July 28, 2014
Look How Beautiful:
Fence art outside of Tempelhoffer Airport in Berlin.
Photo taken April, 2014
Related Posts:
Biking on Another Plane
Airport Gardens
Respir (fence art in Brussels)

Look How Beautiful:

Fence art outside of Tempelhoffer Airport in Berlin.

Photo taken April, 2014

Related Posts:

Biking on Another Plane

Airport Gardens

Respir (fence art in Brussels)

July 27, 2014

Currywurst City: Berlin

Currywurst is one of the defining foods of Berlin, and Konnopke’s Imbiss played a key role in making that happen.  It opened in 1930, underneath U-Bahn tracks in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood, and has been serving the saucy sausages to hungry visitors from all over since.

I learned about it while watching a Bourdain episode, and knew that I had to make it a destination when traveling to Berlin.  The food may not be for everyone - I’m pretty sure it grows on you more each time you try it - but the setting and cultural importance makes for a unique urban experience.  I always love when food serves as an activator and connector of otherwise awkward public spaces.

Photos taken April, 2014

Related Posts:

Eyes on the Street (Food)

Department Store Dining

(Beer) Garden City: Berlin

July 21, 2014

Biking on Another Plane:

While many cities actively promote biking by re-purposing street and sidewalk spaces into bike lanes, Berlin takes it to another level by opening up the tarmacs and runways of disused Tempelhofer Airport to bikers (as well as walkers, runners, roller-bladers, and kite skaters).  It makes for a gigantic, fun, and safe space to do these sorts of activities, and certainly makes for a great place to practice, especially for beginners or for those who might be intimidated by dealing with traffic.

Photos taken April, 2014

Related Posts:

Airport Gardens (Berlin)

From Centers of Death, to Centers of Creation (Rome)

July 20, 2014
Funky U-Bahn:
The Berlin subway has a good reputation for being reliable, clean, and affordable, but what about funky?  The U-Bahn system features some pretty interesting and colorful patterns for seats on some of its trains, and the seats are comfortable as well!  Little touches like this can make public transit fun and attractive.
Photo taken April, 2014

Related Posts:
Funky seating in Prague
Family-friendly seating in Berlin
No surface without a seat in Berlin

Funky U-Bahn:

The Berlin subway has a good reputation for being reliable, clean, and affordable, but what about funky?  The U-Bahn system features some pretty interesting and colorful patterns for seats on some of its trains, and the seats are comfortable as well!  Little touches like this can make public transit fun and attractive.

Photo taken April, 2014

Related Posts:

Funky seating in Prague

Family-friendly seating in Berlin

No surface without a seat in Berlin

July 20, 2014
Looking Back at Salamanca
Wow, I can’t believe its been almost a year already since I was in Salamanca, Spain.
Photo taken July, 2013.

Looking Back at Salamanca

Wow, I can’t believe its been almost a year already since I was in Salamanca, Spain.

Photo taken July, 2013.

July 19, 2014

Department Store Dining:

KaDeWe in Berlin is over 100 years old and boasts being the largest department store in Continental Europe.  Whether or not you are interested in department store history, design, or shopping, the food sections on the upper floors are spectacles in themselves worthy of a visit (and a taste).

The top floor serves as a high-end food court, while the floor just below is modeled after a market.  There are hundreds of stands and displays, selling everything from vegetables, cheeses, and meats, to teas, chocolates, and condiments.  Interspersed amongst these stands are dozens of market-style lunch counters and bars, representing a worldwide cross-section of culinary options.  Customers line up on bar stools throughout the space to sample things like sushi, tapas, antipasto, seafood, grilled meats, or beer.  The scene is bustling, sounds of chatter and clinking dinnerware abound, and the smells of cooked food waft through the air.

We opted to eat at the German counter, which ended up serving us the best sausages we tried on our entire trip to the country.  I had been disappointed by my previous plunge into the world of currywurst, but the currywurst special here turned my opinion around so that I am now a fan. It was also helpful to have some great beer to wash it all down.

Photos taken April, 2014

July 16, 2014
The Future is Unwritten:
"Know Your Rights!"
Joe Strummer of The Clash is paid tribute to via this great piece in NYC’s East Village.
I love how the East Village is dotted with musical murals, like Gil Scott-Heron or MCA of the Beastie Boys.
Photo taken June, 2014.

The Future is Unwritten:

"Know Your Rights!"

Joe Strummer of The Clash is paid tribute to via this great piece in NYC’s East Village.

I love how the East Village is dotted with musical murals, like Gil Scott-Heron or MCA of the Beastie Boys.

Photo taken June, 2014.

July 15, 2014

Record Store Explorations: Minigroove in Hamburg

Having arrived in Hamburg straight from Berlin, a place where I got a little too record happy, I didn’t really plan to seek out record stores during my visit.  But when a record lover like myself happens to pass by a place like Minigroove, its quite difficult to not go inside.

The space is small, as the name “mini” implies, but it packs a lot of records in.  There is also a decent selection of books, accessories, clothing, and CDs, so non-vinyl lovers shouldn’t be scared off.

I managed to get some good jazz and soul records here, but I walked away feeling like I left a lot of great stuff behind.  There were a few items I hadn’t seen around for years, and quite a bit of wacky and quirky albums as well.  I could have probably spent hours at the listening station, but there was a whole city to explore!

Next time you’re in Hamburg, check out Minigroove.

Photos taken April, 2014

Related Posts:

The Record Loft (Berlin)

Oye Records (Berlin)

Musical Corridors (Barcelona)

Radiation Records (Rome)

July 14, 2014

Port of Hamburg

Hamburg is host to the third largest port in Europe, and successfully manages to balance its working waterfront with public access, sightseeing, historic sites, dining and drinking establishments, and promenades.  

It’s a pretty nice feeling to sit in a beer garden on top of a boat, watching tugboats and container ships in the distance, while also seeing cruise ships, theater-bound boats, and sightseeing boats pass by.

Learn more about the Port of Hamburg, which dates back to 1189, on its Wikipedia page.

Photos taken April, 2014.

Related Posts:

Canalside Coffee (Hamburg)

(Beer) Garden City (Berlin)

Canal City (Aveiro, Portugal)

The Destruction of Washington Market (NYC)

July 13, 2014
NYC Skies:
I snapped this picture while riding the G train in Brooklyn the other night.  I can never get enough of these types of NYC views.

Photo edited using Instagram

NYC Skies:

I snapped this picture while riding the G train in Brooklyn the other night.  I can never get enough of these types of NYC views.

Photo edited using Instagram

July 7, 2014
Eyes on the Street (Food):
This chicken kebap stand in the Kreuzberg section of Berlin has got a lot of style.  Stands like this often bring life to streets based on food alone, but having an attractive mural brings it up a notch further.  
There is art seemingly everywhere on the streets of Kreuzberg.
Photo taken April, 2014
Related Post:
Little Boxes, Berlin Style

Eyes on the Street (Food):

This chicken kebap stand in the Kreuzberg section of Berlin has got a lot of style.  Stands like this often bring life to streets based on food alone, but having an attractive mural brings it up a notch further.  

There is art seemingly everywhere on the streets of Kreuzberg.

Photo taken April, 2014

Related Post:

Little Boxes, Berlin Style

June 30, 2014

newamsterdammkt:

Market Past, Market Future

Seaport resident and photographer Barbara Mensch took this incredible shot of the Tin Building interior while the Fulton Fish Market was still operating, sometime in the late 1980’s.  Note the cobblestones of South Street directly connecting the street to this public trading site.  Also note how clean the building was left at the end of each selling day.

A few years ago, we showed Barbara’s photo to artist Kazuya Morimoto and he created this watercolor rendering of the Tin Building brought back to life with a genuine public market - New Amsterdam Market.

June 30, 2014

New Amsterdam Market:

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much lately.  I plan to get back into a regular posting rhythm soon, but in the meantime check out another project that I’ve been working on:  New Amsterdam Market.

New Amsterdam Market aims to preserve and revitalize the Old Fulton Fish Market in Lower Manhattan as a public market, community gathering space, and hub for local food businesses - an idea that is part of a broader vision to safeguard and reinvigorate the surrounding Fulton Market District (otherwise known as South Street Seaport).  There are a number of underutilized assets in the district that could be activated in order to spur economic activity, human-scale development, and community interaction, all while maintaining irreplaceable historic characteristics and assets.

Monthly markets are currently held outdoors at the site, featuring regional purveyors and farmers that sell a wide assortment of responsibly sourced food.

Check out the website (including market schedule) and also be sure to follow the Tumblr page:

newamsterdammkt:

Open the Gates:

The historic buildings of the Old Fulton Fish Market - otherwise known as the New Market Building and the Tin Building - are currently closed off to the public by a series of metal gates.  You can, however, get a glimpse inside the buildings by passing in front of them via pedestrian paths and bike lanes.

Its interesting to peek inside, but imagine how these pedestrian paths and bike lanes would be improved if the gates opened up to a bustling public market.  There would be more to look at, and it would be a great stop for charging up on local food and drinks.

Photos taken June, 2014 (and filtered via Instagram)

June 9, 2014
The Destruction of Washington Market:
Despite significant evidence of the placemaking power that markets and the “market city” hold, it’s incredible to see that there are forces — both in historic and modern times - that work towards destroying these centers of neighborhood life and commerce.
New York’s Washington Market was one market that didn’t make it in the face of development pressure from finance, real estate, and insurance industries.
In a chapter entitled Whose Downtown?!?, John Kuo Wei Tchen vividly paints a picture of the downtown Manhattan market district and chronicles the factors that led to its destruction:

In the 1940’s and ’50s, downtown “renewal” schemes ripped out the historical heart of Manhattan - the early, low-rise, mixed-used port culture buildings.  Like the architects of a conquering empire, the planners of the WTC built upon a previously beloved place, a vast public gathering place called the Washington Market, which stretched over the Lower West Side.  Built in 1812, the Washington Market was visited by generation after generation of New Yorkers and visitors alike.
Public markets and specialty trade districts once flourished throughout Lower Manhattan.  The Washington Market was easily accessible from the streets, creating a people’s commons.  In 1862, butcher Thomas De Voe documented the early decades of these largely forgotten gathering places.  De Voe chose this 1814 verse to express his feelings about such markets:
     The place where no distinctions are,
     All sects and colors mingle there, 
     Long folks and short, black folks and gray
     With common bawds, and folks that pray,
     Rich folks and poor, both old and young, 
     And good and bad, and weak, and strong,…
     The high, the low, the proud, the meek….
Such a public space promoted a generous urban spirit of access and general well-being.
From the eighteenth through the mid-twentieth century, this intermingling of diverse peoples and and cultures characterized the port city.  This culture flourished in taverns, such settlements as the Five Points, the public markets, the parks, the Lower East Side, the streets, and the subways.  The industries of the port and scores of manufacturers provided jobs for newcomers and old timers. Conflicts abounded, but they were of a human scale.  Going out into the neighborhoods was all about boundary crossings.  Dance halls, community organizations, union halls, and parks were the venues to meet fellow countrymen and new neighbors.  Where else would Jimmy Cagney pick up phrases of Yiddish and Cantonese? And you didn’t have to be wealthy to survive and live well in Lower Manhattan.  You didn’t have to attend college to be educated about the world.
But in 1956, the Washington Market was shut down.  Its wholesale operations soon moved to the remote Hunts Point in the Bronx.  The finance, real estate, and insurance interests prevailed, and Downtown became theirs to shape.  In this sense, the destruction of Washington Market was but a recent assault on the city’s historical port culture.


Source: John Kuo Wei Tchen.  Whose Downtown?!? In After the World Trade Center: Rethinking New York City, edited by Michael Sorkin and Sharon Zukin (2002).  Pgs 37-38.
Quoted poem: Thoms De Voe, The Market Assistant, 7-8, New York Historical Society Library.
Image source:  New York Public Library (originally from Gleason’s pictorial drawing-room companion.)

The Destruction of Washington Market:

Despite significant evidence of the placemaking power that markets and the “market city” hold, it’s incredible to see that there are forces — both in historic and modern times - that work towards destroying these centers of neighborhood life and commerce.

New York’s Washington Market was one market that didn’t make it in the face of development pressure from finance, real estate, and insurance industries.

In a chapter entitled Whose Downtown?!?, John Kuo Wei Tchen vividly paints a picture of the downtown Manhattan market district and chronicles the factors that led to its destruction:

In the 1940’s and ’50s, downtown “renewal” schemes ripped out the historical heart of Manhattan - the early, low-rise, mixed-used port culture buildings.  Like the architects of a conquering empire, the planners of the WTC built upon a previously beloved place, a vast public gathering place called the Washington Market, which stretched over the Lower West Side.  Built in 1812, the Washington Market was visited by generation after generation of New Yorkers and visitors alike.

Public markets and specialty trade districts once flourished throughout Lower Manhattan.  The Washington Market was easily accessible from the streets, creating a people’s commons.  In 1862, butcher Thomas De Voe documented the early decades of these largely forgotten gathering places.  De Voe chose this 1814 verse to express his feelings about such markets:

     The place where no distinctions are,

     All sects and colors mingle there, 

     Long folks and short, black folks and gray

     With common bawds, and folks that pray,

     Rich folks and poor, both old and young, 

     And good and bad, and weak, and strong,…

     The high, the low, the proud, the meek….

Such a public space promoted a generous urban spirit of access and general well-being.

From the eighteenth through the mid-twentieth century, this intermingling of diverse peoples and and cultures characterized the port city.  This culture flourished in taverns, such settlements as the Five Points, the public markets, the parks, the Lower East Side, the streets, and the subways.  The industries of the port and scores of manufacturers provided jobs for newcomers and old timers. Conflicts abounded, but they were of a human scale.  Going out into the neighborhoods was all about boundary crossings.  Dance halls, community organizations, union halls, and parks were the venues to meet fellow countrymen and new neighbors.  Where else would Jimmy Cagney pick up phrases of Yiddish and Cantonese? And you didn’t have to be wealthy to survive and live well in Lower Manhattan.  You didn’t have to attend college to be educated about the world.

But in 1956, the Washington Market was shut down.  Its wholesale operations soon moved to the remote Hunts Point in the Bronx.  The finance, real estate, and insurance interests prevailed, and Downtown became theirs to shape.  In this sense, the destruction of Washington Market was but a recent assault on the city’s historical port culture.



Source: John Kuo Wei Tchen.  Whose Downtown?!? In After the World Trade Center: Rethinking New York City, edited by Michael Sorkin and Sharon Zukin (2002).  Pgs 37-38.

Quoted poem: Thoms De Voe, The Market Assistant, 7-8, New York Historical Society Library.

Image source:  New York Public Library (originally from Gleason’s pictorial drawing-room companion.)

June 2, 2014

Markthalle IX:

Markthalle IX is a survivor. It has stood in the Kreuzberg neighborhood of Berlin for 120 years, surviving amidst wars, chain store takeovers, and development. And despite the fact that it hasn’t been renovated, it manages to be successful as a food destination, a community gathering space, and a family friendly indoor public space.

Some stores and stands offer daily grocery options,while others feature prepared foods and meals from small scale producers and trendsetting cooks. If you opt for the latter, there are a variety of tables and seats spread around that allow you to stay and enjoy the food within the space.

I went on a quiet Wednesday in the early evening hours and observed that a small number of prepared food stalls were open for business (several are open every day), the internal grocery store was active with after-work shoppers, and the central space was being used for a community meeting. Despite the slow pace, the schedule posted on the wall boasted popular events on other days, such as artisanal markets, street food events, and kids cooking classes.

Another major standout feature to me was a children’s play space in the center, adding to the overall inviting feel of the place.

Markthalle IX is proof that a lot can be done with historic buildings, even when they are not invested in or modernized. Community engagement, creativity, and perseverance can go a long way, and in many ways can have better results.

Photos taken April, 2014.

Further Reading:
Needle Berlin post on Markthalle 9

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