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Szalay, Tamás

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Jelenkor - Hungary | 10/07/2013

Berlin has lost its 1990s charm

Berlin's immense charms of the 1990s have faded away because the city's creative energy, which bubbled up from below, has been quelled by creeping gentrification and embourgeoisement, the essayist Tamás Szalay comments ruefully in the literary magazine Jelenkor: "The gentrification is painful because it stands for the loss of a Berlin that emerged spontaneously after reunification. Just think of the run-down working class area of East Berlin which, after the fall of the Wall, was taken over by the art scene. After reunification Berlin grew into a pulsing urban laboratory thanks to the unique constellation of history and urban planning. In the 1990s it was not only possible to rent flats for a pittance, but you could also go to alternative theatre and cinema showings, galleries and bars in cellars, attics and back courtyards. ... That's gone forever now."

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