Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The News Out of Neukoelln

Before I started my glorious life as an artsy fartsy housewife here in Kreuzberg 61, I lived for years in the hood, better known in these parts as Neukoelln. I've lived all over that neighborhood, from Rollberg Kiez to Reuter Kiez and everything in between. I even made this piece of jewelry in its honor, called the Neukoelln Forever Necklace, as seen here around my neck.

Neukoelln is truly the urban jungle, with over half the population on welfare, working class Germans, Turks, Arabs and Africans all tossed together in a pot that just won't melt. The area around Karl-Marx-Strasse was the last place I lived with my ex-husband and, I have to say, the place has really, really gone downhill in the 6 years since I left it. When I lived there it was a normal Einkaufsstrasse (shopping street)with three big department stores and even a Lush. Now all you see are row after row of one Euro shops and about ten cell phone shops(why so many? I don't really understand.) But there are also still lots of mom and pop shops, part of what gives Neukoelln its charm. A Konditerei (bakery for cakes)that has been there since the 40s, a music store that opened in 1959, a shoe repair shop where the original owner, now in his 80s, will still fix a worn out heel.

That's why I was there, to look for a camera at Guenther Camera. Guenther himself offered me a deal on an Olympus, but I walked around a while first before I could decide. I walked through the Bohemian village of Rixdorf, with its little row houses (so surprsing that something so old and lovely and peaceful could be right here in the heart of Neukoelln.) I walked down Richardstrasse past where I worked as an Au Pair the first year I was in Berlin, for little Jonas. I walked past the last apartment I had with my ex-husband. Apparently he has since moved, because his name was no longer on the door. It was hard to believe I had ever lived there...

In the end, I did buy the camera, so soon my blog will start filling up again with pictures, maybe even some of Neukoelln.

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