Berlin, GermanyOctober 6, 2014
In your city, how can we tell that we are in the year 2014?
Berlin has awakened. After many years of difficult periods, the city is now a center of creation for the arts, science and information, politics, and tourism. Berlin changes every day and that energy makes it unique, attracting people from all over the world.
What in your city reminds you of the past?
The past and its protagonists are always present. The monuments and plaques that mark countless events and figures are an essential part of the lived and living history of Berlin. Brandenburg Gate is a symbol that consciously recognizes the past and looks towards a future full of multiple perspectives.
Where in your city would be the best place to lose track of time, freeze time, or gain time?
Without a doubt, the Tempelhof airport, located in the very center of the city. There, one can appreciate the history and impact of aviation since the twentieth century. It is a giant structure, now empty aside from a few public and private offices. It is still one of the most important buildings for Berliners. The runways and adjacent areas are open to the public, creating the largest park in Berlin: the only space of its kind in Europe.
Which museum or cultural space is generally omitted from a typical cultural excursion, but is definitely worth visiting?
The Hoffmann Collection (Sammlung Hoffmann) is a private collection that has been open to the public since 1997. The selection of works changes every year and the curation under Erika Hoffmann’s charge is impeccable. The guided tours take place every Saturday and a reservation is neccessary.
In which bookstore can you find new or second-hand publications on art history, exhibition catalogs, or artist monographs?
The best bookstore for the arts is Walther König on Burgstrasse 27 for recent publications, special editions, book collections, etc. There are many great second-hand bookstores but they are specialized by category. Touring the bookstores of Berlin is one of the best ways to get to know the neighborhoods of the city.
Where can you find the best coffee (or tea)?
There are many that fight for the title but The Barn on Augustrasse 58 in Mitte and Cafe CK on Marienburgerstrasse 49 in Prenzlauer Berg are two of the best.
Outdoor or public artwork worth visiting:
The famous building for the Berlin Philharmonic by the architect Scharoun expands in space in multiple facets. The monument that memorializes the Nazi book burning contracts into an underground space in the middle of the Bebelplatz public square in Mitte. Both are not to be missed on a visit to the city.
Where would be the best place to view the sunset in your city?
Two of the best views are from the TV tower (Fernsehturm) near Alexanderplatz and from the dome of the German Parliament building in Tiergarten. Next to the dome, there’s a restaurant (the only one on top of a government building) where you can eat well and have direct access to the dome.
Next Sunday, let’s meet at:
Biking around and bathing in one of the many lakes that are in Berlin and its surrounding areas.
Which book transports me to your city?
The last one that I read was Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts that tells the true story of the U.S. Ambassador William Dood and his family in Berlin during the Nazi regime, between 1933 and 1937.
Where would one probably get lost: geographically, emotionally or historically speaking?
Without a doubt, the Tiergarten park in the middle of the city.