Mauerpark — by Kathryn Clark ’06

Though Mauerpark (Wall Park) was near the route of my daily commute, I had to consult a map to find it. Once there, it took me a moment to find the park’s namesake, one of the few remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall — squatting on a hill overlooking the park.

I followed a young woman and watched as she claimed one of the swings on the hill. She began to pump her legs, swinging higher and higher. I continued along the graffiti-splattered wall, with its layers of chipping paint, wondering what would happen if I were to scrape it all away. An older man with a camera took pictures; I wondered whether he was a Berliner or a foreigner, like me.

I took a seat on another swing. I was surprised to see there were no markings of any sort to indicate that this area used to be within the Death Strip or that it’s even called Mauerpark. Down below, I could see the bike path and hear the sounds of a flea market behind another chain-link fence. Once a no-man’s land, the park is now an every-man’s land with stunted trees in fall color, a kite in the sky, and an assortment of joggers, bikers, parents pushing baby strollers, and kids playing basketball.