Archives for the month of: September, 2011
Friedrichshain
Neighborhood Playground/Park

Berlin is broke. It has no money. But looking around this city, I find little evidence that “Berlin ist pleite.” There’s new public infrastructure everywhere. Across the street from my apartment is a new park and playground, the city is re-building the Berlin Stadtschloss (Berlin City Palace) at a cost of over $800 million, and phase one of the Park Am Gleisdreieck has just opened.


Park Am Gleisdreieck

The Park Am Gleisdreieck is landscape architecture at it best. Following the theme established at High Line Park in New York City, Berlin decided to transform an old rail yard into a modern urban green space. This place was once a toxic blight in the center of Berlin, but now, with a little imagination and a lot of money, it’s been transformed into an garden oasis. 

Skateboarding: Gleisdreieck

However, unlike High Line Park, which pays tribute to its transportation history by incorporating rail elements in its design, the Park Am Gleisdreieck has, for the most part, looked away from its past. Instead, the Gleisdreieck park is a public open space with an eye toward the future. The Gleisdreieck park has playgrounds with interactive play structures, habitat preservation areas for native plants, a skateboard park, tennis and basketball courts, bicycle lanes, spacious meadows for informal gatherings, a water play area for children, garden plots to grow flowers and/or vegetables, cafes, and venues for cultural events.


Gleisdreieck: Forest Play Land

The Gleisdreieck park does have a few reminders of its former self: some corroding rails, an old brick warehouse used as a visitor center, and a tower that will become a cafe/restaurant. The park isn’t so much a tourist attraction like High Line Park; but instead, it’s a place that meets the needs of the local residents.


Gleisdreieck Public Gardens:
Growing Corn

The Park Am Gleisdreieck is near the Yorckstr. S/U-Bahn and is located between the neighborhoods of Schöneberg and Kreuzberg. Construction on phase two of the park has begun and when its completed in 2013, the Park Am Gleisdreick will double in size. In the meantime, I’m going to simply enjoy this peaceful place. 

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Friedrichshain
Neighborhood Playground/Park

Berlin is broke. It has no money. But looking around this city, I find little evidence that “Berlin ist pleite.” There’s new public infrastructure everywhere. Across the street from my apartment is a new park and playground, the city is re-building the Berlin Stadtschloss (Berlin City Palace) at a cost of over $800 million, and phase one of the Park Am Gleisdreieck has just opened.


Park Am Gleisdreieck

The Park Am Gleisdreieck is landscape architecture at it best. Following the theme established at High Line Park in New York City, Berlin decided to transform an old rail yard into a modern urban green space. This place was once a toxic blight in the center of Berlin, but now, with a little imagination and a lot of money, it’s been transformed into an garden oasis. 

Skateboarding: Gleisdreieck

However, unlike High Line Park, which pays tribute to its transportation history by incorporating rail elements in its design, the Park Am Gleisdreieck has, for the most part, looked away from its past. Instead, the Gleisdreieck park is a public open space with an eye toward the future. The Gleisdreieck park has playgrounds with interactive play structures, habitat preservation areas for native plants, a skateboard park, tennis and basketball courts, bicycle lanes, spacious meadows for informal gatherings, a water play area for children, garden plots to grow flowers and/or vegetables, cafes, and venues for cultural events.


Gleisdreieck: Forest Play Land

The Gleisdreieck park does have a few reminders of its former self: some corroding rails, an old brick warehouse used as a visitor center, and a tower that will become a cafe/restaurant. The park isn’t so much a tourist attraction like High Line Park; but instead, it’s a place that meets the needs of the local residents.


Gleisdreieck Public Gardens:
Growing Corn

The Park Am Gleisdreieck is near the Yorckstr. S/U-Bahn and is located between the neighborhoods of Schöneberg and Kreuzberg. Construction on phase two of the park has begun and when its completed in 2013, the Park Am Gleisdreick will double in size. In the meantime, I’m going to simply enjoy this peaceful place. 

Eel and Forceps

Yes, it’s true. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. According to the story, a Chinese man was bathing with lives eels, hoping that the eels would eat the layers of dead skin, making his skin more youthful-looking. This type of treatment is similar to those pedicure procedures that were all the rage a few years ago, in which fish eat away the dead skin off people’s feet.

The Chinese man was bathing (apparently naked) with the eels when he felt a sharp pain. He quickly realized that a 6-inch eel had entered this penis and was wriggling up through his urethra. He tried to pull the eel out but its tiny body was too slippery to hold, and it disappeared up his penis and into his bladder. Luckily, the eel was removed and the man suffered no permanent damage. According to parasitology studies conducted at Kansas State University, there are bacteria, viruses, and even some types of parasitic catfish that have been known to invade the human urethra, often while humans are urinating into a body of water.

So next time you think of urinating into a body of water, think again.

Eel and Forceps

Yes, it’s true. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. According to the story, a Chinese man was bathing with lives eels, hoping that the eels would eat the layers of dead skin, making his skin more youthful-looking. This type of treatment is similar to those pedicure procedures that were all the rage a few years ago, in which fish eat away the dead skin off people’s feet.

The Chinese man was bathing (apparently naked) with the eels when he felt a sharp pain. He quickly realized that a 6-inch eel had entered this penis and was wriggling up through his urethra. He tried to pull the eel out but its tiny body was too slippery to hold, and it disappeared up his penis and into his bladder. Luckily, the eel was removed and the man suffered no permanent damage. According to parasitology studies conducted at Kansas State University, there are bacteria, viruses, and even some types of parasitic catfish that have been known to invade the human urethra, often while humans are urinating into a body of water.

So next time you think of urinating into a body of water, think again.

This weekend the weather in Berlin was perfect: sunny, warm, and clear. I took advantage of the unusually warm weather by cycling to the Britzer Garten. The Britzer Garten is about 9 kilometers (5.5 miles) from my house and makes for a good workout. The Britzer isn’t just a garden, but a large park (90 hectares or 222 acres) with a lake, small railway, cafes, restaurants, art works, and animals.


In the spring there’s a famous tulip festival, and in the summer and fall, there are rhododendron and dahlia festivals. And throughout the year, there are other activities, including a pumpkin festival, music concerts, horticultural classes, and an Oktoberfest.

After my visit today, I think I’ve seen just about every kind of dahlia. I was awash in a sea of dahlia’s. Personally, I’ve always had trouble growing dahlias. But after seeing these glorious flowers, I’m determined to give them another chance. Perhaps, the Maine climate will be more agreeable than the climate of California. 

This weekend the weather in Berlin was perfect: sunny, warm, and clear. I took advantage of the unusually warm weather by cycling to the Britzer Garten. The Britzer Garten is about 9 kilometers (5.5 miles) from my house and makes for a good workout. The Britzer isn’t just a garden, but a large park (90 hectares or 222 acres) with a lake, small railway, cafes, restaurants, art works, and animals.


In the spring there’s a famous tulip festival, and in the summer and fall, there are rhododendron and dahlia festivals. And throughout the year, there are other activities, including a pumpkin festival, music concerts, horticultural classes, and an Oktoberfest.

After my visit today, I think I’ve seen just about every kind of dahlia. I was awash in a sea of dahlia’s. Personally, I’ve always had trouble growing dahlias. But after seeing these glorious flowers, I’m determined to give them another chance. Perhaps, the Maine climate will be more agreeable than the climate of California. 




Each year Berlin subway commuters are treated to a film festival. From September 22 – October 4, 2011, ultra short films (usually less than 90 seconds in length) are shown on subway car monitors. This year, the films are being viewed in both Berlin and Seoul. Each day a new film is shown and commuters can vote for the film they like the best.


I rarely use the subway these days since I rely on my bicycle to get around. Luckily, I can view the films online and cast my vote. This year I had a lot of favorites, including Egg Rolls (Korea), Lucky (Great Britain), Low Consumption Hero (Iran), Daydreams (Great Britain) and Missing (Germany). There are 26 films in the festival so there is something for everyone.  

Da Vinci’s Lady With An Ermine

At the moment, the hottest ticket in Berlin is for “Gesichter Der Renaissance” (Renaissance Faces), an exhibition now at the Bode Museum. The exhibition traces the evolution of Renaissance portraiture, and includes the works of Italian artists Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Giovanni Bellini, and Pisanello. There are paintings, busts, medals, and drawings depicting the development of portraiture as an independent genre. Although I’m not a fan of Italian Renaissance art, I do appreciate its beauty and technical skill. The exhibition is breaking all attendance records, and tickets are sold out within hours after the ticket office opens each day.

The Bode Museum located on Museum Island
Yesterday, I decided to see what all the excitement was about. After waiting 1.5 hours to purchase my ticket and then another 45 minutes to enter the exhibition, I wasn’t disappointed. Often these mega-exhibitions turn out to be all hype and no substance. Moreover, I feared the exhibition would be so crowded that I would be unable to appreciate the individual installations. I needn’t have worried. Only 300 people are allowed into the exhibit at one time, and the curators have made sure that there is plenty of room to display each individual work.

Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci
by Botticelli.
Simonetta died at the
age of 23 of tuberculosis,
a year after this was painted
The exhibition also uses the latest technology to enrich the experience. For example, the price of admission includes an audio guide but not just any audio guide. The audio guide is a Smart Phone that provides commentary about individual works and also has video commentary and musical accompaniment. You can see what the inside of a 15th century bust looks like, how works of art are arranged in an exhibition to maximize their appeal, and how imagining helps art historians discover more about an artist and his style of art. There is even a commentary just for children. I also learned how oils replaced egg tempera as the artist’s medium of choice.

Portrait of Giovanni di Francesco Tornabuoni
by Ghirlandaio
The exhibition travels to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art later this year (December 19th). However, some of the pieces can only be seen in Berlin since some of the lenders do not want their pieces to make the costly and dangerous transatlantic flight. 

Da Vinci’s Lady With An Ermine

At the moment, the hottest ticket in Berlin is for “Gesichter Der Renaissance” (Renaissance Faces), an exhibition now at the Bode Museum. The exhibition traces the evolution of Renaissance portraiture, and includes the works of Italian artists Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Giovanni Bellini, and Pisanello. There are paintings, busts, medals, and drawings depicting the development of portraiture as an independent genre. Although I’m not a fan of Italian Renaissance art, I do appreciate its beauty and technical skill. The exhibition is breaking all attendance records, and tickets are sold out within hours after the ticket office opens each day.

The Bode Museum located on Museum Island
Yesterday, I decided to see what all the excitement was about. After waiting 1.5 hours to purchase my ticket and then another 45 minutes to enter the exhibition, I wasn’t disappointed. Often these mega-exhibitions turn out to be all hype and no substance. Moreover, I feared the exhibition would be so crowded that I would be unable to appreciate the individual installations. I needn’t have worried. Only 300 people are allowed into the exhibit at one time, and the curators have made sure that there is plenty of room to display each individual work.

Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci
by Botticelli.
Simonetta died at the
age of 23 of tuberculosis,
a year after this was painted
The exhibition also uses the latest technology to enrich the experience. For example, the price of admission includes an audio guide but not just any audio guide. The audio guide is a Smart Phone that provides commentary about individual works and also has video commentary and musical accompaniment. You can see what the inside of a 15th century bust looks like, how works of art are arranged in an exhibition to maximize their appeal, and how imagining helps art historians discover more about an artist and his style of art. There is even a commentary just for children. I also learned how oils replaced egg tempera as the artist’s medium of choice.

Portrait of Giovanni di Francesco Tornabuoni
by Ghirlandaio
The exhibition travels to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art later this year (December 19th). However, some of the pieces can only be seen in Berlin since some of the lenders do not want their pieces to make the costly and dangerous transatlantic flight. 

There’s more to a person than meets the eye. A few weeks ago, I was browsing through Netflix and saw the filmed staging of Charles Nelson Reilly’s one-man play, The Life of Reilly. I picked the movie not expecting much. This is probably the best one “man show” I have ever seen. It was funny, touching, and at times sad.

I remember Charles Nelson Reilly from his appearances on TV game shows (i.e. Match Game) and the TV sitcom, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. I never found him particularly entertaining or interesting. Boy, was I wrong about him. He turns out to have a quirky sense of humor, a compelling persona, and above all, intelligent wit.  This is what entertainment is all about. What a wonderful man he was. I recommend this DVD!