Potsdamer Platz




Four billion dollars and five years were sunk into the building of this supposed future-scape just so that one of its main squares—Marlene-Dietrich-Platz, mind you—could host a McDonald’s, a Starbucks, a sad-looking casino, and Mamma Mia!, the musical. Arriving at the glassed-in Hauptbahnhof, the central train station and one of the largest in Europe, is like pulling into a mall/office complex from the farthest reaches of suburbia. The task of reassembling a city whose history still has the capacity to make you gasp has led many of the world’s best architects to perform open-heart surgery on Berlin’s center, but along with generous helpings of glass and steel, they have injected a surfeit of anesthesia.