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Nick imagines the unspoiled lush greenery of the New York. He imagines the Dutch Sailors in an Eden-like setting where the possibilities were endless. We can contrast this with the Valley of the Ashes that lies between the two "Eggs". Both "Eggs" in their own ways become a symbol of greed, vapid desire and broken dreams. They are separated by the rotting grey Valley of Ashes. THere is no more hope in Long Island as the Dutch sailors might have once felt; now the lives of people on both sides are just as rotten as the valley.