checkpoint charlie berlin 1996

I took the photo above in 1996 in Berlin. The location is Checkpoint Charlie, the most famous of the guardhouses that monitored crossings between East and West Berlin. The sign in the foreground was a warning that stood in front of the checkpoint. In 1996, Checkpoint Charlie was slated for demolition so that the site could be redeveloped. Artist John Powers obtained permission to place a large, gold-painted replica of the Statue of Liberty on top of the checkpoint and leave it there for a few months before it would be scraped. He named the piece Checkpoint Liberty.

The Berlin Wall had come down seven years earlier, and now only a couple of short sections of wall remained standing. Half of Berlin had been turned into a vast, extraordinary construction project; looking east, construction cranes towered everywhere across the horizon. A friend told me, “It feels like I’ll go to sleep, and in the morning I’ll come out and find that all the streets around me have been rearranged overnight.”

Below are a couple more photos I took during that visit.


brandenberg gate 1996