Big Things in Berlin
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Personally, I can remember being huddled into the “pod” (a little gathering area in my elementary school) with a few dozen of my classmates to watch the events unfold on live television. Sitting cross-legged on that rough,-pea green carpet, craning my neck to see the screen on its perch high up on a wheeled cart, I was just barely able to grasp what was going on—but I knew it was something big.
Fast-forward to the year after I graduated college, and I was walking through Mitte with an oversized pack strapped to my back, giddy at the thought of exploring the artist mecca that I’d read East Berlin had become. I was far from disappointed. Like air rushing into an empty vacuum once the lid has been removed, creative types were coming to East Berlin in droves, taking residence (or “squatting”) in the buildings left by emigrating East Berliners drawn to the promise of capitalism in the West.
What struck me the most, however, was the staggering amount of development going on. Just down the street from Brandenburg Gate was a veritable no-man’s-land of a construction zone; Potsdamer Platz was little more than flat expanse, but you could see contractors poised to get to work. Everywhere, cranes dotted the skies, seemingly lifting the city into the new millennium with every beam put in place.
I returned once again four years later and was amazed at how much had changed in such a short period of time. The construction zone by Brandenburg Gate had become the most powerful memorial to the murdered Jews of WWII that I’d ever seen. Potsdamer Platz had erected its first proud skyscrapers, with more to come.
Again, I returned a few years later. And a few years after that. Each time I’ve come back to Berlin, helpless against its gravitational pull on my psyche, I’ve been dazzled by the newness of what I find. Always, I’m discovering something that hadn’t yet been there during my previous visit. And always, I leave hungry for more. Just this week, I made my arrangements to return in May for Berlin’s Gallery Weekend (May 2 – 4). I’m not sure what the city will have in store for me this time, but I know it will be something big.
Courtesy: Premier Traveler