Larson has a wonderful eye for contextual details which can be astonishingly informative in subtle ways.
Throughout the week before departure, passengers who lived in New York started packing in earnest, while the many who came from elsewhere began arriving in the city by train, ferry, and automobile. They found a city steaming with heat—91 degrees on Tuesday, April 27, with four days yet to go until “Straw Hat Day,” Saturday, May 1, when a man could at last break out his summer hats. Men followed this rule. A Times reporter did an impromptu visual survey of Broadway and spotted only two straw hats. “Thousands of sweltering, uncomfortable men plodded along with their winter headgear at all angles on their uncomfortable heads or carried in their hot, moist hands.”