Abandoned Berlin: BLUB Neukölln.
Doomed from the very beginning. Built just thirty metres from the Teltow Canal at a time before the residential ausländer settled in – injecting thousands in foreign currency to Neukölln – the Berliner Luft und Badeparadies or BLUB swimming pool and leisure centre was a West Berlin ‘bathing paradise’ to swim and frolic. But as allegation of rat infestations whirled through social circles, numbers, once reaching 60,000 visitors annually, quickly dwindled.
The centre filled with slides, a sauna garden, whirlpool, white-water canal, fitness centre and outdoor play stations, first closed its doors in December 2002. As rumours of rat and bird shit covering both in and outdoor facilities and that rats were swimming in the pools and canteen were in fact true, BLUB was immediately closed setting the saga off in motion. Promising the rats had gone and the facilities were clean and safe, as well as a suggested relocation, BLUB reopened a week later and struggled along for another two years as youth gangs quickly took over the property scaring off those the rats didn’t. The sauna and gym remained open-but empty until 2012 until it saw the same demise as the dilapidating water park around it.
Still in legal battles with the original owners, the land has since twice been sold with the promise of luxury apartments and family resorts. Alas, the large space of land still stands, a breading ground for hipsters with beer bottles and spray cans, tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of an easy-access Abandoned Berlin site and the youth of Neukölln looking for somewhere to hang. Mind the shards of falling broken glass, rotting floorboards that are easy to fall through and the dark, damp tiles of the sauna, spas, and pools filled with deck chairs, indoor plants and even a pool noodle or two.
Buschkrugallee 64. Neukölln.
Photo tips from the lovely Bonnie King.