Berlin, Alexanderplatz

How can this place be so different? I remember the whole acre as an open grassy field and some park benches and a couple of food stands. Sitting there in the falling November dusk, alone, watching people strolling. Once I saw a kid there rave dancing by himself to tunes only he could hear. It was under construction then, and nobody believed it would ever be finished. But eight years passed, and the big buildings were finished, abbreviating the park.

I look at the facade. I see a bank, and the Air China office. It’s eerily empty of people around here. We lean back and watch the white clouds tumbling over each other in the porcelain blue sky. What lucky September weather.

How can this place be so different? Who was I when was gazing at the field, eating a Thüringen sausage, reading the latest Zitty and deciding my daily agendas?

Berlin, Alexanderplatz. This damned city gets under my skin. Smelly, congested, fast and churning. Cold, cultured, hard, high. Lonely, friendly. Historical, addictive. Cigarettes, delicious, and not as cheap as it once was. We are walking in Neukölln, we hear Turkish and German with Turkish accents. Friederichshain, ever-popular Kreuzberg, and Prenzlauer Berg. My dreams are filled with the rainbow lines of the subway map – remember the old stops? Oranienburger Tor, Stadtmitte, Pankow. Remember taking the refurbished old double decker bus through the forest in Potsdam and it was raining orange leaves and I felt lost and that felt great?

I prefer Alexanderplatz empty, a tranquil park, gazing at the TV tower in silence, but Berlin has always excelled in building over itself. Perfect facelifts are its talent.

One Response to “Berlin, Alexanderplatz”
  1. pdxwriters says:

    dreams filled with rainbow lines of the subway map…this city gets under my skin too thanks to this fabulous description filled with unforeseen images: the kid rave dancing to his own tunes, the latest Zitty, smelly, congested, churning, hard, high! Love it.

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