George Bernard Shaw
Moscow, city of fire and ice
Moscow, city of fire and ice

MOSCOW — Once I came to Moscow to cover an urban ballooning expedition. In winter. But when the balloonists came face to frigid, wind-lashed face with the winter here — well, we never got off the ground. And so, as icy gales scoured the city, I strolled near the Moskva River until I faced a vast, low-hovering cloud, lighted from within, scented with chlorine and cigarettes. Occasionally, a near-naked Muscovite would emerge, dripping, and wander off to look for a towel and his pants. This, I learned, was central Moscow's only heated outdoor public swimming pool, full of sloshing Russians. Later, I heard it had once been the site of a church, and there were rumors of...