THE NIGHT AIR had been balm for exhaustion. The cabbie offered to turn on the air conditioner but the windows were more than fine as soon as the taxi was moving. Little breaches and thin spots in the clumpy cloud layer let the light swell and fade, holding the temperature stable and moderate. The East River sloshed and rotting pilings swayed. A blue tint lay above the water. The lawn of Carl Schurz Park and the river each gave off their own humid aromas. Ailanthus crowded in on the transverse at 96th Street on the cab ride back. Flies briefly scattered at passing feet and returned to eating feces, never rising more than three inches above the pavement. The clouds grew solid in the afternoon, with a notion of rain behind them. The tinted windows of the day’s third cab made it look as if a downpour were already underway, but by the now-choppy East River only a few flecks of drizzle were blowing on the wind. What had been a little warm for long pants was now a little chilly for shorts. Rain came in harder on the fourth cab ride, till it was only polite to roll the windows up. But there was not much to the shower, really, and luminous patches reappeared in the late afternoon clouds.