And this is where I thank God that Ich bin ein Hamburger

This is why I love Gawker.

The #1 reason I was hesitant to come to Germany was that I feared I’d be surrounded by the kind of insufferable NYU hipsters who constantly proclaimed their love for Berlin and all seemed to be moving there (or at least talking about moving there) after college. Thankfully, as a resident of Germany’s second-largest but perhaps most-overlooked city, hipster expats are few and far between and I never have to hear about how New York is so over.

Berlin is great — I really loved it when I visited, and I would live there in a second if someone gave me the chance. I’ll be going back there in two weeks. So I have no ill will towards Berlin. But goddamn I hate the Berlin fetish that seems to have afflicted so many young, already irritating New Yorkers.


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13 comments for “And this is where I thank God that Ich bin ein Hamburger

  1. oljb
    November 10, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    It’s not just New Yorkers, or even just insufferable hipsters. I haven’t hung out or even spoke much with my New Yorker or New York-bound friends since I graduated college several years ago, but I know a ridiculous number of people who are in Berlin, from all sorts of places, not just from the coasts. There’s a serious attraction to that place for some reason. I’m going to visit sometime this winter and I’m curious to see what the big benefit (other than cheap soviet-style housing) is over other places.

  2. Em
    November 10, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Why Berlin? I haven’t been there, but the southwest of the country was very appealing to me. Probably too country-bumpkin for a hipster, though.

  3. Bruce
    November 10, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    Twenty-two years it has been since I was in Berlin as an exchange student. How I would love to go again. I did get a half-day in DDR East Berlin – grim but quite unforgettable. Ah youth….

  4. zuzu
    November 10, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    And here I was just wondering if pipe-smoking was the latest hipster affectation after I saw not one but two young men walking through New York smoking pipes.

  5. Miss Sarajevo
    November 10, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Rufus Wainwright, who has a major Berlin fetish, said, “Places that have experienced great defeat experience a kind of rebirth […]”

    I think that’s part of the Berlin fetish, at least for introspective intellectuals. Other Berlin fetishists see it as a bohemian, open-minded, slightly dark, history-soaked, hopelessly indie kind of utopia. Or maybe that’s just the Berlin fetishists I know.

    There is a small but growing number of Sarajevo fetishists, and they are like the Berlin crowd, only generally quite a bit darker, and usually more adventurous –in my experience anyway. They usually come during the summer, when the Sarajevo Film Festival is on.

  6. November 11, 2007 at 12:33 am

    I hated Berlin the only time I was there. Everyone must have thought I was a Turk or some other dubious “ethnic”because I spoke German with them, and they treated me like dirt. Salespeople refused to wait on me, followed me around because they thought I’d steal something; a museum guard shouted at me and tried to snatch my purse away when I entered the synagogue museum. Unbelievable!
    I never had problems like that when I lived in Freiburg in Southwestern Germany or in Switzerland.
    I told some of my less “ethnic” looking friends about this (I’m quite white but am dark haired and have a tan from living in Hawaii) and they didn’t believe me, so I was delighted to get comfirmation from some (also German speaking) East Indian friends who were similarly ill treated in Berlin and who, like me, had been treated with nothing but courtesty and kindness elsewhere in the German speaking world.
    We decided it was the Ossis. (former East Germans) who were the worst.
    It may be better now. This was a few years ago.

  7. November 11, 2007 at 12:34 am

    Courtesy, of course. Testy, sometimes, yes, but courteous!

  8. Entomologista
    November 11, 2007 at 12:44 am

    Weird. I didn’t find Berlin particularly compelling when I was there. It’s nice, but too modern and expensive as far as European cities go.

  9. spiritrover
    November 11, 2007 at 2:57 am

    Hey, it was in the memo we all got. “First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.”

  10. Indy
    November 11, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    well, when you get sick of hearing about how NY and various cities in europe are “over”, just move to Tennessee. Dare ya.

  11. ElleBeMe
    November 11, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    I was in Berlin in 1997. The East was in rubbleruins from recostruction. The wall was gone and Former west Berlin was in a reconstruction mode as well.

    I don’t remember the people all too well. But I do remember the city eminated a histry from the very bricks upon which I walked. There is an air about Berlin – thick with spirit….

    I can only imagine how it is now.

  12. November 12, 2007 at 4:30 am

    I really love Berlin and it kind of irritates me that it’s suddenly become this hipster destination of choice (that’s happened here in Ireland too – I know about five people who’ve moved there in recent years, none of whom had ever shown any great interest in Berlin or anything German before). I studied German at university (in the euro sense – I did nothing but German and History of Art for four years) and back then the same sort of people made tired jokes about Germans having mullets and a very dodgy history. Now they’re all over there!

    I have to say that the despite the four years of Deutsch devotion, Berlin is the only part of Germany I really love. I spent the summerin Berlin in ’95, when I was 19, and fell totally in love with it. It’s changed a LOT since then – back then it was full of ramshackle bars in squats and half the buildings in Mitte had wartime bullet holes splattered all over them. I remember going out to visit the Bauhaus museum and when I emrged from the U-Bahn I was basically surrounded by a building site and a wasteland. These days you get out of that same U-Bahn and you’re at the Sony centre. it’s obviously much more glossy now, but the cool bits are still there – the only way you find them is by walking, walking and more walking. It’s a city to explore by foot.

    And Entomologista, if you think Berlin is expensive, you definitely wouldn’t like Dublin. Seriously, everything in Berlin costs about half as much as it does here. Including rent (actually, that’s more like a third as much).

    Miss Sarajevo, I have friends who – well, I wouldn’t call them fetishists, but they did live in Sarajevo for a while a few years ago in a similar “look how rebellious and daring we are!” spirit.

  13. November 12, 2007 at 9:03 am

    Aye, come and visit. We could use some more outspoken feminists in Berlin. :-)

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