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March - April 2002

In memory of Linda DeLaine

...When finishing this story, I received sad news. Linda S. DeLaine died. She was a fantastic American lady who had never visited Russia, but loved it and its culture with all her heart. All of a sudden the heart failed her. For a few years we were working together at About, and her section on Russian Culture was the best resource of the kind on the Net, and Linda was the most sincere and knowledgeable friend of Russia.

...It is so strange and painful to realize that she will not read this story, will not share her always keen and interesting thoughts.

Linda loved life and loved Moscow. I know she'd like to read how nice is Moscow in the springtime, and I publish the story as is...

    March is a joyful month in Moscow; this year, more than ever. All the snow had already disappeared in February, and the sun was shining above not yet really clean, but at least not muddy streets and squares. April brought almost summer heat...

The first trees turn green in the malls, of course... This one sits in the middle of GUM.

    The first flowers and green trees of upcoming season of course can be found in the malls (and GUM, their flagship), they always sell us what they believe is the future. Bright light and clear air is most welcome after winter twilight and the hazy time of melting snow

    Just the right time to get first pale but visible suntan while lazily walking through streets full of birds' chirping. Just the right time to think about where to spend May vacations (combination of weekends, Labor Day, Victory Day, and a few "sick leaves" in real life sums up into 10 days one can spend out of the office). Just the right time to change clothes and enjoy lighter outfit.

    ...Just the right time to present you another set of photos, pictures of the city stretching and warming up before summer exercises...

As always in my stories here, you can zoom in on any picture. Just click on an image and a larger and better quality photo will open. Many of the photos are worth looking at in postcard size.

Even standard apartment blocks look bright in March A nice public school. Of course, not for every Moscow child. New and expensive apartments at Sodovoe Ring Skies through GUM glass rooftop

Riverside Towers business center is expanding
"Third Ring", the only modern freeway in Moscow
   Very sharp light and the lack of any leaves or grass makes the pictures of Moscow buildings look as though they are scenes from a strange movie with professionally staged limelight. In the previous story I promised to show some new Moscow architecture, here are a few more photos.

   Apartment blocks are now available in different classes and price ranges, standard and relatively cheap ones - and unique luxurious houses with larger apartments and higher prices.

   With new houses come new cars - and Moscow is more and more suffering from endless traffic jams. A few new freeways of course look nice and are a pleasure to use, but cannot solve the problem of a an old city with radial structure and old narrow streets.

   Bright light and tinted glass fill the city with reflections. Some are a bit strange.

Clouds above and the windows... Moscow architects fell in love with glass walls The money refelcts the faith - windows of Saving Bank office My own reflection in the walls of Moscow2000 Tower

Bagration Bridge and Moscow-2000 Tower
Cleaning windows is the job for real climbers
   Of course I could not miss my favorite Bagration bridge, the one that looks more like an airport than any Russian airport. Its interiors (and views from the other bank) I already presented to you before, here are the reflection (that's me standing below one of the glass panes of Moscow-2000 tower that sits at one end of the bridge) - and the shapes... You see, taking photos for these pages is a pleasant task on a nice spring day in Moscow!

   And of course spring is the time for cleaning and washing - and these guys in the photo on the right are not just climbers - they of course have the necessary training, and do real sports for fun, - but here they make money with their skills. And the ropes do look impressive!

   The row of photos below also is about the same bridge... More cleaning, a wonderful view from the open deck, and the curiosity of a teenager exploring the sculpture in front of the tower.

Moscow-2000 Tower goes up to the skies Bridge wash The view from the open deck of the bridge Teenagers are always curious and explore the world around - including monuments ;-)

   And on the banks near the bridge a huge construction site is alive - once almost frozen ambitious project of Moscow City, the area of new tall skyscrapers for offices and government structures, is in progress...

New business area, Moscow City, is under extensive construction

   What are Muscovites doing on such a nice weekend? Depends on their habits (they do differ a lot!), moods and resources. Some spend time in the malls, others prefer lines to the Christ The Savior Cathedral to those in the shops - or simply enjoy hot dogs in still chilly air.

A fancy car on display in a fashion section of GUM Line to Christ The Savior Cathedral Hot dogs near Kremlin walls - it's nice to have a snack on a long walk through the city

Orthodox Church against Anti-Christ... and the  rest of the world
Fun in the sun: a gulp of beer, a word of gossip
Time of tourist groups all over Moscow
   Politically active ones go out for demonstrations, and their demands differ as much as their clothes. Those shown in the picture on the left, are demonstrating against Anti-Christ (Catholics, for example, are considered by these guys his servants, the West, his residence). Russian Church is not only getting more and more orthodox not only in its name, but in its ways; it wants more power (political included), more money, more influence.

   But of course political or religious fanatics are small groups... It's much more typical for a Muscovite to have fun and relax on a weekend - like the people on the benches you see on the left.

   And also Moscow is full of guests and visitors of all sorts at this time - because it spectacular! And flocks of excursion groups are seen all over the city, with concentration noticeably growing in the downtown and around the Kremlin.

Monastery walls - Andrey Rublev's museum inside Vertical marks of Moscow skyline Radio tower fits the tradition

Lines of Christ the Savior Cathedral Gold domes in front  of grey house for nomenklatura
   Still you forget all that obscurantism when looking at the beauty of crosses, onions, domes. There is a special grace and unmistakable style in every line of a Russian church silhouette, in the whiteness of walls and colorful splashes of drums and onions. They all are real pieces of art and a good reason for visiting Moscow for an aesthete...

Engineering construction classics of early  XX century, Shukhov's tower Kremlin tower and branches yet bare Modern luxury housing in the old streets of Moscow New shopping area for expensive fashion and beauty shops

   Towers and modern turrets are also a part of Moscow - or Russian, for that matter, - tradition. The row above is just another illustration of this well-known fact.

Street sports getting more and more popular in Moscow - and half-pipe ramps appear all around the city First test of a new bike by Marina my daughter First week of April - the pond in Gorky Park still covered by ice, but the sun is working on it Changing season warnings - from DON'T STEP ON ICE to NO SWIMMING!

If there is no ramp, there is still chance to do slalom
   April is the time to open the season of summer sports - from street activities on inline roller-skates to bike rides in the parks and woods (Marina my daughter is enjoying her dream that came true - a brand new cross-country GT bike on the photo above).

   It's a bit early to swim yet - the ice was covering city ponds until the end of March - but now workers replace "Do not step on ice!" with "No Swimming!" warnings on Chistye Prudy (Clear Ponds) boulevard...

Middle of April - but the trees in front of Bolshoi whisper spring! Fixing the lighting of a fountain - soon it will be operational and full of cool water On the banks of Moskva river on a sunny Saturday

April 20, the new season of river boat tours started
When you don't have money for a boat tour, you still can enjoy the river and the sun
   The time of first green lives also means the time of first boat rides on Moskva river - and in general the time to prepare city for the coming heat. We all start to think about water and fountains.

   Those who can afford paying for the boat ride ticket enjoy the city from a freshly repainted boat, homeless enjoy the sun for free dozing on the warm wood of berths for these boats.

Fire in Architectural Institute
    Accidents happen all year round - and even in nice springtime. The fire in the Architectural Institute (shown in the photo on the left) was a small one, but since the building is the center of the city surrounded by lots of banks and offices, firemen arrived in huge numbers

Firemen at work
   ...For passers-by and students it was more am extra entertainment than a danger, and there were no casualties in the fire. After watching the scene for a few minutes, Muscovites were turning back to their chores and games of large city dwellers. For me it was time to get home, download all the images from a camera to my home computer and to start preparing this page for you.

   Hopefully, some of you liked it. The next one will be already from a green and hot Moscow of early summer. See you then!

Andrey - asebrant@online.ru

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