First Class U-Bahns

Recorded remotely from Kreuzberg, Neukölln, Rome and England. New Year’s Eve is effectively cancelled, with limits of 200 people for indoor events and a ban on dancing in clubs. Much like last year, fireworks have been restricted but not banned outright. Sales are highly restricted and around 50 areas have been declared fireworks free, such as main squares and big streets. Jöran would prefer an outright ban as he now has a dog who will be terrified by the noise.

Berlin’s new double-decker buses have gone into service. The top deck is slightly higher, they also have wifi, and USB ports. The BVG has been outfitting older buses with USB as well, noting a reduction in vandalism which according to a BVG spokesman is because “The youth are so busy with their phones, that they hardly get any other ideas.” Unfortunately the new buses are diesel powered, an anachronistic choice the BVG blames on the unavailability of double-storey electric buses.

A recent study published by the World Economic Forum, the Boston Consulting Group and Switzerland’s University of St Gallen suggests the implementation of a “first class” option for Berlin’s public transportation system. According to their models wealthy Berliners currently commuting from low density outlying areas via car would switch to public transportation by €10 bookable seats featuring such luxuries as comfortable seats and reliable internet. We have our doubts.

A property located on Habersaathstraße in Mitte with 100 apartments has been left mostly vacant for years. The owner is Arcadia Estates, a company which has applied to demolish the building, but the city council has resisted, arguing that it should be used as is. This month a group of 30 people without permanent homes squatted the property. Mitte Mayor Stephan von Dassel of the Green party intervened and announced the squatters would be allowed to stay. Celebrations were short lived. City authorities later declared no one could stay there because there were no smoke alarms or fire extinguishers. A donation drive was organized and fire safety equipment was ready to be installed, but that wasn’t accepted. Everyone was evicted, in sub-zero temperatures. The Green party mayor stated that places had been found for them in other shelters.

The SPD’s Fraziska Giffey is Berlin’s new mayor. Giffey is reunified Berlin’s first elected woman mayor, but not the first woman to run the city. Louise Schroeder ran the city from 1947 to 48, though she was appointed rather than elected. And East Berlin also had a woman leader, Ingrid Pankraz, for a few days in 1990. These women have been ignored by most media covering Giffey’s election.

More than half of BER airport’s “travelators” aka moving sidewalks are out of action. ​​Most of the travelators and escalators were installed in 2011 and sat unused for almost a decade. The hardware deteriorated, making them unusable. Now they have to be replaced.

Thank you to everyone who listens. We appreciate the audience and the community. If you would like to help keep this project viable we appreciate financial support. Become a monthly supporter or make a one time donation at https://www.radiospaetkauf.com/donate/

This episode was written produced and recorded by Joel Dullroy, Jöran Mandik, Daniel Stern, Izzy Choksey and Matilde Keizer.

Neukölln true crime story

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On our last episode we interviewed 4 Blocks writer Hanno Hackford about the fictional Arabic gangs depicted in the TV series. The show is based on real stories of gang violence. Here’s one we found in last week’s newspaper showing that fiction isn’t far from fact:

Berliner Zeitung – May 18, 2017

Beaten to death: masked attackers kill a family father. Background: a fight between two Arabic clans over €100,000 euros.

Ali O. left his three-storey house in Britz at At 7.55am. Two masked men hit him with fists and a baseball bat in the head. They struck until he lay motionless on the ground. Many witnesses saw the attack, including a child who stood close by.
The attackers fled into bushes. They must have been spying on the 43-year old, as they knew when he would be leaving the house to take his child to school.
In the neighbourhood rumours are going around about a fight between two criminal members of Arabic Großfamilien – or clans. Police will not confirm the suspicions.
It is speculated that Ali O. had given a loan of €100,000 euro to Family R., who were not prepared to pay the money back. The situation escalated. Possibly the debtors had wanted to give Ali a lesson, but not kill him. Many in Family R. now fear a deadly payback from Family O.
“I fear for my life,” said one person. “This could cause a family slaughter. Such things have happened before.”
The man who borrowed the money often caused problems for his brothers. In the past there were frequent bloody disputes between the clans, often ending in murder.
Ali. O was described as quiet and friendly man who moved to the area after separating from his wife, with whom he has three children. But he wasn’t nice to everyone. In summer, Ali. O had sprayed teargas inside a doctor’s office in Leinestraße after arguing with another patient.

Source: Berliner Zeitung

Cafe Filou Stays – Investor Renews Contract

By Joel Dullroy, Radio Spaetkauf

Kreuzberg bakery Cafe Filou has been spared from eviction after the property’s owner agreed to renew the contract. British investor Charles Skinner told Radio Spaetkauf he had experienced a change of heart following talks with retiring Green party politician Hans-Christian Ströbele.

“In the end we saw reason, Mr. Skinner said. “A lot of mistakes have been made along the way, not just by us but from them, from everybody. I think there’s going to be a good coming together.”

Mr. Skinner said he would now work with Mr. Ströbele to create a fair commercial property contract to give business tenants an automatic renewal. While residential property leases in Berlin are well protected by law, commercial leases remain vulnerable.

“It’s not a financial thing, it’s a moral thing… I would like to design a different kind of contract for commercial properties whereby they get an automatic renewal rather than something that just goes down to zero, and people like me can just say ‘no’,” Mr. Skinner said.

Cafe Filou co-owner Nadja Wagner confirmed that they had received a verbal agreement from Mr. Skinner that the contract would be renewed. While the details are yet to be finalized, Ms. Wagner said she expected the rent to remain unchanged, and the contract to be valid for several years with extension options.

“We’re pleased with the outcome,” Ms. Wanger said. “It is only because of the support of the neighbourhood that we have been able to come so far.”

Mr. Skinner praised the role played by Clare D’Orsay, the operator of Vertikal restaurant, which sits next door to Cafe Filou on Reichenberger Straße, and is also Mr. Skinner’s tenant.

“She was relentless in getting us to keep the Cafe Filou operators,” Mr Skinner said.

Clare D’Orsay spoke on the latest Radio Spaetkauf podcast about the violence and vandalism she had experienced from misguided protesters who had targeted her business due to its proximity to Cafe Filou.

Ms. D’Orsay said she had been spat at, pushed to the ground and had her windows smashed by an organized group for being a foreigner opening a nice looking restaurant in Kreuzberg.

The 32-year old New Yorker moved to Berlin seven years ago and has run other businesses in the neighbourhood. She pointed out that Restaurant Vertikal did not displace any existing business, as the building was recently constructed on an empty corner lot.

Ms. Wagner from Cafe Filou said she hoped the attacks against Vertikal would cease, and that the restaurant would be integrated into the community.

Listen to the full Radio Spaetkauf podcast to hear more:

New Radio Spaetkauf series for RadioEins

Radio Spaetkauf RadioEins Berlin Podcast

Radio Spaetkauf is thrilled to announce the launch of a new podcast series produced together with RadioEins, Berlin’s public broadcaster. Every two weeks we’ll release a short snappy update of local Berlin news headlines. The shows will be released on the RadioEins website and iTunes channels, as well as our own feeds.

The short updates will be fast, entertaining and informative, with a mix of news headlines and our own observations. They are recorded in the RadioEins studio inside Kino Babylon in Mitte, which has great sound quality (and a fantastic green screen backdrop).

In addition, we’ll still be presenting our monthly hour-long live show, recorded at the Comedy Cafe Berlin in Neukölln. The full-length episodes will feature a full cast of hosts and guests with in-depth discussions about local Berlin news.

RadioEins is Berlin’s main public radio station, presenting a mix of current affairs, music, news and entertainment on the FM frequency 95.8, as well as online. RadioEins is part of the RBB (Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg) network.

The partnership with RadioEins comes is perfectly timed. November 2016 marks Radio Spaetkauf’s fifth anniversary. The show is now presented by a cast including Joel Dullroy, Maisie Hitchcock, Daniel Stern and Jöran Mandik.

On this first episode for RadioEins, Joel and Dan talk about how Berlin’s new “red-red-green” coalition between the SPD, Die Grünen and Die Linke plan to change the city. Their coalition talks include closing Unter den Linden to most vehicle traffic, and building several new tram lines across the city. The incoming coalition also plans to end the crackdown on marijuana in Görlitzer Park, and perhaps even introduce legal medical weed apothekes.

This first RadioEins Radio Spaetkauf short features a brand new set of jingles created by Berlin electronic duo Ducks!, made up of Lani Bagley and Craig Schuftan. You’ll be hearing more of their sounds across future episodes.

To hear more local news, and to help us celebrate both our partnership with RadioEins and our 5th anniversary, come along to the next live recording of the hour-long Radio Spaetkauf monthly show on Sunday November 20, 6pm, at the Comedy Cafe Berlin on Weserstraße, Neukölln.

Here’s the first show…