Nowhere in Berlin is quite as pathetic as Alexanderplatz. Situated, in all its dreary greyness, slap bang in the middle of Mitte, Alex is the epitome of sadness. Not sad as in moving, but sad like your try-hard uncle’s desperate attempts to be “down with the kids”.
The actual platz is, in essence, an expanse of dirty concrete, a vapid rubbish-strewn wasteland cradled between Galerie Kaufhof, and capitalism’s true hero, Primark. Its centrepiece (a fountain containing more literal trash than it does water) is inexplicably off-kilter, and harmoniously balanced by the recent addition of a modern glass booth police station on the other side of the square. Every now and then a holiday-themed market pops up, and for three-odd weeks it becomes ever so slightly more acceptable as an “attraction”, but even that doesn’t excuse the intolerable littering of tourists and shoppers alike.
We wish we could say it’s so-bad-it’s-good, but honestly, it really isn’t. It’s devoid of culture, decent eateries and anywhere nice to sit. Frankly, the fact that it’s just a stone’s throw away from the quaint part of Mitte (and the best Kaufland in Berlin), is probably Alex’s only redeeming feature.
Under the shadow of the relatively useless, taxpayer-funded Fernsehturm, photographer Maansi Jain dodged trams, Ordnungsamt trucks, and gingham clad bachelor parties in search of the square’s surprising style heroes. Read on to find out what on earth this vibrant cross-section of folks are doing loitering around Alex.
Thomas, jewellery designer:
“I’m walking around and having a look at what’s on and I would like to eat something.”
Furtuna, full time mother
“I came to Alexanderplatz to meet a friend and to enjoy the good weather and to drink a coffee.”
Abigail (left), salesperson, and Trycia (right), Personal Assistant
“We are playing tourist from France. I like the environment at Alexanderplatz.”
“This is the first time I’ve been to Alexanderplatz. It’s cool. It’s nice.”
Janet, voice over artist
“I was just at Topshop browsing! The sun is shining and so I’m shopping!”
“I’m looking around, walking with my family.”
Ameerah, college student studying Public Health
“I’m shopping for clothes with my school. We’re here for a few days from Nigeria.”
Andre, pretended to be a doctor
“I’m looking for new stores and I want to dance.”
“I’m just shopping!”
“I’m visiting for three days from the UK and right now I’m trying to find my hotel.”
“I’m taking a break from my job cooking at a restaurant. I don’t come to Alexanderplatz often, but I like it.”