Berlin is dead! Long live Berlin!
Thursday, September 8, 2011 12:31:42 PM
- No Berlin politician in the last 2 or more decades seems to be interested in really cutting costs. Perhaps as a remnant of Prussian times, the capital still has one of the biggest bureaucracies in Germany. Berlin is Germany's Greece.
- Too many cars here - the air in Berlin (orig. "Berliner Luft") is something to be sneezed at, constantly. It's better away from the centre, where it's also much more boring, as a rule.
- Too much (often brain-less) graffiti everywhere; probably a sign of no-one giving much of a damn for much of the city's youth. Some larger murals are of course the opposite - inspiring!
- Literally too much crap on the streets. Once a Kreuzberg artist put little German flags in all the doggy piles - very appropriate and useful, to boot!
- Berliners are sometimes actively and openly racist, esp. the ones who were born here. Foolish and historically ignorant (perhaps that's their point? ).
- Culturally, the best place in Germany to be. Lots of new and "in" things happening all around you, if you visit the central part of the city (where I live).
- To stay in B. is still mostly cheap. That's why so many (young and/or artistic) people from other countries come to live here. Which is why gentrification is not good news, if it drives rents up. (Likely.)
- Berlin is the only really international city in Germany. Not only in terms of people, but also services and stores. E.g. if I counted right, there are three (= 3!) video shops that rent out mainly other-language DVDs; I live near one of them. I speak more English here than anywhere else in Germany. 'Tis marvellous!
- Since Berlin has been poor for about half a century, it still has many old and interesting buildings. Or even ruins left standing. The types of structures that got torn down long ago in West Germany. When you walk through the inner city, you breathe in history, almost all the time. Every decade of the 20th century has left its mark - all over.
- Berlin is big - and dirty! Like a city should be. (Except in the air, please. )
Let's hope the Senators-to-be remember what makes Berlin special. And stop spending more money on unnecessary stuff intended to improve their popularity, but the city doesn't need. And clean up the air (otherwise Berlin will become a 2nd Venice to me - highly attractive, but to be admired from a distance)...
(The picture is a cover of one of the most famous German children's books, set in Berlin in the first half of the 20th century, on a German stamp. It's linked directly from the English Wikipedia entry on the book.)