Graphic Witness: Hugo Gellert
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Hugo Gellert: Comrade Gulliver

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USELESS

AS the Americans would say it, "We took in the town". A tempo of lightning! Underground, overhead, on the surface of the streets -- people were rushed to their destination. Motor cars, three and four abreast, were speeding in every direction. Blinding shop windows, luxuriously dressed women and elegantly attired men crowded the avenues. One was constantly aware that it is the richest city of the richest country in the world.

The skyscrapers! I strained my neck watching their vertical lines vanish into the sky. Empire State Building! Tallest of them all, its upright metal ribs glitter in the sunlight. Elevators swiftly sucked us up to the topmost floor. There an unforgettable panorama of the Wonder City spread before us. Streets intersected each other, like ruled lines on a ledger. Towers boldly demanded attention. At their feet the tops of lesser structures formed angular, geometrical patterns. Here and there open spaces -- parks. Graceful bridges shot across the gleaming waters which encircled the city. We looked down from the dizzy heights.

Way down below, in the street, men were mere fleas. Those fleas built this tower! What audacity of the imagination to conceive this palace that reaches above the clouds! How daring to make it a steel and stone reality! Mr. Keen pointed out that many floors of this building were empty. He also pointed to other skyscrapers -- mostly unoccupied. Can it be that like our churches in Moscow, they have outlived their time? But if we had these buildings in Moscow! What apartments they would make! Airy, well lighted and comfortably heated. Thousands of families would make their homes in them. In America they remain vacant -- wasted!

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