16 March 2011

Berlin-Hackescher Markt

This S-Bahn station is one of very few Berlin stations that has been maintained in its original condition, without additions or radical change.  Built in the 1880s, I find it amazing that builders had the patience to construct such a beautiful public building while lacking today's advance technical knowledge.  Terracotta frames the porthole windows: from inside a waiting train, you can see the surrounding buildings through the porthole.  The platform is not as long as those in modern stations and thankfully, hasn't been desecrated by the presence of kiosks selling oriental takeaway and pizzas in envelopes.  The roof is wooden with skylights which makes for a bright, airy atmosphere even on dismal winter days.

Outside, the district is a magnet for tourists with cafeterias, boutiques and bars. A lot of it is a bit kitsch but the youngsters seem to like it.

The square hosts an outdoor market twice a week - on good-weather days everyone is packed in like sardines.

The area has just received the attention of developers. That means another huge office block has gone up right next to the station, with the attendant restaurants, bakeries, pharmacies etc. to help the employees spend their money during the lunch breaks. Everything is fresh, new and clean here, but regrettably, the same cannot be said for the space underneath the station arches. The bar proprietors use them as convenient dumping areas for old tables and sundry cafeteria paraphernalia, the ground is muddy and they have fenced off their private rubbish tips. This is in full sight of the trams that terminate next to the arches. The owners are obviously too busy with pulling pints and slicing sandwiches to go outside and clean up a bit.

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Squeaky Door by Elizabeth Chairopoulou is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.