new yorkers fill the streets in various states of dress— some, the hopeful ones, wear sun dresses, culottes, sandals, while others, perhaps less optimistic, are weighed down by scarves and thick socks. the temperature climbs steadily steadily today. young children are stripped of their sweaters and slathered with sunscreen, their parents fearing early autmn sunburn. men and women take their coats off, revealing tears, deodorant stains, and other signs of wear in the layers underneath; they were not anticipating this level of exposure. skin sighs as it is once again exposed to the sunlight, soaking up the last few drops before chill reenters the air.
the shift happens in moments. savvy new yorkers duck under awnings to exchange sandals for heavy rain boots, pull the plastic bags from the dry cleaners up above their heads as the sky that was moments ago bright and clear hiccups, hesitates.
there’s a magic in these, the moments between seasons, that is endemic to new york city. the weather here, like the inhabitants it haunts, is versatile and cantankerous, changing its mind with every exhale. the storm arrives at once, assertive and hard, the bully on the playground, overwhelming umbrellas, ruining expensive fabrics and fancy shoes. the streets, abandoned, moan and protest as they are saturated with water and people everywhere disappear into the open doors of various shops, bodegas, police stations. animals scatter, the rats hurrying back to the treasure chests of leftovers that inevitably exist under the ground.
in an instant, there is silence. the streets are strewn with signs of battle— mangled umbrellas and tipped over trashcans are bathed in the soft pink light that can only be found just moments after the last clap of thunder has faded away. the city breathes deeply, inhaling fresh moisture, as the gutters gurgle and groan with newfound responsibility. people who have been waiting feverishly for the storm to end rush across avenues and into the subways, making up for lost time. the air is cool and still as heavy boots splash along the curb and goosebumps raise up on bare shoulders.
fall has finally come.