The moisture in the air is just off being water. It's hot and steamy and eight in the morning.
Restaurant workers, tired from last night's activity, are hosing down the sidewalks. Water on dust turns to a murky steam.
Short brown people sweep up last night's mess left by revelers and workers who were just too tired to pick up after themselves.
Flower sellers are arranging their wilting freesias hoping that today's sales will be an improvement on yesterday's dismal returns.
There's a white guy leaning against a wall next door to one of the flower vendors. Out of it. Whether by alcohol or hard drugs, whose to know. Or to care.
Ever bright-eyed, little children frolic by, hair braided and beaded into corn-cob rows. One of them stumbles - the pavement is pitted, pockmarked, pedestrianed-out.
It's noisy. Horns beep. On corners people are handing out fliers advertising new restaurants (not another one!) and clothing sales.
Most of the tourists are still asleep. They'll be up shortly and the streets will be even more congested. Hopefully they'll spend money and help to buoy the economy.
Ah, there are some German tourists. They are up early, hoping to take in the sights before the tourist rush gets into full swing. They are each holding an end of a large map. One of them spots me looking at them.
"Excuse me," he says in heavily accented English. "But how am I getting to Roosevelt Island from Manhattan? This is 59th Street, yes?"
I assure him it is, and give him detailed directions.
He thanks me.
I catch the Q60 on Second Avenue, and head to work.