Just Some Things I've Been Thinking As I Approach Hour 70 in Berlin

  • Berlin seems like a city that was built for more people than it contains. There is no crowding on the sidewalks, bike lanes, streets, trams, buses or subways.
  • Which is an odd feeling. Berlin is evenly distributed, and never dense. Even the ceilings are high.
  • An American Berlin friend I have said it’s a city built for about five million people with only 3.5 million inhabitants, which is maybe why it’s so cheap. Another friend said there’s stringent rent control at work as well.
  • And its cheapness seems to be a trap for some people. It’s affordable and lovely here, but there aren’t a lot of jobs, which could be why there aren’t more people around.
  • One thing that is particularly lovely are the parks. There are a ton of them!
  • None is as well tended as New York’s grass museum, Central Park, but it doesn’t matter. Public space can still work with uneven hedges.
  • The smaller parks are about the size of Fort Greene Park, but level with the street, so they are more integrated with the city.
  • And seeing people interact with these spaces, Jane Jacobs may have been wrong about parks always being dangerous.
  • Of course, it gets dark here around 10 pm in the summer.   
  • So it’s easy to stay up late, and wake up with the feeling of not being tired exactly, but feeling poorly rested.
  • Good thing, like many Berliners, I don’t have anywhere to be.