James was born in Boston, but moved to New York with his family at the age of 5. After college, he moved to Asia to study and work in China, where he co-founded a company in Shanghai that provides access to China-focused financial research to hedge funds and PE firms.
During his company's expansion phase he lived in a number of cities opening offices, including Hong Kong, London, New York (again), and Berlin. James has recently left this company and is now working on entrepreneurial ventures.
What brought you to Berlin?
It was a logical place for my previous company to open up a Europe base of operations, with diverse labor pool and inexpensive operating costs in the most powerful economy in the EU.
What do you love and hate about Berlin?
Love: Architecture and cultural options.
I love the diversity in the city, both physically and culturally. You can walk on few blocks into the west of the city and you could easily be walking down a grand avenue in Paris, a few blocks the other way and you're walking past block apartments you can only see in Soviet Russia.
Hate: Gruffness of the locals (is gruffness a word?)
Pictured above: Photographs taken by James
What are your 3 favourite neighbourhoods in Berlin? What's the vibe in each?
Prenzlauer Berg: To see hipster parents and their kids
Krezuberg: Grimey, but fun night life
Charlottenburg: For palaces and luxury shopping
For each of your favorite neighbourhoods, can you tell us where to eat, drink and party?
To see former hipster parents and their kids
Chay Viet - one of my favorite restaurants, it's all vegetarian, but you will hardly notice. There is a big vietnamese population in Berlin and supports lots of good restaurants. This is one of the best.
Kitty Cheng - this is a club and doesn't get going until after midnight, but it's got great NY style hip hop DJs and people that are only there to dance.
Kollwitzplatz - Small park in the center with food markets and music every weekend
Mauer Park and the other Sunday flea markets - even if not buying anything, it's worth going to the flea markets.
Pictured above: Chay Viet (photo credit: Chay Viet)
Pictured above: Kitty Cheng (photo credit: mixology.eu)
Grimey, but fun night life
Henne - German Fried Chicken, you'd call it? All they have on the menu is fried chicken and veggies. It was JFK's favorite restaurant when he came to visit Berlin.
Watergate - an institution for dance and drinks
Hang out: Along the Landwehrkanal
Shop: Oranienburger Straße
Pictured above: Henne (photo credit: somamagazine.com)
Pictured above: Watergate (photo credit: mad-twatter.deviantart.com)
For palaces and luxury shopping.
Grosz - High-end german restaurant with extremely high ceilings and old West German vibe
Drink and Hang out:
Monkey Bar - overlooking the monkey enclosure at the zoo. You can also see the entire city and park from this bar.
Kurfurstendamm - all big luxury brands are here
What are some typical Berlin foods that we must try?
I would personally pick Vietnamese. While it's not German or Local, it's the best vietnamese food I've had. Go to the place mentioned above, or District Mot- they specialize in Saigon street food.
What's a local thing to do on a weekend in Berlin?
Saturday - Rest
Sunday- Club all day
Any local secrets and tips to share with someone visiting Berlin?
Berghain, the world famous club, is a place that I would suggest that everyone at least tries to go to.
Many people's lives revolve around this place, and there is a reason: it is one of the best club experiences you can have.
Don't go on a friday or saturday night. That's when most tourists go. Go on Sunday around 11am or 12noon and stay until the evening. That's when the real Berliners are there anyway.
Where to stay in Berlin
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