaneous surrender and conquest.

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