16 September 2020

How a City Changes in 8 Years

Recently, I took a walk along Berlin's Spree. And it took me to areas which have changed a lot. I was walking alongside the East Side Gallery in between Ostbahnhof and Warschauer Strasse, and I must say, it felt like a totally different city, compared to the first time I was there, checking out the wall.

Back when I first saw the Berlin Wall in 2012, the area was more or less desolate and flat. There was the river, there was the wall, and aside from the road, there wasn't much else there. Oh, there was the lone building or two, as well as the newly constructed Mercedes Benz Arena. But beyond that, nothing much was there.

Now, there's high rises everywhere. There's of course building after building on the north side of the street, but there are also buildings on the south side, even behind the wall, between the wall and the river. There's plenty of glass flats and condos that have sprung lately, and I am sure these properties cost a fortune, and not for the faint-hearted.

In any case, I had a thought that 8 years is indeed a long time, long enough to change the landscape of a neighbourhood. Back when I first saw the Berlin Wall, it was this long and massive memorial in the middle of a desolate area. Now, it feels like the 21st century is creeping up and overshadowing it, forcing the Berlin Wall into oblivion, as the property developers chip at it bit by bit, making way for the latest skyscraper they want to build.

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