Located on the corner of Grünberger Straβe and Gabriel-Max Straße, this bazaar was bustling with all kinds of people looking to score a good deal on whatever caught their eye. Both guys and gals rocking phat dreadlocks were out in droves, sliding from table to table in search of some choice vintage threads, a new pipe, or out of print vinyl records. Half of the experience is just walking around and observing all the people from different walks of life getting along with each other in perfect harmony. There was a punk rock mom with her lip pierced, lovingly pushing her stroller as her husband took their dog into the open field in the middle of the plaza to play fetch. Old women rummaged through a young girl’s shopping cart full of dresses, fabrics, and other random items. You could easily pass five hours at this market just shopping and people watching as the sun illuminates the whole chaotic scene.
Here’s a very short list of the different things I saw for sale: CD’s, shoes, clothes, books, t-shirts and sweatshirts, posters, smoking paraphernalia, dolls, jewelry, hats, toys, glassware, lamps, carpets. . . the list could go on and on. Some tables are neatly set up, clearly displaying everything for sale, while others were just cardboard boxes full of all kinds of crap. Chances are you’ll find whatever you’re looking for, but you might have to dig. But hey, that’s the best part!
What did I find for myself? Well, first I bought a hand-made wool hat and headband for my girl for only 10 Euro from a guy whose grandmother knits all the hats herself in Italy, then sends the finished product to her grandson here in Berlin to sell. I scooped up a rare live Bjork CD recorded at the Royal Opera House for 13 Euro, and supported the anti-war cause of a guy representing the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation by purchasing one of the fly t-shirts he was hawking for 10 Euro. I also met two friendly guys named Tony and Christoph who had started their own shirt printing and design business, and were selling their shirts for 15 Euro. I picked one emblazoned with a Space Invaders design for my roommate’s birthday present.
The Boxhagener Platz shopping market may not carry the glitz of a Berlin shopping mall, but since nothing’s open on Sunday anyway, there’s no excuse not to check it out. Besides, how cool are you going to be when you’re gushing to your friends back home about this little known cultural affair?
by Mr. Wonka
Brooklyn, New York
March 10, 2003
From journal Wait a minute, was I really in Berlin?