I was in Berlin last week and stayed in the 'kiez' Neukölln and actually did a bit of what my host would call a 'Kiez Urlaub' as I did not spend an awful lot of time in the centre of Berlin but went to local sight seeing spots and cafés. More or less pretending to be a Berlinerin myself, actually.
As a natural consequence of being situated in Neukölln I wanted to get to know the place or at least be more familiar with the neighbourhood than I was before - or than the guidebooks would tell me. I can divide guidebooks in two classes from my Neukölln experiences: The ones which do not even mention the neighbourhood or only care to tell that Neukölln is a rough place. The other books tell of a neighbourhood of a little dubious character but seemingly up-and-coming as a consequence of the rise of housing market costs in many areas of Berlin. I have seen a bit of both the rough and very pleasant sides of Neukölln and as a relatively careful newcomer I felt safe and good everywhere, except one place and can recommend the kiez, especially for all the different kind of people to encounter here.
The kiez in the kiez around Reuter Platz, 'Kreuzkölln' is the new, hip and still affordable hotspot of Berlin, made obvious by all kinds of signs such as cafés and 'creative' cars. It is always interesting to watch something change, much more than just seeing the final actual change. I took this photo in 'Kreuzkölln' which - to me, at least - shows the changes taking place in the neighbourhood. Not every change is to the best per definition but then again, change is inevitable and the only thing we can be sure of and so on. I just hope that the locals will continue to enjoy their kiez while it changes rapidly around them.
Edit, August 14: When I took this photo, I was quite amused by he fact that it says 'Änderungsschneiderei' in the window. I am not sure how to translate this into English or even the correct word in Danish, but it some kind of tailor workshop where I can have my clothes altered to the better. Well, from the look of it, I am not exactly seduced to go in there but at same time, that is the beauty of it.
Edit, August 20: I just found this article from New York Times (Autumn 2009) describing the wow-factor of 'Kreuzkölln':