By Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

   It by Y. D., Staten Island, NY

I was first fascinated by it three years ago when I came to New York from Moscow. On the second day after my arrival to the United States, my aunt took me to see Manhattan. It was a sunny day, and from the ferry the buildings looked cheerful and radiant, their numerous eyes shining in the sun. I was full of excitement and impatience as we finally reached the famous Fifth Avenue.

There was a smell of food floating in the air, strange and unfamiliar. It was coming from a stand not far from us. I went there to see what it was. The man at the stand asked me something, but I couldn't understand what he said because I didn't know English. My aunt told me that the man was selling food that was called a "hot dog." It was a sausage inside a piece of bread. I didn't understand why a sausage inside a bread was named after an animal.

We walked a few blocks further. Almost all of the people were in a rush, running somewhere. I got the feeling that I too had to run and hurry. There were many sounds coming from everywhere: the cars going by, someone calling a taxi, a group of people playing Indian music, the cars' horns, the squeaking of the brakes, a TV commercial from a nearby store; all the sounds of a big busy city. I heard those sounds in Moscow, Vienna, and Rome, but there was something different in Manhattan. It wasn't the multitude of the sounds, the crowd of hurrying people, the glamour of the stores, the magnitude of the buildings; it was something else, absolutely different and unique.

I still don't know what it is. I like to go to Manhattan and plunge myself into its active life of the day, to feel that excitement again and again, but every time I go I wonder what is so different about it.

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