July 26, 2012

Evening walk trough MacArthur Park, L.A.

         Stepping out of the subway station, the park lay ahead of us, glowing in the dark.

      The lights of the city cast a magical light on the lake in the middle of the park.

     During the day, you can see the trash littered throughout the park.
     But at night, everything becomes beautiful.

       It was early evening, and the playground was filled with kids.

     Back on 6th street, we were walking back to our house on the hill.

July 17, 2012


I just listened to Sylee Gore's "Empty Spaces" on berlin stories; she talks about how the city used to be filled with these vacant lots, overgrown with trees and gras, often transformed into pop-up bars, spots for impromptu gatherings, a little wilderniss for the big city.
I became nostalgic when I listened to Sylee's story. I can vividly remember the lot at Senefelder Platz she talks about, the "Bauwagen", literally a construction trailer, which parked in the tall weeds for a couple of summers, surrounded by simple deck chairs. Back then, I lived just around the corner and loved to come here after my university class for a drink and some afternoon sun.
Many of these empty spaces are gone now.
But not all of them.

Back in 1999, I shared my first Berlin apartment with my brother in Kreuzberg, at the end of Cuvrystrasse, right by the water. The huge lot opposite our place was vacant, taken over by grass, bushes, and young people who loved to picknick by the edge of the water.
There were rumors. A big shopping mall was planned. Then office spaces. Then condominiums.

Today, the lot is more overgrown than ever. Nothing was built here. Whenever I visit my brother, who still lives on the top floor of the place we once shared, I look out of the window, relieved about the open space that stretches in front of me, the changing colors of the sky, the little wilderness in the middle of the city.

Banksy loves this space too.

July 15, 2012

When I think of summer...

When I think of summer in Berlin, one of the first things that comes to mind is the fairy tale fountain, gateway to the lush Volkspark Friedrichshain. It is lined with stoney sculptures from the Brother Grimm's folk tales; Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, all sitting side by side.

When I came here last summer, it was an especially hot day, and some children were bathing in the knee-deep water of the fountain. I took in this magical scene, and my heart ached a bit. For I was living far away, in Los Angeles, and this magical fountain in the middle of leafy Berlin became a symbol of so many things that I missed deeply.

In a couple of months, I am returning to Berlin, this time with my little family, and I can't wait to come back here with little N, sitting on the edge of the fountain, marveling at the fairies all around us, and waiting until the sun is warm enough so that we can dangle our feet in the water.

Am Friedrichshain (in Volkspark), 10249 Berlin

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