PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas September 2023

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Page 159 of 179

Berlin Beckoned And Billy Fong succumbed. " W hy Berlin?" That's the question I heard again and again when I told people about my chosen destination for a long weekend. In all honesty, it was mostly to keep my American Airlines status, because a domestic flight just wouldn't cut it. Europe was a smart choice, but having been to the UK many times, I looked elsewhere. Paris and Amsterdam seemed like places everyone has visited; Rome didn't feel right for a solo trip, and Italy is so romantic that I'd need a lover in tow. I finally settled on Stockholm, Prague, or Berlin. A quick Google search and calls to friends familiar with all three cities confirmed that I would feel like a provincial American if I couldn't speak the native tongue in the first two. But I heard over and over that in Berlin, English is prevalent, and it taps into my teenage self — someone who strove to be edgy and affected never-ending angst. Berlin has always seemed like a rebel's paradise to me, all punk rock and avant- garde fashion. Think of the opening scene of Tony Scott's '80s film The Hunger: Über- chic Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie walk into a dark, smoke-filled bar with a chain-link-fence motif, while Peter Murphy contorts himself singing his seminal "Bela Lugosi's Dead." I imagined entering many such places in Berlin. So, I booked a ticket. My research uncovered some interesting facts. Berlin is the largest of the European Union cities, with a population of 3.7 million within the city limits. Despite the discovery of oak timbers that likely date back to 1183, Germany's capital city was officially founded in 1237. As we should all remember from ninth-grade history, the infamous wall separating East and West Berlin came down in 1989, heralding a modern era that continues to evolve. The architecture is a wonderful mishmash of Old World classic pre-war buildings, brutalist '70s style, and a smattering of modern skyscrapers. For help in navigating the city, I sought out first-hand accounts from former residents and a few people who still live in Berlin or the environs. One is a childhood friend, fashion designer Daniel Wingate (or Danny, as I knew him way back when in Tallahassee). He launched a namesake line and is headquartered in Munich. Daniel shared with me a wonderful description of Berlin via an infamous quote from Klaus Wowereit, the city's openly gay mayor from 2001 to 2014: "Berlin ist arm, aber sexy." Translated: "Berlin is poor, but sexy." All this made my upcoming trip all the more intriguing. Emails from Daniel and others repeatedly mentioned a nightclub called Berghain. Lots of Dallas friends had either read about it or knew someone who had been there for a night of licentious revelry. (Said revelry actually begins at midnight Friday and doesn't stop until late Monday morning.) One friend described it as a place where you must show up and act like you don't want to be there. Sounds terribly complicated — but on the other hand, the wardrobe options are endless. If you're considering a trip to Berlin, keep in mind a few things. The ideal time to visit is now while the weather is gorgeous, with temperatures ranging from the high 50s to the mid 70s. A light jacket (might I suggest one from German- Das Stue hotel Bunny Rogers at the Boros Collection Das Stue hotel STEVE HERUD BOROS COLLECTION, BERLIN © NOSHE STEVE HERUD

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