I boarded the ferry as the sun was setting. We

saw in front of us an infinite carpet of white

fog, and, above, a translucent sparkling mist and a sky

of royal blue. We broke through the fog at tremendous

speed and came upon open water. Then a shiver took

hold of me as I saw the city: a rampart

of buildings on a great narrow island, windows reflecting the

golden light, towers, bridges that stretched over the fog like

long doubled harps. The reflecting windows of a thousand buildings

were a leafy bronze color that crawled across gleaming facades.

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Paraphrases from Ellis Island and Other Stories by Mark Helprin.

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