September 21, 2011 Leave a comment
Last year, I lived in Kreuzberg, an “up-and-coming” neighborhood of Berlin that’s up-and-coming in the same sense that the Village in New York is up-and-coming: It’s artsy and alternative, but its hip reputation has already made it the most expensive neighborhood in Berlin, and people there complain endlessly of the changes it’s undergone. Of course, it’s still cheap and grungy by American standards; it’s just that Berliners are working off a truly cheap, grungy baseline.
My new neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg, by contrast, has shed all pretensions of cheapness and grunginess. Formerly part of East Berlin, the neighborhood was an alternative mecca for a while before gentrifying rapidly and earning a reputation as Berlin’s stroller capital. But again, let’s keep this in proportion: Park Slope it ain’t. It’s still full of graffiti, young people, bars with 2 and 3 euro beers, und so weiter. My exploration of the neighborhood so far consists of a short excursion to buy a SIM card and some groceries, so it’s too soon for me to pass judgment. It’s also too soon for me to give you a decent sense of my neighborhood in photos, since I’ve taken five so far. But I’ll share them nonetheless: