New York Today: New York Today: The Warmest Spot in the City

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In good company. Credit Rick Loomis for The New York Times

Good morning on this sleepy Tuesday.

It will be 80 degrees and glowing in New York City today.

(Well, at least in one little slice of the Upper West Side.)

“It’s like a bright, sunny day in here,” said Hazel Davies, who oversees the Butterfly Conservatory, a lush tropical bubble inside the American Museum of Natural History. “In the winter, it’s warm and it’s full of color and movement.”

There are nearly 600 butterflies floating around the vivarium today, and over the course of the eight-month exhibition, tens of thousands of butterflies — from as far away as Australia and Africa — have glided through.

“I particularly like butterflies because I think they’re the ambassador insects,” Ms. Davies told us during a recent visit. (Almost on cue, an orange longwing landed on her head to listen.) “Anybody that’s really scared of insects generally likes butterflies because they’re pretty. If we can get people to come and look at them because they think butterflies are beautiful, then we can also tell them lots of other things about insects.”

When we stepped off the icy city streets into the conservatory, which is kept at 80 percent humidity to emulate the butterflies’ homes, we almost instantly began sweating through our sweaters. The butterflies, on the other hand, seemed quite relaxed.

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Green birdwings from Papua New Guinea and Australia, the most exotic of the museum’s collection, basked on nectar plants. Atlas moths from Asia, the largest in the display, dozed peacefully on flowers. Morpho butterflies and Ulysses swallowtails flashed electric blue as they fed on juice from oranges and bananas.

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A Harmonia Tiger butterfly inside the conservatory. Credit Rick Loomis for The New York Times

We wondered: How are these butterflies — thousands of them — transported across oceans?

Faraway farms raise the caterpillars until they pupate, or become a chrysalis. This is the ideal time to ship the soon-to-be butterflies because they don’t eat or drink during this stage. The farmers collect the chrysalides, wrap them in soft cotton, foam or toilet tissue, place them in boxes, and send them (DHL Express or FedEx) from their skies to ours.

When Ms. Davies receives the parcels — each packed delicately with about 100 chrysalides — she and her team open them inside the museum’s quarantine lab. They check the specimens carefully, like doctors examining their patients, and nurture the healthy ones until the butterflies emerge and can be released in the conservatory to mingle with New Yorkers.

“They particularly like to land on people when you get quite sweaty, because they like to take in salts from sweat,” Ms. Davies said. “They love bald men’s heads. They’re looking for a perch, and some of them like legs because they think it’s a tree trunk.”

“So if you’d like to come in and just stand here and sweat and feed the butterflies,” she added, “they’d love it.”

Here’s what else is happening:

Weather

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Not a bad time to visit a tropical bubble.

Temperatures will hover around freezing today and tomorrow, and we may see some flurries on both days.

Oh, and things aren’t warming up anytime soon.

In the News

A lawyer told a jury that his client had murdered three people, against the client’s request. Now, the Supreme Court will hear arguments as to whether what he did was constitutional. [New York Times]

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Larry English, the lawyer whose decision to go against his client’s wishes will be the subject of a Supreme Court case. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Some preservationists are upset that only the exterior of the office building at 550 Madison Avenue might become an official landmark and not the interior. [New York Times]

Jumaane D. Williams, a city councilman from Brooklyn, said he was opening an exploratory committee to unseat the current lieutenant governor. [New York Times]

Despite accusations from a former staffer that he made unwanted advances toward her, Senator Jeffrey D. Klein has resisted calls for his resignation. [New York Times]

After the board of New Jersey Transit rescheduled its monthly meeting for Martin Luther King’s Birthday, a crowd of Hoboken residents showed up to protest. [New York Times]

Music therapy is becoming more prevalent in nursing homes and hospices across the city, where it has been shown to improve a patient’s quality of life. [New York Times]

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Kaitlyn Kelly plays music with people at the Hebrew Home, many of whom have only a few months to live. Credit Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

A debate over how to curb wolflike coyotes, or “coywolves,” continues to intensify in the rural New York community of Clarkstown. [New York Times]

The Lower East Side’s popular Sunshine Cinema will hold its last screenings, Landmark Theatres confirmed Friday. [AM New York]

A Republican candidate for governor wants to legalize recreational marijuana to help fix the subways. [Daily News]

It’s now illegal in New Jersey to sell or posses a “bump stock,” the controversial firearm accessory used by the gunman in last year’s Las Vegas massacre. [NJ.com]

Today’s Metropolitan Diary: “Not Quite Fitting the Description

For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Morning Briefing.

Coming Up Today

It’s Day 1 of Broadway Week, with two-for-one tickets to more than a dozen theater productions on Broadway. Showtimes and ticket prices vary.

The New York Jewish Film Festival, hosted by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Jewish Museum, continues at Walter Reade Theater on the Upper West Side through Jan. 23. Times vary. [$15]

Visit the Whimsical Winter Wonder photo shoot, where families can take pictures with Wanderlust the Unicorn, the Crescent Moon and other fantasy props, at Poe Park in the Bronx. 2:30 p.m. [Free]

Harlem Stage celebrates the Ella Fitzgerald centennial, honoring her life and work with a performance at Harlem Stage Gatehouse on Convent Avenue. 7 p.m. [$250, tickets here]

Islanders vs. Devils, 7 p.m. (MSG+). Rangers host Flyers, 7 p.m. (MSG).

Alternate-side parking remains in effect until Feb. 12.

For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.

And Finally…

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A rally outside of the Supreme Court during the 2017 March for Life in Washington, D.C. Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images

This week marks 45 years since Roe v. Wade.

The ruling, one of the most prominent Supreme Court decisions in our country’s history, legalized abortion in the United States on Jan. 22, 1973.

(“Roe,” the anonymous plaintiff in the case, was Norma McCorvey of Texas, who was trying to get an abortion there. The defendant, “Wade,” was Henry Wade, then the Dallas County district attorney, who supported a Texas law forbidding abortion unless it would save the mother’s life.)

But the landmark ruling has always incited heated debate.

In New York, amid worries that the Supreme Court could soon try and overturn the ruling, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed writing Roe v. Wade into our state constitution to guarantee that these rights and protections remain in place.

You can learn more about the past, present and future of Roe v. Wade tonight at the Brooklyn Historical Society, when reproductive rights experts will lead the discussion “45 Years after ‘Roe v. Wade.’”

New York Today is a morning roundup that is published weekdays at 6 a.m. If you don’t get it in your inbox already, you can sign up to receive it by email here.

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