New York vs. Berlin



5 days left in the “More Glory” contest, 217 ideas and one question: who gets to fly to New York or Berlin? Or hey, it’s actually another question – will the lucky one choose New York or Berlin?

So I as a life-time-Berlin-patriot but New Yorker-by-choice am supposed to help you come to a decision? How, if I cannot decide myself between the two of them? Well, let’s try to point out some pros and cons and take a look at the nightlife. We’ll start with my hometown.

Berlin – Du bist so wunderbar!

One word: G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S. You will love it. It’s the not-so-secret-anymore Mecca of creative people, the cheapest and greenest capital in Europe, has a great coffee, restaurant and club culture, lakes within the city, bikers everywhere, big parks… long story short: welcome to paradise! If the sun is shining, Berlin people turn into some crazy love, peace’n'harmony species you’d normally find in the country of smile only. Needless to say, that this city has an amazing history that is still very perceptible. And: it’s the birthplace of damn good music.


picture by lilhelen

So let’s see what a night out in Berlin would look like. I’d personally start at Rosenthaler Platz dining at Transit – or, if you’re more into Italian food, the Spaghetti Western serves delicious pasta. Naaah, let’s actually have pizza at Due Forni – or, if you don’t like to scream at your dates or to cut your own salad, you could also head to A Magica Pizza – quiet place, great pizza, kind of crowded though – don’t forget to call and make a reservation!

Ok, so you had a delicious dinner. Then let’s take a pre-gaming drink at the KingSize bar in Mitte. Or at Trust, if you’re up for a whole bottle (they don’t sell by the glass). Why not throw a glance at the Picknick afterwards? Maybe you’re lucky and the Engtanz Party is on – that is, everybody’s on their feet screaming their lungs off to tearjerkers from the 80′s.

Pheeew – so if you’re in need of a hipster break now, let’s head to X-berg. Maybe jump into the Monarch for a drink. And if it’s 6AM by now, it’s time to head over to the Berghain/Panorama Bar. Yes, you have to go there. No, jetlag doesn’t count as an excuse. Praised as the “best club in the world” by the New York Times, you need a better reason to pass out on that. Finally, if you stumble out there at bright daylight, it’s time for a nice brunch. Go back to Prenzlauer Berg, Oderberger Street, and now you only have to decide where to head into – great places everywhere. If you’re still awake after that and it’s a Sunday, you could head to the Mauerpark, stroll around the market and give the karaoke show a try – fun fun fun place.

Ok, NOW you deserve your good night sleep.

New York – Concrete Jungle where dreams are made of

Oh yes: If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Amazing vibe. This city sweeps you off your feet, fuels you with a ridiculous energy and doesn’t let go of you. Never. My sleep average has sunk from about 8 to 5 hours and I’m still more active than ever. And it’s so incredibly diverse – how can such opposed areas like Chinatown, West Village and Upper East Side exist in one city? Moreover, the people – you’ll meet the most intriguing people here. Everybody has a special story. Besides where else are you going to randomly meet Hollywood stars on the street or Mary J. Blidge in a club? This city has you on your toes! Need a break? Well, stroll through (the northern part of) Central Park, sit down on the gorgeous High Line or walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and stop for a moment, glancing at the water.

Yes, it’s expensive – and yet, it’s worth every penny. You’ll get amazing food, great drinks, great museums, unforgettable shows… to put it in a nutshell: this city didn’t become a legend for nothing.


So how would a night out look like in New York?

Let’s kick it off with a dinner at this amazingly fun, tiny, loud and kitschy Indian place in East Village called Milon. It’s a BYOB, that is “Bring your own bottle” and as the night is going to be expensive enough, it’s a good start. You’ll feel like in the middle of a Bollywood movie (except these were mostly shot in Switzerland as I had to learn recently). Not in the mood? Ok, then let’s head to Café Gitane, great French food and gorgeous people – or maybe the Italian place Epistrophy? One of my favorite bars, cozy, relaxing atmosphere, great food and a bunch of skinny women that ogle the charming Italian owner.

Afterwards, head to the Apotheke – great bar in Chinatown, designed like a pharmacy, including bartenders with white lab coats and delicious cocktails that make your body feel healthy immediately. Make sure not to arrive late though as the place gets packed quickly. After that, stop by the Beauty & Essex – it’s a Speak Easy bar, that is you first have to pass a pawnshop before you get to the bar in the back – but the best thing about it is: the ladies get free champagne in the restroom. Nice!

And now you have to make your choice: is it going to be a fancy club, on the border to snobby, with mainstream music? Then head to Meatpacking – Top of the Standard, Hiro, Avenue… the offer is huge, one club next to the other, just make sure you put on your fancy clothes (and shoes). Or would you rather go for a low-key bar with dancing possibility? Then stay in East Village and head to the Piano’s. Or a bit more underground? Then watch out for the “Black Market” or “Danger” Parties in Brooklyn.

Decisions, decisions…

Sooo…what’s it going to be? I admit this post is kind of purely focused on the nightlife, but the tourist stuff you can find in every city guide anyway uhmm… However you decide, don’t forget – you will have to visit your second choice anyway. These two cities are not to be missed out on!

Have a great weekend everybody – in my case, New York is calling!

Note: Not everything mentioned here might be completely based on facts and neutral. However, you will understand once you get to either of the places.

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  • avatar

    I would vote Berlin! I say that since I grew up in NYC. But It is wonderful and I love it here… Okay I changed my mind come and visit! It will be so much fun! : )

    Saturday February 26th, 2011 12:33 AM
  • avatar

    i really enjoyed reading your thought provoking travel essay nathalie. maybe you chose the wrong career.

    that said, the winner should choose berlin. i used to live in some of the neighborhoods nathalie mentioned and the scene gets rather dull after a few hours. berlin isn’t much better, except that unlike new york, there are places you can be to be completely naked while bored in public.

    Saturday February 26th, 2011 03:00 AM
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    Monday February 28th, 2011 06:34 PM
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    Wow, too bad im so far from wining, i havent been to NY yet , but Panorama is a great place indeed! and Prenzlauer Berg is a great neighboorhood!

    Tuesday March 1st, 2011 11:25 AM
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    don’t be sad martina. what they didn’t tell you is that the prize is a one way airline ticket. then you are stuck there and have to work for jovoto.

    Wednesday March 2nd, 2011 01:24 AM
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    I love you, teigan! :D

    Wednesday March 2nd, 2011 09:43 AM
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    YEAH! And you would LOVE to be stuck with us teigan, come on, you KNOW it!

    Wednesday March 2nd, 2011 03:48 PM
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    hahaha @ teigan

    Wednesday March 2nd, 2011 03:49 PM
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    i already talk to you every day nathalie and that’s the joy in my life. why would i ruin it with city noise and stink? but when jovoto opens a branch office on fantana island, Wanda_Tag and i will apply in person.

    Thursday March 3rd, 2011 05:21 AM
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    If I won I would really be in trouble!! I so much want to see NY and the jovoto crew over there. And yet there’s so many jovotans from Berlin I want to meet!! I’m so glad I’m not going to be the winner ;-) My economy says I can probably head for Berlin this spring. So be it!

    Friday March 4th, 2011 08:00 PM
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    you sound just like some underhanded politician maria. this might be a bad influence on the paradise that is fantana island.

    Friday March 4th, 2011 11:01 PM
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    teigan: Just you and me on Fantana Island with a sixpack of fairtraded Fanta®… Do we need other drugs? ;)

    Saturday March 5th, 2011 12:41 PM
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    jovoto tried to host the BE THE NEXT FANTA GIRL contest, but all the good flavours were already taken. nathalie was assigned honey mustard, and bastian got vennison.

    Saturday March 5th, 2011 01:01 PM
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    lived in both cities, nyc wins hands down. so much more to do. i love berlin, dont get me wrong, but the sheer variety of stuff to do in nyc is overwhelming…not to mention all thats going on in brooklyn nowadays…

    Saturday October 6th, 2012 05:47 AM
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    NYC is a money making machine with people living inside. That’s why no one laughs or smiles on the street. Paris, Berlin, Rome are cities.

    Friday October 12th, 2012 05:57 AM
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