I was feeling pretty good about Munich's hipness quotient earlier last month. A friend was visiting and we spent a week touring the Viktualienmarkt, hanging around Gärtnerplatz and generally enjoying the sights and sounds of Spring bursting into life in München. We even saw Schweini at BOX, though this was lost on my friend, a fellow American ('It's kinda like seeing David Beckham' I explained)
"Munich's a lot hipper than I remember" commented said friend as we were walking around one day. This had a lot of weight coming from her, she's a long time inhabitant of Manhattan's Lower East Side, and a stylist to boot, so she 's always on top of the hot cool trends. "Right?!?!" I concurred, feeling a swelling sense of pride. Everyone is always going on and on about Berlin, but Munich really has a lot of cool stuff going on, it just doesn't hit you over the head like it does in Berlin. My friend went back to New York, and I quietly enjoyed my new, even deeper sense that, actually, Munich is where it's at, man!
Then I went to Berlin.
I went for a Mädelswochenende, and stayed with a friend who lives in Kreuzberg. It's not like I haven't been to Berlin before, I have, lots of times. But each time I go, I'm reminded anew, that Berlin is BERLIN! full of life, art, grit, people, trendy clothes, animals, babies, foreigners, restaurants, punks, yuppies, edgy neighborhoods, scenesters, bioladens, underground this and that, un-listentable modern music concerts. No, I can't honestly deny that indeed, Berlin is where it's at. And Munich; Munich is lovely but in comparison, it's just plain old Podunk.
But that's okay. I still wouldn't live in Berlin. A friend asked why and I realized that I have always gravitated towards smaller, more liveable second cities. I was born and raised in the middle of the sprawling megalopolis that is Los Angeles. As soon as I was old enough, I ran straight to San Francisco, which I had loved as child and teenager (you can actually walk there!) A stint working in London made me realize how much I appreciate the clean and the green of Munich, the bike paths, the timely public transportation.
I deeply enjoy visiting Berlin. I really do. But I love living in Munich.
So remember, Berlin, in spite of your too-cool-for-school attitude, just like Jesus: