Berlin is a city of flea markets. There are so many to choose from—too many. Now, some benevolent flea market lovers have mapped the city’s flea markets according to the nearest S- or U-Bahn station (find the “Flohmarkt-Map here). Each market has its own character; some are great for antiques, others for clothes. With around 42 different markets in the city, there’s something for everyone. You might want to check out the book market outside Humboldt University on Unter den Linden, or perhaps the Nowkölln Flowmarkt along the canal in “Kreuzkölln.”
Information Session with Unionhilfswerk at Welcome Center in Berlin Rahnsdorf on Friday, April 8.
Some of you have inquired about ways to support the many refugees arriving in Berlin every day. As announced in our February post, we will co-host an information session with our partners at Unionhilfswerk to discuss our initiatives so far and ways for you to make concrete contributions.
We invite all members of the community – students, staff, and faculty – to join us on Friday, April 8, at 1:00PM, for a visit at the welcome center in Rahnsdorf, Fürstenwalder Allee 364, 12589 Berlin-Köpenick (Rahnsdorf). An experienced social worker will provide an overview of the current situation and describe ways to make concrete and useful contributions.
If you are interested in joining us, please e-mail Linn at email@example.com. Since the center is outside of the city center, we will leave from the Student Residence at 11:30AM.
Join the Hutto Project
We would also like to invite interested students to join the The Hutto Project. Kate Eberstadt, a fellow at the American Academy, and fellow volunteers have assembled a children’s choir within one of the smaller emergency refugee camps in Berlin. The group consists of children between the ages of 3 and 15, coming from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Moldova, and Palestine. These children are not enrolled in school, and are all living in a single gymnasium with 200 others.
Together, they are creating an original choral work, unique to their group, which will be performed to the public this Spring. The group has been rehearsing for three weeks, exploring basic music theory, dance, and movement. They also invite artists of other artistic disciplines to teach guest workshops to the children, in order to give them as many creative outlets as possible. The group generally rehearses Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2-4 at the Deutsches Rotes Kreuz, Kranzer 6-7. As a volunteer you would help us run rehearsals, i.e. setting up the room, participating in the activities, distributing snack, conflict resolution, etc. If you are interested in participating, please e-mail Linn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join Daire on Thursday, April 7, for shuffleboard at Kaschk, a Norwegian cafe and bar at Rosa Luxemburg Platz. Shuffleboard is a descendent of an old English upper class leisure activity. It involves a long narrow table, somewhere between three and six meters long, and weights you slide down the table to out-distance your opponents or just knock them off the table.
The event will run from about 7:00-9:00PM. You can go with Daire from the Residence, or meet the group at Kaschk (two stops from the AC on the U2). Please sign up on the Schwarzes Brett in the Residence or e-mail Daire at email@example.com.
Hello NYU Berlin students,
Tomorrow is the first day of your much deserved spring break – a beautiful occasion to pause for a moment, to appreciate the relationships and opportunities that make our lives special, to breathe, self-reflect and practice self-care.
Take a moment to reflect upon how you usually treat yourself – do you allow yourself to get enough sleep, eat properly, exercise and spend enough time outside? When was the last time you made yourself a sincere compliment? Try to remember a situation you experienced as being difficult because you had gotten into an argument, made a mistake, or had not achieved something that you had wanted to. How do you usually respond when feeling rejected, unimportant, jealous, sad or anxious? Do you comfort yourself, acknowledge your pain and give negative emotions the room that they need? Or do you tell yourself off, trying to suppress disappointment or concerns?
Many of us fall into a routine of treating ourselves in a much stricter and harsher way than we treat others. However, this behavior is very harmful in the long run. It takes its toll on our sense of self-worth and inhibits growth and development. Of course it is important to practice self-criticism in life, to push ourselves, to set boundaries, and to acknowledge failure, but we should do so in an understanding, kind, and self-compassionate way.
When trying to be self-compassionate for the first time, we sometimes feel afraid to come across as being “full of ourselves” or egocentric. But don’t worry, these characteristics are worlds apart from inner kindness.
Dr. Kristin Neff, one of the world’s leading experts on self-compassion, has designed the following exercise, which I find immensely powerful:
Please take out a sheet of paper and answer the following questions:
- First, think about times when a close friend feels really badly about him or herself or is really struggling in some way. How would you respond to your friend in this situation (especially when you’re at your best)? Please write down what you typically do, what you say, and note the tone in which you typically talk to your friends.
- Now think about times when you feel bad about yourself or are struggling. How do you typically respond to yourself in these situations? Please write down what you typically do, what you say, and note the tone in which you talk to yourself.
- Did you notice a difference? If so, ask yourself why. What factors or fears come into play that lead you to treat yourself and others so differently?
- Please write down how you think things might change if you responded to yourself in the same way you typically respond to a close friend when you’re suffering.
Why not try treating yourself like a good friend and see what happens?
Maybe you want to try this exercise and experiment with this new behavior towards yourself for a week or two.
I wish you a wonderful break and sage bis bald,
As promised during last week’s info session on taking classes at Humboldt University, the Taking Classes at HU_Fact Sheet summarizes the key points, from course types to registration procedures, and lists important Humboldt website links. Contact Roland at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any specific questions.
Hello NYU Berlin students,
I hope you have been enjoying your first six weeks in the city. Have you met some Berliners yet?
Being from Berlin myself, I know that Berliners can come across as somewhat gruff if you don’t know them well, but let me reassure you that, by and large, people have huge(!) hearts that just happen to come with a large “snout” at times. This is what we call the “Berliner Schnauze” (Berlin Snout). People here have a somewhat rugged sense of humor. Ur-Berliner (native Berliners) are also really gemütlich. They like to stay in their Kiez for their daily whatabouts and enjoy their routines. If they feel disturbed or irritated, they’ll let you know in their very special, radically honest way. They know no sugarcoating. The clue to survival is humor – many Berlinerisch expressions are actually very funny (I’m sure your German teachers will tell you more about that), and Berliners laugh a lot about each other and themselves. It’s this comradeship of entertaining each other just by being yourself that creates an invisible bond between Berliners –natives or newcomers.
Another thing you have to know about Berliners is that they love their city. For them, there is no place that compares and many of them will feel exiled when they’re away. Accordingly, Berliners refer to themselves as Berliner Pflanzen (Berlin plants), which implies that repotting may be difficult. In that respect, try to make a local friend and let them “spread the love.” They will eagerly tell you about their hometown and why it is so dear to them.
Even though the above might not immediately feel “attractive” to you, try to see it as a chance to experience a different way of interacting with each other. Different is just different – nothing less (things really are different) and nothing more (different does not have to be bad).
I’ll see you around!
The days are getting longer and the trees are starting to bud. So it’s a good time to get out there and explore the independent shops and cafés that are part of Berlin’s magic. Two great resources for finding businesses to check out are the Neukölln Schatzkarte (treasure map) and the “How To Make It In Berlin” YouTube series.
By now, you’ve probably heard that Neukölln is the center of all that is hip in Berlin. The Neukölln Schatzkarte will lead your through an exploration of the neighborhood while focusing on local, independent businesses. The map from last summer is available as a PDF here or in print at the guard desk in the Residence.
“How To Make It In Berlin” is a series of short YouTube videos highlighting a few interesting startups in fashion, food, and shopping. Watch them for ideas of what kind of career you could have in Berlin.
As spring is approaching and it is becoming warmer and sunnier, you might be longing to enjoy the nice weather at one of Berlin’s many parks and green spaces. Have you already been to Volkspark Friedrichshain?
Volkspark Friedrichshain is Berlin’s oldest public park and was opened in 1840. The large park of 120 acres offers space for various different activities. It encompasses tennis and basketball courts, a half pipe for skaters, volleyball fields, and even an outdoor cinema. Alternatively, you can just relax and sunbathe on the lawn or go for a stroll up “Mont Klamott”, one of the park’s two mountains. Wondering how these two elevated areas ended up in Berlin’s otherwise flat landscape? They were created out of the debris of the destroyed city after World War II.
Further points of interest include the Märchenbrunnen (fairy tale fountain), which features statues of characters like Cinderella and Snow White, as well as the Friedhof der Märzgefallenen, a cemetery and exhibition commemorating the attempted revolution in 1848.
How to get there:
Bus 142 to the stops Weinstraße, Am Friedrichshain or Platz der Vereinten Nationen
Trams M5, M6, M8 to the stops Büschingstraße or Platz der Vereinten Nationen
Tram M4 to the stop Am Friedrichshain
Do you want to learn more about Berlin’s history and save some money? Then take advantage of free admission to the museums of Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin next Wednesday:
The permanent exhibition “Here is Berlin!” traces the city’s history from its beginnings as a small medieval trading town through its many transformations over the past few centuries.
Am Köllnischen Park 5
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Admission: 5€, concessions 3€
Free admission on the first Wednesday of each month!
The Nikolaikirche was built in 1230 and is Berlin’s oldest surviving building. The permanent exhibition presents the history of the church and the Nikolaiviertel, Berlin’s oldest district.
Opening Hours: daily 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Admission: 5€, concessions 3€
Free admission on the first Wednesday of each month!
Visit the only remaining 18th-century residential building in the Nikolaiviertel, Berlin’s historic city center. The Knoblauchhaus was the home of the Knoblauch family, who played an important role in 19th-century Berlin. Among its members were silk merchants, politicians, architects, scientists, and patrons of the arts, who enjoyed drinking tea and chatting with the sculptor Johann Gottfried Schadow, the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, and other luminaries of the day. Wander through the period rooms and see how a well-to-do family lived during the early 19th-century Biedermeier period.
Venue: Poststraße 23, 10178 Berlin.
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm.
Admission: Free, please give a donation.
For more information, please visit http://www.en.stadtmuseum.de/node/1216/.
Berlin is a great city for cycling. The streets are wide, there are bicycle lanes, and there’s hardly a hill to climb. Once the spring sun is out, the city is best seen from the seat of a bicycle. In this post I will give you a few tips on cycling in Berlin and how to enjoy it safely.
1. Properly lock your bike!
First things first: For a serious bicyclist, the theft of a bike can be among the most devastating experiences in life. (Mine was stolen on the night of Obama’s election in 2008.) Bicycle theft in Berlin is not uncommon so the most important thing you can do to ensure your bicycling joy is to securely lock your bike. This means locking it to a fixed structure like a bike rack or railing, and locking the frame and front wheel rather than just the wheel. If you have already bought a bike, I presume you got a lock with it, but don’t hesitate to invest in a new one if it’s flimsy—the U-Locks by ABUS are solid.
2. The legal fine print – and your safety!
It’s important you bike within the limits of the law. Cycling without working brakes or front and back lighting can get you fined (and injured). Helmets are not required by law, but I strongly advise you to wear one. In many parts of the city the bike lanes are part of the sidewalk, but where they’re not, cycling on the sidewalk isn’t permitted (and some pedestrians won’t hesitate to let you know, “Absteigen!”). Cycling under the influence of alcohol is inadvisable. While you risk your (and other people’s) health and safety, you might also get stopped by the police and fined for driving under the influence. Drink responsibly and, if in doubt, always take the U-Bahn.
There are small road signs specifically for cyclists, telling you how far to neighborhoods or tourist attractions. Apps like Google Maps and Citymapper also include data on bicycle lanes and low traffic streets (i.e., Linienstrasse in Mitte, one of the possible routes to the Academic Center), though neither are great at helping you avoid cobblestones. On the weekends, I recommend getting lost because in Berlin, even if you cycle for hours, you won’t be far from an U- or S-Bahn station while discovering the hidden gems of the city.
4. Multi-modal transport
Multi-modal transport is when you combine multiple modes of transport, for example, biking to a train station, taking the train, and biking from the station to your destination. Berlin’s public transport is friendly to cyclists. Usually there’s a section of the train or subway for cyclists, with a bicycle symbol on the door, but this isn’t strictly observed. If you purchased a reduced monthly ticket, the “Azubi Ticket”, you do not need to buy a ticket for your bike.
5. Tempelhofer Feld
Since the airport’s closing, its runways have become a favorite spot for cyclists, runners, land sailors, and kite surfers. It’s my go-to spot to see the sunset. In the residence, we’re closer to the western side, but on the eastern side there’s a neighborhood of Neukölln called Schillerkiez, where you’ll you find good burgers and a Sudanese falafel shop well known for its peanut sauce.
6. Bicycles and coffee
There’s some kind of natural affinity between bicycles and coffee. What’s up with coffee shops hanging bicycles on their walls? Is it some kind of code for cyclists in search of good coffee? Berlin hasn’t been spared this trend. Westberlin around the corner from the residence has a bike displayed in its window; Cafe Kraft north of the AC has a bike hanging from its wall; Cafe am Ende der Welt in Mitte is run by two former bike couriers. Cycle in search of good coffee!
7. Trips around Berlin
The Berlin Senate helpfully lists some bike routes on their website, for example, tracing the jutting path of the Berlin Wall, or cycling out to Wannsee to swim in one of the largest lakes in Berlin and see prewar mansions from the water. The Guardian also suggested some bike routes a few years ago, including an architecture route that features our Charlottenstrasse home.
Talk to me for more information – und gute Fahrt!