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Berlin 1987: Summer of Hönkel

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 6/3/07 (1:38pm)

With all the talk of anniversaries, I thought I'd mention the "Summer of Hönkel" which happened in West Berlin twenty years ago.

It was a hectic period of cultural ferment and turmoil. "Hönkel" -- which I think was a beer -- was supposed to represent this vast chaotic mix.

I was reminded of it most recently by this picture in Flickr. The picture is of a supermarket that went up in flames in the course of a riot on May 1 1987. My house was across the street from the supermarket.

[more after the jump...]

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CTA EL Train Crash : Feb. 4, 1977

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 2/4/07 (2:55am)

Thirty years ago, I had a part-time job at Carson, Pirie, Scott in Chicago. It was a Friday night and I had just gotten off of work, walking down Michigan Avenue to catch the 151 Bus.

When I got to the corner of Lake & Michigan, I looked west and saw the most incredible thing: a CTA EL train dangling from the overhead tracks all the way to the ground. There were police cars, fire trucks and ambulances all over the place. Huge spotlights shone on the train.

It was an incredible sight -- something you'd see in a Hollywood disaster movie or a child's train set. But it was all too real. One of the great people working at Carson, Pirie Scott was in that train and while she survived, she was unable to ever come back to work.

I was reminded of that scene by a report on WBBM Radio. They have a article about it on their site. Chicago-l.org also had an informative page on the accident.

It's something I'll never forget.

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