#122: Masks, Friedrichstrasse, Checkpoint Charlie, Ku'damm killer
And hemp in Brandenburg
Hey 20 Percent!
Just a brief introduction today because I’m officially on vacation in the US (but still keeping abreast of the Berlin news). After years in Germany, it always takes me several days until I remember the phrase, “How are you doing?” is not a question, just a greeting. No one cares how my flight was, nor how I’m doing.
But the one question everyone keeps asking is if we’ve noticed any repercussions because of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. It seems almost absurd considering the massive and near-continual impact it has in Berlin but it’s understandable since inflation, the energy crisis and the war itself seem very far away from here. To be honest, none of it even feels real on this side of the Atlantic.
But have a good weekend, you deserve it. I’m going out now to be treated politely by complete strangers, watch while grocery store clerks patiently bag my groceries and no one cares whether I cross the street with or against the light.
P.S. This space is reserved for hyping our Patreon, where you can support the work we put into this newsletter every Tuesday and Friday, even while on vacation.
Berlin corona stats for Friday, October 28
New cases in one day: 2,672 (3,632 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,922 (+27 over Friday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 353 (402 Tuesday)
🔴7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 16.6 (17.9 Tuesday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 7.9% (6.9% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
No masks after all
We won’t have to start masking up Oct. 29 as expected after the Berlin government Tuesday refused to follow the recommendation of health senator Ulrike Gote (Die Grüne) — Berlin would have been the only of Germany’s 16 states to have reinstated masking regulations. The disagreement with the city-state’s top health official is just the latest tiff between the environmental Die Grüne, a junior partner in Berlin’s ruling coalition, and the center-left SPD, the senior partner. After officials flubbed the 2021 election in September, voters will likely have to return to the polls in February to re-vote and Berlin politicians have already begun politicking. Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) has been open about wanting a more conservative Berlin government while her partners — leftists Die Linke and Die Grüne — are hoping to remain in the government.
Checkpoint Charlie to become less circus-like
Berlin has agreed to buy two pieces of land on either side of Friedrichstrasse to build a park and museum at Checkpoint Charlie to honor the site’s role in the Cold War and prevent the continued Disney-fication of the area, according to N-TV. The city and Trockland, a real estate investor, finally agreed on how to develop the site, which will also include commercial as well as residential buildings on the undeveloped properties adjacent to the famous former border crossing between the two Germanys. Politicians had feared developers would ignore the location’s historic significance and tussled with investors about their disparate visions — the process was further complicated by the bankruptcy of a previous owner.
Prosecutors seek protective custody
Prosecutors have asked that a 29-year-old man who drove his car through groups of people on Kurfürstendamm on June 8 be confined to a mental hospital if a court finds that he is not guilty by reason of insanity, according to Tagesspiegel. One person — a 32-year-old teacher from Hesse — was killed. One of the teacher’s colleagues as well as seven students from the same school were seriously injured in the attack. In total, 32 people were injured by the man, who prosecutors say still poses a threat should he not receive treatment.
Some 24 farms in Brandenburg cultivated industrial hemp on 464 hectares last year with many eager to begin growing marijuana for consumption if Germany legalizes the drug, according to Tagesspiegel. The hemp has just 0.2 percent THC — the agent that gets users high — compared with about 16 percent in weed grown as … weed.
👇👇👇Event recommend! 👇👇👇
Happy Halloween Weekend! Berlin's first and best dark, English-language comedy show is back tomorrow, Saturday October 29th with some delicious and horrifying comedy for your Halloween weekend! This time we have the delightful musical comedy duo of Two Jews! Adam and Eyal have performed together since 2019 and have developed a reputation for their irreverent comedy. You may have seen them performing shorter sets around Berlin but this time they will perform a longer show! Supporting Two Jews are the comedy power couple of Matilda Paulsson and Scott Reynolds! This time for Halloween, if you come with a costume you get a free shot! Get your tickets here! After the main show, we also have a free late show with comics new and experienced and sometimes special guest surprises! You have nothing to lose from sticking around except your dignity.
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 other plans for tomorrow night? Check out our next shows here!