photo: Alicia Kassebohm
Due to popular demand, I’m back with the continuation of my U-Bahn-themed musings. I’ve got a ticket to ride for all the lines I’ve initially left out, so that I can complete the emotional profile of a Berlin commuter.
The lines I’m featuring in this article really hint at some deeper affection to the city. They’re neither U1-like joy rides leading up to Warschauer Straße like some urban rollercoaster, nor are they mainly focused on touristy sights like the U2 which could almost be the BVG’s cheaper alternative to all the tour buses. This one is for all you Berlin locals who’ve wandered off the beaten track all the way down to such underrated indie boroughs like Wedding, Tempelhof-Schöneberg or Steglitz. You guys know there’s more to Berlin than techno sanctuaries and souvenir shops.
U6 – The Enigma
It’s very tricky to come up with a description for a U6 aficionado. You could either be a real business shark dealing with some risky ventures at one of the numerous companies around Friedrichstraße or Stadtmitte, experiencing Berlin as a dynamic commercial metropolis and getting a sugar free vanilla triple venti latte with coconut milk and origin espresso on your lunch break. Or, you could be an anti-establishment hippie on your way to Platz der Luftbrücke to see a gig at Columbiahalle, preceded by some hangout time with your buddies at Tempelhofer Feld. Congrats if you’ve struck a balance between those two extremities and get on the U6 to savor one of Berlin’s hidden gems – the Wedding neighborhood around Seestraße and Leopoldplatz, with shop windows just as bizarre as those in Neukölln, a decent amount of fine Spätis, and overall a much more chilled vibe.
Iron Gates at Stadtmitte U6, illustrations: Bryan the girl
U9 – The Shopping Spree
U9 knows a thing or two about troubled past, as it comprises the once most appalling 70’s heroine scene centers in Berlin, along with the infamous Zoo station that saw teenagers whoring to get money for drugs. Frequenting Kurfurstendamm today may mean that you are driven by at least one from the great trifecta of human motivation, which is fame, fortune and fun. You’re a different kind of consumer if your destination is Walther-Schreiber Platz. As the home to the second Primark in Berlin, it is naturally less crowded than the one at Alex, which leaves you plenty of time to go and get inspired by staring at the extraordinary shape of the Bierpinsel. And, just a fair warning: that may even put you in a mood to go and explore Moabit.
Lamps at Nauener Platz U9
U7 – The Cozy Neukölln Haven
The true essence of the U7 is hard to grasp for the most part of its incredibly long (31.8 kilometers) tracks. But the few of its stations that are as inherent to Neukölln as Görli to Kreuzberg are perfectly defining for my U7 friends. Taking long walks along the canal, checking out new kebab joints open at 3 am and resolving to get some pre-drinks at a Späti at Karl-Marx Straße because the line to Klunkerkranich is outrageous before heading out to Schwuz are all favorite pastimes.
Column at Hermannplatz U7
U4 – The Lovely Line
If you go with the U4, you’re probably highly sensitive to beauty or you’re gay (or both – let’s face it, those things tend to go together). That’s my opinion because there’s really not that many places you can reach within the U4, but those few you can go to are special either because they’re exceptionally pretty or, well, gay. Take for example the romantic little square that is Viktoria-Luise-Platz. And then of course there’s the beloved Nollendorfplatz, home to many LGBTQ friendly shops and other cool establishments.
Entrance at Viktoria-Luise-Platz U4
A big thank you to illustrator and artist Bryan the girl for creating these lovely drawings of the subway stations for this feature. Follow her on Instagram.