Reunion with Moscow

Reunion with Moscow

As the car moves from the airport through the city, memories return: the giant village of two-story houses we saw 38 years ago is still there. Tall towers in Stalin’s wedding-cake style now shoot up in-between every now and then, and long rows of new high-rise apartment houses line the arterial roads. But in the center of the city, on Kalinin Avenue, a modern representative boulevard springs up, with giant glass palaces, broad-windowed department stores, restaurants, movie theaters. The highest of the new glass houses is the building of CMEA (Council of Mutual Economic Assistance), at the beginning of the Avenue, quite beautiful, overlooking the Moskva River. It is not unlike the U.N. building on New York’s East River, with its half-circular meeting-hall annex. Nearby is a hotel for the delegates, with a big restaurant. (Everything is smooth, modern, elegant, well-lit; in the hotel we have a suite—separate sitting room and bedroom, hall and bath—with furnishings contributed by Comecon-member states. A staff member of CMEA, showing me around that office building, comments, “Parkinson’s Law: when we move into it, it will already be too small. “)

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