Berlin has a lot of Markthallen - Market Halls. Like many other substantial changes to Berlin’s urban infrastructure (including the Central Slaughterhouse in the last third of the 19th century, the construction of market halls was undertaken to address the needs of a quickly growing city. Quite simply, there weren’t enough indoor, hygienic places for people to buy groceries and other food supplies.
I'm no architect, but I know a Nazi-era building when I see one. And this hotel in Kreuzberg definitely reminded me of other 1930s-era buildings. It turns out, my hunch was right.
The Eis Fabrik Berlin, or 'Berlin Ice Factory' on Koepenickerstraße is an abandoned (you guessed it) ice factory along the River Spree. According to Wikipedia (warning: German version), it's one of the oldest surviving ice factories in Germany, and churned out blocks of ice up to 1.5 meters long from its construction in 1914 until its parent company ceased to exist in the early 1990s. There have been plans to demolish it since at least 1995, but the building is still standing today and is currently controlled by TLG, a real estate management company in the city.
The issue of gentrification isn't unique to Berlin. But what has been new for me is to witness the visceral, and sometimes violent, reaction of those who feel that their rights are being squeezed. In certain neighborhoods signs like "Go Home Hipsters!" or "Fuck You Yuppies" are common. I've walked past a few of these signs before, but the issue really popped for me a couple of weeks ago when a "Low Rent" sign was posted next to my apartment building, and when later that same day I walked past a new apartment building in Kreuzberg that had been vandalized. It was clearly not a random act of vandalism. Each window was smashed on the ground floor, paint was sprayed onto the upper floors, and "Hood Defense" was spray painted next to one of the windows. I've posted a few pictures throughout this post.
The facade of Anhalter Bahnhof (Anhalter Train Station), located at the intersection of Stresemann Straße and Schöneberger Straße in the Mitte section of Berlin, is the most visible remnant of what was once a bustling and enormous commuter and freight hub. You can see what remains of the facade in the below photograph.