Tomorrow is the second Sunday of Advent. St. Nicholas’s feast day has come and gone—at least for my classmates from Dutch and German-speaking countries—and decorations are slowly going up on houses in my neighborhood. Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas. People here ask me if I’m going to go home for Christmas. This is a bit difficult for me to answer, because the questioner assumes that I’ll be flying to some location in the United States. The last Christmas I spent with my family was in 2002. For the first time since, I don’t have an apartment someone in the area around Frankfurt. This holiday season, I’ll be in Berlin. I won’t quite be in Berlin on Christmas itself, however. But that is a long story.
Berlin!? Is that home? Well, it is certainly where the bulk of my worldly possessions are. Just look at that beautiful pile of books ;) Anke has been living in the city since March. After stints in Friedrichshain, Mitte, and Prenzlauer-Berg, she’s now living in Kreuzberg. Somewhere in the zip code 10961, to be specific.
My Berlin geography is not yet what it should be. But from what I hear, there are two Kreuzbergs
—one has the zipcode 10961 and the other 10963—and the inhabitants thereof are each fiercely convinced of their respective superiority. Can someone tell me what all this hubabaloo is about?
Correction: Until 1993, Kreuzberg was split into two zip codes, 1000 Berlin 61 (alternatively Kreuzberg 61 or SW 61) and 1000 Berlin 36 (SO 36). SO 36 was smaller, and was bordered on three sides by water—the river Spree and the curving Landwehrkanal—and for a time, the Berlin Wall. In the Google Map below, the water border is visible.
1000 Berlin 61 encompassed the larger part of Kreuzberg. By my reckoning, the middle of this area is somewhere along the canal between the U-Bahn stops Hallesches Tor and Prinzenstraße.
Google Maps tell me that 10961’s center seems to be a little bit south of that, right on Blücherstraße, at a point about equidistant from the Prinzenstraße and Gneisenaustraße U-Bahn stops. That would put Anke’s new apartment in Kreuzberg 61. Looking a little closer at the map, it also puts it around two or three corners away from FontShop.