Frankfurt am Main
I am in Frankfurt, my old home town. Saying good bye to people, walking the Red Light District one last time to try to meet some of the social workers and street angels I used to work with.
Frankfurt is changing. It's been a year, almost to the day, that I've left, and yet it has changed a lot since then. I now live in Munich. It is, and some might disagree, but fuck them, they're wrong, the most beautiful city in Germany. The people, the parks, the quality of life (it is the most livable city in the world, after all), the food... it all works, fits together, feels cohesive, warm, welcoming.
Frankfurt is different. It is chaotic, crazy, a city where blight and polished steel occupy the same street, often within spitting distance. A place where multi million deals are made on a cell phone over a smoke while standing, almost literally, on a dying homeless person or someone shooting up.
It's a place where rich mid-20s, sipping 40€ Gin Tonics by the river, plan how to shut down the last bars and restaurants that aren't of “their kind,” while two streets down a few gangs plan how to best murder a competing drug or sex trade ring.
And, yet, it's changed. A new force has entered the game, that of the Urban Hipster. No less than six hipster coffee shops and burger bars line the street that not too long ago consisted of nothing but crack houses and worker families. The former now live on the streets around the organic vegan poke bar with the stand up paddle in the window, next to the gentlemen's barber shop with a nine-week wait list. The latter were priced out of the area, first moving to Gallus, which is now the “Europe Quarter” and commands the second highest square foot prices in Germany, then out into the villages surrounding the City, some of which have also changed. Hochtaunus County, north of Frankfurt, competes with Starnberg for most expensive county in Germany, while the south slowly turns into a new Silicon Valley.
“My” Frankfurt is gone. Maybe it's because it wasn't meant to be. Or, maybe, it is because my kind isn't meant to be anymore. Either way, I am glad it's just a visit.
Pictures: Frankfurt then, and now (https://snap.as/mikka2061).