This afternoon I went through an internet wormhole that began at a Slate tirade against flip flops and ended at an article about a chunk of the Berlin Wall that resides in NYC, naturally. I’ve walked by Paley Park, a small midtown POPS (Privately Owned Public Space), many times–enchanted by the urban waterfall but never noticing the mural on the other side. Turns out this slab of concrete is a genuine piece of the Berlin Wall (the nice people at Yelp are not as impressed and give this piece of history three out of five stars).
Of course, the excellent Untapped Cities already knew all about this. They report that this section of the Wall was added to the park in 1990 from its original location on Waldemarstrasse and decorated by German artists Thierry Noir and Kiddy Citny in 1985. Turns out there are three other pieces of the Wall in New York City: one at the entrance of the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, one between Gateway Plaza, the North Cove Marina, and the World Financial Center and another in the gardens at the United Nations Headquarters featuring a mural titled “Trophy of Human Rights.”
Not much of the Wall remains in Berlin itself. Of the nearly 100 miles that once surrounded West Berlin, only 240 yards still stand. So, where did other parts of the Berlin Wall end up? Some small pieces found their way into people’s pockets–hawked to tourists or kept as souvenirs by the very people who helped tear it down. But pieces have found their way all over the world.
To mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall in 2009, the BBC crowdsourced photos from around the world where pieces of the Wall now reside. Fragments are in some far flung places–some displayed with more symbolic purpose than others, form The Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando to a Cape Town street.
Put a bird on it, 19th century style. How the craze for big hats and feathers sparked the bird conservation movement. Check it out on Lapham’s Quarterly.