#81: Attack driver confined, monkeypox, skyscraper next to Alex
And an annual performer expo
The announcement that BER would get new direct flights to New York (daily) and Los Angeles (three times a week) in August had me thinking about our much-maligned airport again this week and that the real problem is expectations. In the decade run-up to the new airport, it felt like we were being promised a modern, cosmopolitan international hub, something like Amsterdam’s Schiphol or maybe that trendy new wing at Charles de Gaulle in Paris. But what we really ended up with was a workable regional airfield.
This occurred to me in October when I first flew out of the place. We had to fly to Frankfurt initially to be able to get anywhere worthwhile and landing in Frankfurt the difference between it and BER was hard to miss. Frankfurt’s tarmac had more gigantic A380s and 747s than BER had of even any kind of airplane and the terminal was teeming with people from … everywhere. Meanwhile, not even the escalators had been working at BER.
Although on paper BER is an international airport, it’s really just a regional affair. And that’s how it should be marketed. Imagine how you’d feel if it was called Schönefeld Regional Air Field and was named after some unknown local politician — René Müller, for example. You’d roll up in the S-Bahn and think: The cafe makes a macchiato AND they bring my luggage in from the plane for me? For real?
And then you might get excited about the news that some unknown discount airline was offering flights to the Big Apple rather than wonder if it will actually happen while worrying whether they’ll still be in operation for that flight you booked with them in October. Hell, you’d even think €160 for a flight to NYC seemed a bit steep considering you were leaving from Schönefeld Regional but maybe René himself would be loading your luggage, which would then make it worth it. And we’d never be disappointed by BER again.
Have a good weekend, y’all. You’ve earned it (even you René)!
The Berlin corona stats for Friday, June 10
Received booster: 61.3% (61.2% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: 2,237 (1,083 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,628 (+10 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 207 (199.2 Tuesday)
🟡 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 5 (4.7 Tuesday)
🟢Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 2.7% (3.2% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Breitscheidplatz driver confined to psychiatric hospital
A 29-year-old man who drove his sister’s car into a crowd of people near Breitscheidplatz in Charlottenburg Wednesday will be held in a psychiatric hospital until his trial, Berlin prosecutors said. The man, who has both German and Armenian citizenship, suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and will likely be found unfit to be held responsible for the crimes — he’s facing one charge of murder and 17 charges of attempted murder as well as traffic crimes. During his rampage, he killed a 51-year-old teacher visiting Berlin from the state of Hesse as well as nearly 20 other people, including children from the teacher’s school. Media were quick to draw comparisons to the terrorist attack on the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz in 2016 even though it has much more in common with an August 2020 attack on the A100 Autobahn in southern Berlin. A court early this year suspended the license of a 31-year-old Iraqi, who had been denied asylum, for five years and confined him to a psychiatric hospital after he intentionally injured five people in that attack — he also suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and refuses treatment.
Do we need a monkey pox statistics box too?
110 people, up from 82 on Wednesday, now have the disease in Berlin and 14 are in hospital but officials don’t expect a significant outbreak because the disease is only transmitted following close contact, RBB24 reported. Germany’s vaccination committee now recommends people with potential close contact with infected people as well as laboratory workers with unprotected access to monkey pox samples should be vaccinated against the disease. The committee also wants homosexual men with multiple sexual partners to get a jab — existing pox vaccines are sufficient.
The skyscraper next to Alexa that isn’t
It’s a bit of old news but the skyscraper almost sort of under construction on a tiny corner of land at the entrance to the bulky Alexa shopping center may or may not be in trouble. In March city officials said the developers — a company called Monarch — wouldn’t be able to complete the construction because of sanctions against Russian investors but a few weeks later the developer’s attorney told various Berlin media outlets that the investors were Armenian, exempting them from the sanctions. Regardless, nothing has happened at the site since, which is vexing because I have to go through there several times a week and they’ve swallowed a lane, making it difficult for bikes and cars. Also the 35-story building will no longer be condos but rather spacious rental apartments and serviced apartments (if it’s ever built which, well, I have my doubts).
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Trade Republic raking in cash and throwing out workers
In tech news, Berlin-based investment app Trade Republic brought in an additional €250 million, valuing the company at €5 billion and, just a few days later began laying off an unknown number of its 700 or so employees (reportedly because one of its investors is worried about the future). And Mondu, which allows businesses to use that buy-now-pay-later installment payment now so popular in online shops, raised $43 million in their first fundraising following their jawdropping $14 million seed round last fall.
Berlin teachers didn’t get personalized work email addresses until last year — 2021. Just a quick reminder of the dismal digital state our favorite city is in.
Expo Festival: A showcase of (Wahl)Berliner*Innen
Over the last nine years, the English Theatre Berlin has presented more than 100 performances of new work by international artists who have made Berlin their home. The annual Expo holds a unique position in Berlin’s vast cultural landscape as both a local and international festival. Between June 15 and 25, 2022, you can look forward to twelve different productions; six full-length productions and six work-in-progress showings. Schedule and tickets here!