Photo of “George Smiley” shot from the hip while travelling on an escalator at U-Bhf “Rotes Rathaus”, which – with 10 minutes to spare – I decided to explore a bit. The gentleman, who looked like a time-traveller among groups of Funktionswäsche1-clad tourists from Nordrhein-Westfalen or Baden-Württemberg and confused-looking guests from the Far East, headed briskly for the exit, with myself trailing him in the hope of catching him “on film”. Stood on the escalator behind the man, I discreetly pointed my smartphone up and hoped for the best – this was a “blind” picture. The stars aligned:-)

(Berlin, the plaza before Rotes Rathaus – Berlin City Hall – facing Alexanderplatz, with Fernsehturm on the left)

  1. Funktionswäsche: lit. activity underwear; in Germany it often stands for very a very practical, no-frills attitude to life, which might be considered a tad boring and a bit too streamlined for perfection by others. ↩︎


Heinrich Zille’s photo of Berlin’s working-class children playing in the streets, taken between 1900 and 1910.

It is only one of many wonderful Zille images decorating the walls of the U-Bahnhof “Fehrbelliner Platz” on U3 Line, opened in 1913.

The other part of that station, for the extended U7 Line, was not built until the 1960s. Hence its futuristic aesthetics, especially of the overground section with its red hue and organic, rounded edges. The building is sometimes referred to in Berlin as “Bohrinsel”, ” Drilling Rig”.