So I found a WG in Kreuzberg, but I was quite surprised when I first visited it for a quick check. “This is Kreuzberg? Really?” In my three years of living in Berlin, I’d never once made it beyond the Kottbusser-Tor-Kreuzberg that I love. That is, Kreuzberg 36, rough, dirty, charmingly different, never welcoming. Well, and here I am in Kreuzberg 61: it’s clean and tidy. Good looking people in expensive clothes dominate the sidewalks on sunny afternoons. Cafés, restaurants and tall, beautiful Altbauten make the scenery.
I like it to an extent. It’s peaceful and I’m never scared of stepping into dog shit. But it’s pretty boring too. Everyone is grown up here, the graffitis are being removed from the walls, and where once you had the sound of sirens and the gunshot pops you’re now bathing in the noise of children’s play and crying babies. Not that gunshots are a better alternative. I’m just saying.
In any case, Kreuzberg 61 seems to be a misplaced part of Prenzlauer Berg, where people dandy like it’s the 1920s again. I can already hear the killer phrases of gentrification. “You destroyed our Kiez” is what the “UrBerliners”, that is, people who’ve been living here for the last 20 years or something, will say. But in my book, all of this and especially the contrasts between two parts of a district only prove that it’s natural development. Yes, of course we should try to keep the costs low and not create a bubble that rises over our heads and explodes into a catastrophe. But: if we start complaining about what is happening (without actively doing something/by discriminating against people from all over the world who come to live and stay in Berlin), we’ll just add to the fact. We will become the same small-minded town people. And that, in my opinion, is the problem we should tackle.