Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Los Angeles + Berlin = Sister Cities

Sister Cities of Los Angeles sign and City Hall. (Photo credit: azza-bazoo)
If you look closely around Los Angeles, you'll spot connections you otherwise might have missed. One of those -- and there are many in this town -- happens to be an L.A. tie to Germany's capital, Berlin.

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, CC and I are making the voyage across the Atlantic to check out the 2012 Berlinale, and I wanted to share a few things about our own city that have bonded us to that Teutonic metropolis.

On June 27, 1967, Berlin became L.A.'s sixth sister city, and the mission, according to the Los Angeles-Berlin Sister City Committee, "was to advance the relationship in every way possible between the two prominent cities: culturally, intellectually, commercially and socially."

So I wanted to show you a few L.A.-Berlin spots around the city. It's by no means comprehensive, so if you have others, please let me know!

And, fun fact. Did you know that there's a Los-Angeles-Platz park in Berlin?

CC sidles up to a segment of the Berlin Wall on Wilshire Boulevard. (2009)
In addition to the above Sister Cities sign, located downtown's Main Street very close to City Hall, there's a more striking nod to Berlin on the Miracle Mile. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, The Wende Museum in Culver City partnered with the City of L.A. to erect this wall in 2009. CC and I went for a visit a few weeks after it was placed outside 5900 Wilshire Blvd. The two white sections that you see above have been painted over with images of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

"Stasi Briefcase, n.d." (Photo credit: Marie Astrid González/The Wende Museum)
And speaking of The Wende Museum, which is tucked into a small office park off Slauson Avenue, be sure to check out its collection of Cold War artifacts, which includes artifacts such as this Stasi briefcase, which was used to listen in on private conversations in the former East Germany. Admission is free.

Berlin Forest in Griffith Park (Photo credit: Al Pavangkanan)
Take the Mt. Hollywood Trail in Griffith Park to find the Berlin Forest. With pine trees planted by Berliners and visiting German dignitaries, the Berlin Forest was dedicated in 1990 and offers great views of L.A.

If you're still in a Berlin kind of mood, here are some other places of interest:

* The Goethe-Institut Los Angeles (down the street from the Wall segment at 5750 Wilshire Blvd.)
* Berlin Currywurst (all sorts of wursts from native Germans in Silver Lake)
* Orange Berlin (a hair salon on Beverly Boulevard)
* And, of course, the '80s New Wave/pop group Berlin (of "Take My Breath Away" fame) was formed right here in L.A.


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