Mauerpark Flea Market – In A Berlin Minute (Week 17)

Supposedly there are forty flea markets in Berlin every week – one of the biggest is the Sunday market at Mauerpark (Wall Park), which is a lively park located in an area that once was part of the death strip and the Berlin wall.

The Flohmarkt features not only second hand clothes, records, shoes, cameras, bikes (Scott finally got one), toys, furniture, etc. but also a great selection of crafty designer clothes and other funky items (I’m an instant fan of the Henri Banks collection), a lot of photographs and other art. Thrown into the eclectic mix are food stalls, musicians and people of all walks of life and various states of recovering from Saturday night.

And if you’ve had enough of the flea market, there is always the rest of the park, which on Sundays features a big and extremely popular outdoor karaoke, people juggling fire, traveling “hippie bands”, swings with view and lots and lots of people watching.

On that subject, something that struck me again on this recording venture: people in Berlin seem to really hate being photographed or filmed. I spare you all the grumpy faces I caught on camera (although that might make a fun video some day). I find it fascinating how worked up people here get over being in a stranger’s picture. New York is full of tourists and other photographers – but I’ve never heard anyone complain about someone pointing a camera in their direction. We’ve always just had a laugh.

Could it be because in Germany privacy and a sense of anonymity is so important (the reason why German citizens and politicians are currently freaking out about Google releasing Street View in Germany, why Facebook probably took so long to catch on and why foursquare sounds ridiculous to most Germans)? And by contrast the American takes pleasure in being the center of attention, getting 15 minutes of fame – even if it’s just in the photo of a tourist? Or do most people just not care about being seen and captured in a photo while being in public? How do people in other cultures react to being photographed, I wonder?

MIN_Week 17_Mauerpark-flea-market

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