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#210: Kreuzberg diss, robo-brothel, 4m Berliners
Tacheles to reopen as a museum
Dear 20 Percent Berlin,
“You are Germany! Not Berlin, not Kreuzberg! Gillamoos is Germany!”
Gillamoos is a beer festival in Bavaria, kind of a warm-up for Oktoberfest, and this weekend CDU party leader Friedrich Merz, dressed in a folksy felt jacket, held a speech there. October sees elections in Bavaria, so a little Berlin-bashing by CDU top brass comes as no surprise.
For Merz, “Kreuzberg” is a synonym for ethnic diversity, queerness, weed-smoking, bike-riding, radical environmentalism, everything the reviled Greens supposedly stand for. It’s the third time he’s said “Kreuzberg isn’t Germany” in a couple of weeks. Dissing Berlin at a Volksfest has long been part of the CDU toolbox, like when ex-party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer climbed on a Karneval stage in 2019 and quipped, “Just look at the men of today: Who of you has been to Berlin recently? There you see the latte macchiato faction, which are introducing toilets for the third sex!”
This stuff goes down well with the rural beer tent crowd. Berlin always responds in turn, hopefully with a witty putdown. This time the riposte came from Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain mayor Clara Herrmann: “Even in [Merz’s home region] Sauerland, more people travel by bicycle than by private jet.” Merz, an ex-corporate lawyer, owns his own plane.
A spokesperson for Berlin mayor Kai Wegner, also CDU, awkwardly stuck up for Berlin in response to Merz: “We like Kreuzberg, and Germany, and Sauerland, and Gillamoos. And a little Kreuzberg for everyone would be good, too.”
More news below.
Four million by 2040
The department of urban planning predicts in a new paper that Berlin will need 270,000 new apartments by 2040, according to Tagesspiegel (paywall). The population is expected to rise from 3.77 million to 4 million. The paper recommends building 20,000 new flats per year to keep up with growth. According to my own scientific forecast, the 20% of Berliners without a German passport after which we’re named will grow to 25% — even if thousands of you end up opting for German citizenship.
After the brouhaha about the new city government cancelling many new bike lane projects that threatened parking spaces for cars, construction has begun on an important 720-metre stretch of protected cycle lane on Schönhauser Allee between Eberswalder/Danziger Straße and Gleimstraße/Stargarder Straße. Ten thousand cyclists ride on the street every day. Around 150 parking spaces will be axed for the project, which includes wider pedestrian sidewalks and zones for delivery trucks.
Talking, moving sex dolls are available to johns at the new Cybrothel in Friedrichshain, reports Taz. The dolls speak German and English and come in different models — most appear to be female, though the company also promises male dolls. There are add-ons like sex toys and augmented reality porn — and you can book online and enter the “hotel” with zero human interaction. Finally, there’s a “Techno Barbie” sex worker, er, robot, who “is a true Berliner by heart: She enjoys going to parties. On Fridays, she starts at Kater Blau, on Saturdays, it’s KitKat, and on Sundays, she goes to Berghain for the closing.” Yay.
The famous post-reunification art squat Tacheles was shuttered once and for all in 2012 when bailiffs hounded out the last hold-outs and chained the gates. After extensive renovations, the once-beautiful, now-boring building is reopening as Fotografiska photography museum on September 14. The vast former wasteland behind the war-damaged department store has been turned into shops, offices and 265 luxury flats, set for completion late 2024.
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