I’ve heard it said that every time you leave your house in New York City, you’re bound to waste twenty minutes and spend twenty dollars. In Berlin, I can’t seem to cross the street without eating a Schawarma (this one’s from Babel) and drinking two beers. When we stay in, it’s Lachsschinken, Radeberger, Duplo, and mountains of raw milk cheese.
The Wall used to run straight down Bernauer Strasse. Now, the Mauerpark is home to a gigantic weekly flea market where ramsch, trash, plunder, troedel, nippes, and sundry crap from east and west celebrates happy reunion. I found a Suhrkamp edition of short stories by Stanislaw Lem. At several of locations around the city, Kleidermarkt sells second-hand clothing by the kilogram.
Behind the fleamarket, between an impromptu Thai soup kitchen and stands hocking army surplus, boxes full of dishes, garden hoses, and what looked like a warehouse worth of metal fixtures, we were lucky to catch The Loose Marbles, a New Orleans jazz ensemble made up of hoboes, jitterbug dancers, and Meschiya Lake, a tattooed singer who can fuckin’ belt it. This New Yorker piece has some YouTube clips.
Down by Weinmeisterstrasse, the Absinthe Depot stays open late. If you know where to ask, the Mefites come out of the woodwork. At White Trash Fast Food, magicians pull scarves out of bras between psychobilly acts while transvestites swing over the crowd like Satine. Wonder Woman was there, too.
- More Berlin photos
- Berlin in Winter
- Previously on Muckworld: Lange Nacht der Museen
- Bonus Video: Who but Leonard Cohen would think to rhyme “Berlin” with discipline, skin, plywood violin, change the system from within, these drugs that keep you thin, and best of of all, remember me, I brought your groceries in?