photo: Andi Weiland:
It was one of the quietest Saturday nights of my past 12 years in Berlin. Without any particular expectations a friend and I drove with the bikes from Kreuzberg to Brandenburger Tor while the sun light slowly started to decrease as the evening went on. As soon as we were there I felt my heart change in speed. The whole place was packed with men, women and kids. Some faces seemed familiar from late nights, parties and bars spend in the queer scene. Others I recognized from my everyday life in offices, cafes, bakeries or pharmacies. Does it matter who the people are who mourn for the victims in Orlando? Does is matter if they are young, old, gay, straight, black, white, trans or cis? For me it didn’t. I saw a place filled with heartfelt sorrow. With tears and cries and shattered minds, not able to understand and not able to forget the latest attack.
Nightclubs are a special place in the LGBTI world. On the first look they just seem to be a place for easy flirts, pumped bodies and shallow excitement. An arena of hedonism and a vanity fair. Where broken hearts and sucked dicks exchange numbers just to never actually call each other. But beyond the surface you might find out that nightclubs are a unique place for self exploration. Where first kisses are exchanged and drag stars are born. They offer safety and comfort under the shine of the disco lights to the ones who get discriminated and mistreated in their daily life just for not fitting in.
The shooting in Orlando hit the LGBT communities all around the world by attacking this safe haven. As Berliners we know the power and magic of nightclubs and could feel the horror on our skins, while reading the news about the deaths of the Orlando victims who just wanted to spend a night out with their friends or lovers.
On Saturday night the Brandenburger Tor for the first time in history was illuminated in the colors of the rainbow. But what matters where the radiant hearts of the Berliners that came. Under the collective mourn I felt a community that was not necessarily connected by the same experiences of discrimination or shared sex preferences. Berlin showed the world that its inhabitants are out and proud. Not afraid of hate and not afraid to love.
As the gathering slowly dissolved I felt so happy to be part of this community and at the same time so sad that it took such horrible event to bring us all together. Our impressions of the memorial after the jump.
photos: Linus Ma
Seven months in the US tore me away from the beloved city at the Spree, and showed me my very own version of the “American Dream”, although I still don’t really know what that truly means. I got dropped into the shiny swirl of the City of Angels and just thrown out again, unprepared and unarmed. Suddenly, I am back in Berlin, and what was once familiar, now seems weirdly odd. So I have to find out all over again: What makes this city desirable? Here is a story about waking up from pink dreams and falling in love with Berlin again.
On Saturday, on a taxi ride in Buenos Aires with a few strangers, I had a conversation about my recent trip to Rio, which quickly led to the topic of the Brazilian carnival, and then over to the one in Venice and Cologne. The conversation had almost switched to another topic when it struck me: We have a carnival in Berlin too! How could I forget! And it usually takes place in… oh, it’s this weekend! In contrast to the ones in Brazil, Cologne and Venice, our Berlin carnival is not specifically about one nation, but about all of them – or at least quite a big bunch. As the title “carnival of the cultures” suggests, different countries come together here with their traditions, dance and food. It became this huge thing here over the years with a big parade and food market. People either love it or hate it, but regardless, it’s a big spectacle with a lot of fanfare and the poor streets of the city that have hardly recovered from the mayhem of May Day are again littered with the cultural confetti of the next big street fair.
Photographer Alexander Niklass captured the event through his dark, urban lens; the results present the carnival in quite different light than what we are all used to. Enjoy the amazing photo series after the jump and for more photos by Alex follow him on Instagram.
photos: Guney Cuceloglu
In most major cities of the world the activity of simply “hanging out” is pretty much a luxury that only tourists and maybe less ambitious students can enjoy. The rest of the inhabitants have to hustle the entire day either because it’s necessary to make ends meet or because being busy is a status symbol. In Berlin that’s quite different. Here hanging out is a highly valued part of the life style of the people. It’s embedded into the days of the inhabitants in the same way that late hours at work and strict gym schedules are in other cities. Berliners feel no shame in self-indulgence and being laid back. What other city people might consider as laziness is considered a benefit of this wonderful city.
Photographer Guney Cuceloglu who you might remember from the charming portraits of female and male cyclists went to some of the most popular leisure spots in the city to observe and document how Berliners expertly turn hanging out into an art form. Enjoy his collections of photos after the jump.
photo: Anže Kokalj
We all need a little saving sometimes. Someone to grab us by our shoulders, reassuring it’s gonna be okay. In a city like Berlin, accidents happen. With so many people living next to and with each other, bruises are inevitable. In cars, on bicycles or walking on the street, with hearts falling on the floor, shattering to pieces: Every day, someone is out there, needing a pick-me-up.
Luckily, there is almost always help just around the corner to mend that heart and come to the rescue. Just like the other day, when an ADAC (automobile club) chopper landed in the middle of the street of Kottbusser Damm. Who knows, who needed saving that day – it’s good someone was there.
Photographer Anže Kokalj captured this unusual moment of a helicopter landing in the middle of Kreuzberg. You can find more pictures on his Instagram.
One of the most iconic things about Berlin is surely its subway lines. Like a yellow snake it makes its way through the city, it’s so recognizable and its shade of yellow so particular. Berliners and visitors alike seem to love it so much, also the tiles underground stations that often have beautiful patterns that have been cherished and capture many times for Instagram.
But there was a time when the U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations had quite a different aesthetic. At the turn of the 19th to 20th century they were glorious big buildings with stunning architecture. Thanks to the fact that Berlin’s streets weren’t so dense with buildings at the time these stations really stood out in their places, having so much room to breath. Some of the stations actually remained like that for over 100 years until now, while others have been reconstructed or rebuild in more modern ways. Many subway stations have indeed been replaced with simple staircases into the underground without a building on top.
Today we want to take a look back at the history of Berlin’s most beautiful and stunning U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations. Enjoy!
We’re not alone on this one. Doesn’t everyone enjoy Spring? The blossoming of their surroundings? Isn’t it beautiful for every pair of eyes to see colors again, to feel warm air on their skin?
Spring is the season of hope. It is to a year what the morning is to a day. A beginning, a new start, a hunch. It is an opening, a promise to what might be. With the colorful flowers, the smiles on people’s faces and the memory of a warmth slowly coming back, spring is also high spirits. Drunken from the first soft drafts of air that don’t cut ice cold when inhaling, we all tend to take a leap of faith.
A leap of faith into the sun, out of our scarves. Away from the heating and into the outdoors. A step towards us all, we see ourselves again: Walking freely on the streets, with a swing in our steps. Spring in Berlin is like a flower thriving, each one of us a petal, with our arms open to the sky and to each other.
“Doublefaced No. 21″, photo: Sebastian Bieniek
Berlin is a city made of puzzle pieces, a mosaic of multitudes. Its irresistible charm and distinctive difference is made of the people that shape the city culturally. A Berlin without its cultural diversity is not only hard to imagine – it just wouldn’t even be as interesting probably. The contributions of inhabitants from all over the world helped forming a colorful kaleidoscope of ethnic elements.
We want to take a closer look at all the possibilities and present to you the manifold ways of experiencing Berlin’s diverse cultures. Today: The Polish Edition!
Polish people are some of the best people! In our last edition, we told you about the Turkish Lifestyle in Berlin. This time we want to cover the beautiful polish things to spend your days with in the capital. From Pierogi to Polish Fashion, Germany and Poland have a lot of history together that lingers on. See our little selection right after the jump. Baw się dobrze!
photo: sfreimark / CC
It’s hard to think of anything more quintessentially Berlin than Mauerpark. It contains so much of what this city is about. Is there any phrase more encapsulating of Berlin than “wall park”? It speaks to the city’s storied past, and to our contemporary lifestyle of leisure and charm. Situated on Prenzlauer Berg’s western border with Gesundbrunnen, it’s perhaps the perfect spot to spend a pleasant day, while momentarily reflecting on the city’s history.
Every visitor to Berlin wants to see the wall. To this end, we have options. There’s the East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain with its famous paintings, there’s Checkpoint Charlie, the most touristy and mainstream spot, there’s the stately, dignified Berlin Wall Memorial (Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer), and there’s Mauerpark. Mauerpark is cool because it really is a great destination on its own, and is surrounded by the most vibrant neighborhood out of these options.
photos: Sebastian Pollin
Even though Berlin sometimes is dominated by shades of grey there are often splashes of color coming up like shimmers of hope. The Berlin Alternative Fashion Week is one of those shimmers. No other fashion event in Berlin has ever managed to bring so much color, creativity, happiness and humor into one place. I’m so glad that we have this event in our city, proving that Berlin is the fruitful soil for a spectrum of fashion that is beyond fast fashion and commercial brands. Beloved Berlin-based designers such as Tata Christiane, Maison Mason, Tzuji and UY show their expressive collections here together with many newcomers and international designers. For me one of the big highlights this season was the sculptural collection of Justyna Koeke who created dresses modeled after children’s drawings. The elaborate and playful gowns were beautifully presented on senior models, what a fantastic presentation this was! And of course Russian artist Andrey Bartenev’s Bubbles of Hope parade in the end was once again an unforgettable finale that made everyone jump up from their seats. Principal sponsor airberlin has chosen wisely to support this wonderful platform of creativity and positivity for so many seasons now and we are forever grateful.
Fashion photographer Sebastian Pollin went backstage to capture some of the most amazing looks and he described the experience as a paradise of photo opportunities. And looking at the photos he seems to be more than right!