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A Twen Stroll through Berlin (1960)

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In addition, there are a vast number of French wines, cognacs, and apéritifs. If you want to pour down a few quiet beers to some good jukebox music, you can head for the “Domingo” in Uhlandstraße (but quite a ways up). And if Georgia, the colored bartender is in the right mood, she’ll even sing along. The accent is American and coffee brown in the Galerie Bremer as well. Here, a bar sits and pictures are mounted in the middle of the room, modern pictures, some of which can also be inspected in the entry hall without having to come into contact with seductive alcohol. A little chat with Rudi, the colored barkeeper, is always informative. At least you can find out which stage artists are currently in Berlin, for if they are in town, they are at Rudi’s.

Theater is a big deal in Berlin. This is one of the few areas in which Berlin has recovered national importance. Berlin offers the unique opportunity to compare theater of Western and Eastern flavor. You see, you can travel into the Eastern Sector without any problems (including by car), and theater tickets are about the only thing you can buy with East money exchanged in the West without having to show your identification card or getting into trouble because of currency fraud. If you go to see nothing else in the East – the Brecht ensemble in East Berlin is worth a trip across the sector. Even if it is one of less “Brechtian,” produced pieces, such as “Fear and Misery of the Third Reich” you can still study all kinds of remarkable theater methods. Don’t be embarrassed to park your western license-plated car right in front of the theater – you will be joined by others.

One night you could go to bed early for a change in order to get up early the next morning – then you can visit a few second-hand dealers. But you have to be really early. What sets the Berlin antiquarians apart from their colleagues in the rest of Germany is that they don’t wait for someone to come to them and offer them some old clothes. They go into houses of mourning and buy up complete widows’ apartments. You’ll find all kinds of marvelous old bric-a-brac. But you have to be early – others will be, too.

Yes, I know, there’s a lot I’ve left out. For example, that you can sit in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel and pretend you’re a big shot. That Carow by the lake and Casa Leon are also nice spots, and that good jazz is played also in the Riverboat. And we haven’t even spoken of fashion yet, seeing as Oestergaard is in Berlin, and the fashion stores Horn and Rochlitz on Ku-Damm with their labels move a Berliner living abroad to tears when they scratch his neck.

By the way: if nothing else tempts you to Berlin, perhaps this tip will – in Berlin you can drive like nowhere else in West Germany. Because Berliners have fewer cars percentagewise than West Germans. Because most Berliners wouldn’t even know where to drive with their car. There is no lack of parking spaces.

Source: Rolf Palm, “Twen Bummel Berlin” [“A Twen Stroll through Berlin”], Twen, June 25, 1960, pp. 64-65.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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