How long will it take before Neukölln will become more familiar to the general public? Anyone who goes to Berlin and looks for an alternative district will be thinking about Kreuzberg. I myself had never heard of Neuköln before, the quarter next to Kreuzberg. Just like in Kreuzberg foreigners and young artists would live here next to each other. On my last visit to Berlin I decided to take a look there.
According to my tourist guide it should be a very busy lively area:
Neukölln is sometimes called the Bronx of Berlin. The Lower East Side, with bars, art galleries and shops. And everywhere true art explosions have taken place. People who love nightlife have a range of options within a small area.
I was there on a Tuesday afternoon, and actually I found a pretty quiet area. However, I already have found out that Berlin by day or night can vary enormously. The pubs don’t have signs, in the way we are used to. If I’ve learned one thing in that week in Berlin it is this: a door with a lot of graffiti might be a bar.
Also, the shops that are mentioned in a travel guide canbe disappeared, and there might be others instead of them.
My walk through Neukölln.
I got out on the U-bahn station Hermannplatz. This square really has the atmosphere of a multicultural area, with all kinds of food stalls.
When you hit the streets behind this square, you will come in a pretty quiet neighborhood. It has more the look of a quiet residential area, complete with playground. I have crossed several streets, like Lenaustrasse, Hobrechtstrasse, Bürknerstrasse, Friedrichstrasse. The houses are a combination of stately 19th-century construction, with beautiful facades and balconies, and graffiti. It might be possible that these are bars, but during the day you won’t notice it.
One of the art addresses that was recommended in the guide book is Klötze und Schinken (Blocks and Ham?), an art gallery and café.
The interior is very nice, but there was only 1 other customer besides me, it took some time before someone came in for the menu, and about the half of the dishes was not available. It was nice to sit there for a while as well.
At the end of the district, on the banks of the Maybach, there is a market, every Tuesday and Friday. According to the travel guide this is called the “Turkish market”. At the beginning of the market there are musicians and youngsters sitting and standing at the banks of the river. It seems to me that on a summer day it will be very very nice just hanging out here. At the beginning of the market there are also German traders. But further on , it is a “Turkish Market” indeed. The colors and smells from Turkey, the women with headscarves. I like it, this atmosphere. Now it is really a neighborhood of foreigners. The market goes far along the shore.
When you turn again, along the same route, on the way to the U-Bahn, you will discover new things anyway.
All of a sudden I was standing in front of “Sing Blackbird”, a vintage store with a bar. This seems typical of this neighborhood: a bar is never just only a bar, there is always something else to see.
The clothes: sorry, I wouldn’t buy it, not really my taste. But nice to sit inside anyway.
I have had a chat with the guy from the bar, about this district. According to him, you really have to get to know this area. It has a lot of hidden spots. Here not the major stores, only small shops like this one.
He itself comes from Friedrichshain, on the other side of the Maybach canal. That area would be on his return, while Neukölln is on the rise, especially among young people.
If I come back here again maybe this quarter will be different again, who knows. That’s the great thing about Berlin, it’s always moving!