cars, trucks, SUVs, bicycles, delivery trucks, pedestrians, homeless people, stray dogs, pavement, reflectors, sidewalks, cigarette butts on the ground, litter, broken glass, concrete medians, street lights, small trees with fences around them, street signs, billboards, stores, restaurants, gas stations, banks, glass windows, office buildings, skyscrapers, apartment buildings, basketball courts, schools, chained-down garbage cans, flashing crosswalk signs, dingy alleys, dumpsters, chainlink fences, corner food vendors, windows/doors with bars on them, sun shining off of car windows and mirrors, potholes
honking, tires screeching, alarms going off, cars speeding by or slowing down, wheels bumping over reflectors, shoes clacking/slapping against pavement, whirr of bicycle tires, voices talking/shouting/laughing, cell phones ringing, car doors slamming, store doors scraping open, music from cars and shops, wind whistling between buildings, children yelling from schoolyards, thump of basketballs, rattle of fences, muffled voices from fast-food drive-throughs, tinkle of broken glass
exhaust, gas fumes, rubber, hot pavement, cigarette smoke, garbage, urine, food smells from restaurants and corner vendors, sweat, incense/potpourri/fragrance from nearby shops, sewage, old water in rain puddles
foods: hot dogs/pretzels/soda/hamburgers/french fries/bottled water, smoky exhaust, bitter cigarettes, paper butts, soda straws, sweat, rain
gritty pavement, heat coming off the concrete, slap of shoes against sidewalk, sweat trickling, breeze blowing your hair/clothes, metallic fence under your fingers, wind from passing cars, uneven sidewalk, brick/stucco/concrete buildings, cold doorknobs, smooth cell phone in your hand, splashing water from passing cars, drizzle of rain, jarring feel as tire hits a pothole
Helpful hints:--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: Snow dusted the gutters and the trash they contained with a humpy white blanket. It drifted down from the street lights--I swear, it jingled as it fell. Gone were the gasoline and greasy food smells; the air tasted clean, as if it had just been loosed upon the world.
Example 2: I hurried along the sidewalk, my keys pinching my palm. The wind slapped my cheeks with the scent of rusted metal and rotting take-out. Something skittered over my shoe and raced into the alley, taking my breath with it. I swore under my breath, wishing I hadn't been so cheap. Next time, I'd pay to park in the garage.
--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile) Music concussed from one vehicle after another like warring DJs in a night club.
Example 2: (Metaphor) Falafels, hot dogs, pretzels with mustard: when had Fifth Avenue turned into the State Fair?