As I was leaving Grand Central, I felt a single drop of rain. Wondering if I imagined it, I looked up and saw thousands of tiny drops suspended in the night air far above me. They were easily visible because of the almost overpowering light. The Chrysler building provided the backlighting. It is easy to recognize by its triangle windows and stacked curves forming a crown, and in the darkness there was light from the V shaped inserts built into the steel, and floodlights on arms pointed back at the building. From the side was an even more powerful light, coming from the Chanin building, another Art Deco skyscraper lit up at night.
I watched as the rain slowly descended. But it happened in a surreal way taking literally 10 seconds or more before reaching me on the street below, drifting down like warm snow. I took shelter under a construction scaffold and shot upward with my camera largely protected.
In an unexpected but delightful turn of events, I came from the country to the city and found a new way to look at weather. Under the shelter of trees, and without such bright artificial light, I am accustomed at home to rain falling suddenly, without seeing it in action. Here in NYC, I could see the rain as a curtain of light, like an aurora borealis of water. Though the northern lights I have seen are more colorful than this, I appreciated this just as much for the gift it gave me to see rain in a new way. It took the light of the city and the backdrop of a building to truly experience falling rain.