Thursday, August 19, 2010
Bike's Eye View of our Berlin 'hood: Wedding
"Berlin," said the bartender at a wonderful little cafe near here, "is so ugly, it's sexy." Or something to that effect. I guess that's why I like Berlin, because that's exactly how I feel ... after a vodka or three. After living in one of the prettier parts of Berlin, we moved to the Wedding area, which many Berliners consider to be the uglier part of town. Wedding has a bad reputation: It's working class, kind of gritty and run down, poor. But since we moved here a month ago, I've become quite fond of Wedding. I'm struck by the area's diversity. It's not only ethnically varied -- Wedding is home to many Turkish, African and Middle Eastern immigrants -- but also demographically diverse. Young hipsters live next to the working class; artists' studios sit next to industrial sites (or in industrial sites that were taken over by artists). In one tiny section of one block, I can go to the poetry center, buy antique tchockes, browse a huge selection of shishas, or hookahs, and go to an African restaurant. Wedding even has its own progressive, graphically-rich magazine. Most striking to me is the diversity of the urban landscape. You can be on Badstrasse, a hectic, busy, garish, commercial street one minute, and turn off, ride your bike half a block, and be in a green, quiet park next to the Panke River. I tried to capture all of that in this video. Because my favorite way to see the area is from a bike, I figured I'd give you a similar point of view; the video is all shot from a camera strapped onto my bike rack. All photos and video were taken within a 10 minute bike ride radius from where we currently live in Wedding. The music is by Damscray and DJ/Rupture.