Gentrifying Alex

The TAZ reports on a councillor’s personal crusade to get rid of the groups of punks gather around Alexanderplatz every weekend. Or at least, he’s trying to ban alcohol there, and I doubt many will stick around without those omnipresent bottles of Sternburg.

It’s always seemed like a nice scene to me, one that goes back in some form all the way to the GDR times (*). Appropriately incongruous, a bunch of scruffy kids in black, between the 700-year-old Marienkirche and the ugly-but-really-effin-huge Fernsehturm. You’ve got the dogs on strings, the emo fringes, the Japan-obsessed girls, the goths in their fuck-me boots and OTT eyeliner, before they all head off to Kopi or Potse or K17, or wherever it is they go now.

Maybe not everybody’s piece of cake – although the TAZ’s vox-pop doesn’t find much outrage – but mostly harmless, and certainly livelier than just another corner of badly-kept park that isn’t doing much. Personally, I’m irrationally fond of them, and I’ll be sad if they get gentrified out of existence. I’m half-tempted to blame this planned ban on the fact that if, like this councillor, you have the name Ephraim Gothe, you’ll end up either loving goths or hating them.

In other loitering-on-the-street news, it looks like outside heaters are going to be banned from January. Glad I’m not a smoker…

* As I understand it, this was something similar to Harajuku Bridge in Tokyo, a place where teenagers gathered in their fanciest clothes to show off at the tourists. Just with the added complication of the Stasi keeping tabs on the whole thing. Oddly, I can’t find much about this online, so maybe I’m imagining the entire thing.

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