... it felt like a place that existed in a parallel universe, and given its complete transformation over the last two decades into the apogee of cool, looking back at those years is like trying to remember a dream. It wasn't in the least bit cool: You were about as likely to spot a tourist on Kastanienallee as a unicorn, and when you needed to wash your hair you went to a disused public swimming pool on Oderbergerstrasse and paid one Deutschmark to use the showers.
So it was with a mixture of nostalgia and disbelief that I flicked through the pages of "Berlin Wonderland: Wild Years Revisited, 1990-1996," a collection of photos recently published by Gestalten. As it says on its website, "It seems practically impossible that these photos were taken only 20 years ago."
Was it really so desolate? Did we really put up with stairwell toilets and coal ovens? And was it really as much fun as it looks? Yes, yes and yes. It took a lot of imagination to enjoy Berlin back then. But enjoy it we did.Because it was nearly empty, with normal people having fled west. Where there were jobs, and merchandise in the stores. You know; what capitalism produces.