Assistant Director for Student Life Linn Friedrichs and Student Life Administrator Anne Strauß are here to support and encourage you to find, explore and achieve your personal and academic goals for your time abroad. Whether you have questions about the city, need to discuss your courses, or just want to have a chat with someone, Linn and Anne are your go-to resources!
John: It’s a warm Saturday in September. Where are you and what are you doing?
Linn: Victoriapark, on top of the Kreuzberg with a HUGE lactose-free café latte overlooking the city in golden Indian summer light, slightly amused by inner-family dynamics, acrobats and Berlin’s self-proclaimed Next Big Thing in Hip-Hop.
J: Student Life at NYU Berlin is often said to be extremely approachable by alumni of the program. Can you think of a time where this was particularly true? I, for example, was once asked where to buy live roaches for an art project. And in the end, we even located the right kind of live roaches.
L: Live roaches, advice that comes from experience, love for the job and the people, the fact that we never hesitate to participate in our students’ artworks. Too be honest, I think it is just the cookies on the table in our office that draws everyone in.
J: I hear you spent a while in New York and fell in love with the High Line. Tell me about this academic love affair.
L: In 2009, when the first section of the High Line opened, this project epitomized what I understood as the politics and poetics of urban space in the 21st century, that is to say imaginative beauty and historic preservation, community revitalization and the urban power struggle. I was fascinated by the fact that in a city like New York this space had simply been forgotten for years. People wouldn’t see it, therefore not want to own in, transform it, and sell it. The High Line park offers very unusual perspectives on the city that surrounds it.
L (cont): Every time I come back, it is the place I visit to re-acquaint myself with the beautiful urban monster that is New York. So I guess you could call it an academic and a very personal love affair.
J: Having spent time in both New York and Berlin, what has attracted you to both cities? Is there something that connects them in your mind?
L: The unforgiving, yet engaging vibrancy, its people, and the art and music scene. Both cities make me feel foreign and at home at the same time.
J: Do you have any favorite graffiti in Berlin. I’m quite a fan of the Spaceman near Kottbusser Tor that you can see when riding the U1 subway. I love how you can see the paint must have run a bit when they painted him.
L: I like what “Blu” did on the lot facing the former Senatsreservenspeicher building on Cuvrystraße: Two white figures representing East and West – one upside-down and brandishing an E-shape with his fingers, and the other a W –, trying to tear each other’s masks off in the process of reunification. Berlin has graffiti on every corner – Berliners disagree whether a piece is art, a form of protest, a trademark, or just an indicator of how gentrified an area has become. I also really like MTO’s Jack Nicholson on Heinrichplatz.
J: Berlin is host to all kinds of international food, but I must ask: Schwarma, Falafel, or Döner with scharfe Soße, Krauter-, oder Knoblauchsoße?
L: There is nothing better than Döner with scharfer Soße when you come home late at night. Definitely. During the day I prefer the mixed platter of Mediterranean appetizers (Knofiteller) at this cute little café on Bergmannstraße: Knofi! Great for people watching, too.