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.