“We do not remember days, we remember moments”. Cesare Pavese
The long flight Moscow - New-York, unfolding like a journey from the past to the future, was over. My joy knew no bounds; I was in America! It was 10 pm in New-York; it was getting dark. I took a train from JFK to Manhattan. I seemed very calm, but I was in complete awe; it was a moment of delight when my dream was coming true.
The stations looked ugly. In the subway car, I saw a few homeless people who smelled disgusting. There were dirty newspapers and empty plastic bottles on the floor. It was an unpleasant surprise. At one station a good-looking guy with a beautiful guitar came on the train and began to sing wonderfully in English. I had heard English songs only on TV before. It was a magnificent performance! I see artists on trains almost every day now, but I will never forget my first impression of that guy with a guitar. I got off at the corner of West 175 Street and Ft Washington Ave. There were no people or cars, only garbage bags and darkness. The apartment where I had to spend the night was harmoniously matched with the environment outside. It is not enough just to say it was creepy. I stood in front of a window and couldn't understand that tremendous difference from what I saw in movies: “Here you go, Ellie! You are in Manhattan!” That night I went to bed in tears and felt like someone was playing a cruel joke on me.
Fortunately, the next day showed me another Manhattan: gorgeous, majestic, colorful, dynamic and just amazing! As a matter of fact, New York is a city of contrasts. It combines wealth and poverty, beauty and outrage, truth and falsehood. I love this city the way it is. It has a special spirit and you have to get to the core of it!