I’ve heard that Berlin is now the coolest city. Supposedly it was NYC in the 80′s and early 90′s, then London and now Berlin. And it is one of the most interesting cities today.
With a population of 4 million people, Berlin captures a manageable urban feel compared to NYC.
I spent some time over the years, trying to figure out why Berlin has been so great for the last 10 years. I came up with a few ideas:
The fall of the Berlin wall is still recent enough that there is a combination of exploration and excitement. The clash of the 2 civilizations is still palpable which creates its own energy.
Europeans on the whole are slightly less inclined to maximize in capitalistic ways off of art and culture. There is an appreciation for the artisan, small store, and artist without turning into Costco.
Youth are flocking to Berlin for art, music and culture. They bring an underground energy that I haven’t seen since London in the 90′s. There is something authentic about the environment compared with the now formulaic Williamsburg.
It’s steeped in artistic culture, from Art Nouveau, Deco to Bauhaus.
There is the contradiction of the society following strict rules, like riding a bicycle on the right side of the street to swinging the pendulum to anything goes. Their Nightclubs remind me of NYC in the early 80′s, a combination of the movie Cabaret with New Wave- the like of which I haven’t seen since New York circa 1984.
As a whole, the people of all ages still live with an apologetic undertone for WW2. As much as the acknowledgment is necessary, it has also created an unpretentious atmosphere compared to other great cities like Paris. They are overall friendly, excited to meet people etc.
They don’t seem to have the same ageism that we have in the U.S. They glorify all ages and all ages are respected. For instance in the center of Berlin there was an exhibit of a woman in her late 60′s dancing in slow motion or in clubs, elderly people are given preferential treatment.
They are not trying to compare themselves with any other city. They are authentic in who they want to be. They accept that they are unique.
Berlin has the biggest parks I have ever seen. Grunewald is an actual forest in the city, where people can swim in the lakes and relax as if they were in the country. Deer roam with foxes.
If you do go, I highly recommend Karl Lagerfeld’s hotel, Schlosshotel im Grunewald. It’s an Alma hotel and is still a boutique size with impeccable taste.
At least that’s my take on it.
The architect, Niedermeyer’s ode to Bauhaus .
Schlosshotel im Grunewald.
An ad at the airport:
Translation:who needs top-models in order to apply this top model
You know I love a costume..LGBT park fair.
Dancing at 2pm outside with a platinum wigged up hottie.
Swimming in Grunewald.
An outside silent movie playing with orchestra.