I do not live in the hippest Borough of Berlin. Granted, Wedding is far more fun than say, Cheektowaga, New York, but still. When I tell Berliners where I live, people usually respond with a mixture of sympathy and condescension. On rare occasions, someone will say “Hey! At least you’ve got Stattbad!” Which is awesome and generous, especially when talking to people who live in F’hain or Kreuzberg. I’ve taken to telling people I live in Prenzlauerberg, which is technically almost true if you have a pass for the tram and a poor understanding of maps.
There is a partly serious, partly hopeful, entirely clichéd expression that Wedding is on the verge of becoming fabulous. Or, auf Deutsch, “Wedding kommt.” I don’t know much about real estate or how things become fabulous, but I’ve heard it has something to do with low rent prices causing artists and students to flock to a certain area, and then they bring the coolness with them, and then other people come for the art, nightlife, and bohemian vibe, and they bring the money. Or, to use an SAT word, let’s call it gentrification.
In the midst of rising rent prices and BLU painting over his murals, “gentrification” is not the most popular concept in Berlin at the moment. People hate it, actually. There are violent protests and a massive campaign against it. It’s a bit awkward for me—a white, female, artsy expat. I am basically a walking symptom of gentrification, and it’s hard not to feel guilty for being here when people are being forced out of their homes due to skyrocketing rent. But at the same time, I’m broke. And the low rent prices are what brought me to Wedding.
BLU, Taosuz, SOBR, and El Bocho do not hang out in Wedding. At least, not that I’ve seen (and I’m looking). Di Baffi’s Italian restaurant is closing in a week. Gesundbrunnen center is busier than ever, and we have possibly the largest concentration of kebap shops, casinos, and Kauflands per block in Western Europe. Knowing all of this, it’s hard to believe that Wedding is just on the verge of a hipster explosion. And honestly, I’m okay with that.
Finding current statistics about Wedding proved to be a bit of a challenge, and makes me want to go out and research it myself. But here are a few of the articles I did find useful and interesting: