We have been blessed to receive a string of perfectly temperate days in New York this past week, launching the City and its living soul (the people) into the ephemeral realm of genuine transition.
A brief jaunt around Union Square on a gorgeous, 70° F Sunday Funday reveals a certain, subtle shift in the city’s sartorial hivemind. Weekends are always telling, as the urban populace is generally free of the filter of workwear, with this week acknowledging a step away from the Dog Day-casual uniform of shorts, tanks, sundresses, and sandals. There’s a faint, almost imperceptible edge on the wind, and people are once again starting to do things like wear sleeves.
For me, the change couldn’t be more timely.
There are some people who are completely enamored with this idea of “Endless Summer;” I am not one of them. Years spent living in the South have gifted me a near “zero tolerance” for heat, and – once I reset my clock on the Midsummer Solstice – I invariably find myself obsessed with a kind of annual countdown, ticking off the days till the wheel of the world clicks over and autumn at last arrives.
I only really understand myself in the cold, I think.
All the same, I have a special place in my heart for New York summer. As the seasons begin their annual drift, I can’t help but get a bit sentimental: something about that special, sultry scent of stagnant garbage and exhaust suspended in sunshine, emulsified with a dash of dirty hotdog water and “rain” from the air conditioning units, all bonded together by a perpetual blast of hot, piss-scented wind from the train…something about that whole shebang stirs a longing in my soul, a flickering pathway through the haze of heat and memory to selves and seasons past. One whiff, and all at once I am heading off to acting school in Chelsea at age 18, or climbing out of a subway hole at the age of 6, clinging to my Grandma’s hand.
And as yet another summer sinks into luminous pink over the Hudson, I lament the passage of Time.
Certain constants remain through it all, of course. Like the need to get dressed. The weather is still too warm and unpredictable for a real autumn wardrobe, of course, more so than in years past (indeed, as of yesterday morning, the City has once again dissolved into a sticky, muggy cesspit); even so, it feels apropos to somehow nod at the impending change.
In my visual survey of the street I notice a lot of women looking good in button-down shirts – polished but relaxed, and concealing a bit more skin than would have been pragmatic just a month ago. I like this pink workshirt from Madewell for a lovely transitional balance: loosely-structured, a tad oversized, and turned out in the kind of soft, midweight cotton that’s only going to get better with every wash.
Best of all, the faded, ombre-style shade of magic hour pink is perfect for the August/September cusp; come October, it will be time again for jewel tones.
But so it goes, friends. Onward we march.
May every moment stretch, until it doesn’t.
“I watch the sunset, which lasts three hours at this time of year. As if the sun, on the verge of leaving, had discovered qualities in the world that are now making its departure a reluctant one.”
– Peter Høeg, Smilla’s Sense of Snow
Listen: Amorphous Androgynous (AKA, The Future Sound of London), “Yo-Yo.”. “The world’s in transience.”