#118: Berghain closing, the sh*t U2, masking
And the Amazon tower is almost done, whether you like it or not.
Hey 20 Percent!
When I moved to Berlin late in the ‘90s, Friedrichshain was a weird borough that felt like a mix of right-wing aggression and left-wing alcoholism. For a brief period it was defined by a battle over late-night partying on Simon-Dach-Strasse and the fact that everyone said it would become the next it-borough. But gentrification seemed to skip over, opting instead for Kreuzberg and then — with a vengeance — Neukölln.
But as this week shows, gentrification didn’t forget it and the place is now likely to see a lot of the thing Berliners fear most — change. The Amazon tower will open soon and will affect the planned upgrading of the RAW party campus across the road. And now, if rumors are to be believed, Berghain may be closing too. Fasten your seatbelts Friedrichshainers, it’s going to get bumpy.
On a better note: Looks like the national €9 ticket from this summer will become a €49 ticket. Details are unclear because national and local politicians have yet to really agree on anything other than the idea, but at least they can agree on that. The Klimaticket (climate ticket) is supposed to be — shocker — digital and will give you local public (and maybe regional Deutsche Bahn) transport throughout Germany for €49 a month, no subscription required. We’ll see.
Have a good weekend y’all!
Check out our comedy event recommend below and stop by our Patreon to show us some of your love because these days love and money are interchangeable, like Berlin relationships.
Berlin corona and other stats for Friday, October 14
New cases in one day: 3,141 (3,893 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,859 (+10 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 468.2 (457.6 Tuesday)
🔴7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 17 (13.9 Tuesday)
🟢 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 4.3% (5.4% Tuesday, green again 🙂)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
The U2 is a f*cking mess
If you commute with the U2 this news is getting to you too late — and sorry. But if you, like me, are just a casual U2 rider, just don’t for awhile. Construction at Gleisdreieck has affected the line between Potsdamer Platz and Wittenbergplatz, forcing public transport authority BVG in September to reintroduce the U12, an amalgam of the U1 and U2, to act as an insufficient replacement service. Then, late last week, cracks again appeared on the train’s tunnel near Alexanderplatz, sparking it to limit service to a single line in Mitte that pings between the near-useless Klosterstrasse stop and Senefelderplatz every 15 minutes. Cracks and settling are nothing new on the line. A water leak was once blamed but BVG is now looking to see if construction on a new 130-meter skyscraper at Alex is the culprit this time. As the BVG points out, riding the U2 requires commuters to change trains several times — and waste vital moments of their lives.
Masks may be back
Berlin interior minister Ulrike Gote (Die Grüne) wants to again make medical masks mandatory in government buildings, museums and stores, according to the Morgenpost. She hopes to introduce the related legislation to Berlin’s parliament next week as the number of infections jumps along with the cooler weather. The number of corona-related hospitalizations is expected to double by the end of October.
The end of Berghain?
The news earlier this month that Berghain was closing its Ostgut booking agency at the end of the year was shock enough but, according to Faze Mag, Berlin’s über-techno temple Berghain itself is reportedly entering the final months of its existence — current owners Norbert Thormann and Andre Jürgens have supposedly had enough. It sounds like they just want the club to slide into the history books and are resisting any calls for a transition to something different (like a — puke — art gallery). However, if you see what’s up in Berghain’s neighborhood (F-hain), it’s clear money is now king and will probably dictate Berghain’s future — if it’s actually closing. It opened in 2004 as the successor to one of my all-time fave clubs, Ostgut, and quickly became synonymous with Berlin’s bacchanalian nightlife, in part because it adhered to a key component of luxury marketing: scarcity — only a select few were let in by equally unique fashion-photog-turned-bouncer Sven Marquardt.
More money, more Friedrichshain
Basic construction was completed on Berlin’s tallest building Wednesday, the Edge, at Warschauer Brücke, one of nearly a dozen skyscrapers under construction in the German capital (see above). You probably know it as the Amazon tower. The 140-meter skyscraper and its 37 floors are to be complete next year and the head of construction told Tagesspiegel the building is not only on-time, but also within budget. It now belongs to German insurance giant Allianz and has been leased by the online retailer everyone hates but still uses — Amazon. The 176-meter tower being built by the Estrel Hotel in Neukölln will actually be taller when completed in 2024. Don’t worry, the Fernsehturm and its 368 meters will be Berlin’s true king for a long, long time.
The last Christmas market at Schloss Charlottenburg
The public owners of Schloss Charlottenburg won’t renew the lease for the Christmas market at the palace as it builds a visitor’s center, according to RBB24. This year will be the final market in front of the 18th-century royal abode. It’s unclear if the move is related to the operator’s unwillingness to develop an anti-terror security plan (too expensive, he’s said) but, to be fair, you can buy the same goofy kitsch and drink basically the same Glühwein at most Christmas markets in Berlin.
On October 14, 2012, 20-year-old Jonny K. was attacked early in the morning by at least six men at Alexanderplatz after a drunken argument. He would later die from his injuries. Six men were eventually sentenced for the crime, which sparked massive media attention about youth violence and led to the opening of a police station at Alexanderplatz in 2017.
Event recommend: Dark comedy in Mitte
Berlin's first and best dark English-language comedy show is back tomorrow, Saturday October 15th at 8pm in the wonderful Z-Bar in Mitte (Bergstr. 2). Dark Mode - an iteration of "The Berlin Offensive" - is a show for people who like their comedy like they like their coffee: dark, bitter, and based on centuries of oppression. Our next headliner is the wonderful Erika Ratcliffe!, a Japanese-Austrian comedian who performs all over Germany and Austria; dark, self-deprecating and sometimes silly but always personal. Erika starred in the first two seasons of Comedy Central Stand-Up Shorts, Comedy Central Stand Up 3000 and Comedy Central’s Roast Battle. And she’s battling anxiety! Supporting Erika are Passun Azhand and Fabian Barahmeh! Get your tickets here! As a special treat for 20 Percent readers use the promo code 20percent for 20 percent off! Seems self explanatory, doesn't it? Foolishly made plans for tomorrow night? Check out our next shows here!
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