Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Berlin Blog

Potsdamer Platz (current site of the Sony Center) in the early 1990s
Welcome to The Berlin Blog, which I launched in July 2008 upon learning that then-presidential candidate Barack Obama would be visiting Berlin to give a speech. I wanted to write something about the history of American politicians giving speeches in Berlin, but didn't have the connections or profile to place an opinion piece in a major newspaper. I wrote the piece anyhow, and The Berlin Blog was born. I added to the blog in both directions, writing for example about the German phenomenon of literature houses and a number of theatrical productions that moved me, and also uploading some of my earlier short essays documenting my observations of the city beginning in 1996. You'll find a grab-bag of topics (visual art, film, history, remembrances of defunct bookstores, banknotes, buildings, and renamed streets) all steeped in my nostalgia for my own swiftly vanishing Berlin of the 1990s (I started spending serious amounts of time there early in 1992) and 2000-aughts. Large parts of this fascinating city have since been transformed (not always for the better) by construction and modernization projects. Perhaps some of what I wrote here, revealing fragments of the palimpsest that is Berlin, will be of interest to readers wishing to learn more about a past incarnation of their new favorite city.

The image above is a photograph I took in the early 1990s of Potsdamer Platz, the current site of the Sony Center.