Berlin Wall, Steinstücken in 1986

The Hole in the Wall

The guidebook promised us the one place in all of West Berlin where no physical barrier existed between the two Germanys. And here it was. Wide enough to allow railcar passage, this singular gap in the famous Cold War all lay at the end of a wide Straße in the tiny West Berlin neighborhood of Steinstücken.

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Field of My Dreams

The field pictured above is a real place, located near the border separating the neighboring German states of Bavaria and Thuringia. I remember being weak in the knees as I snapped the shot. About five months earlier I’d pictured this place, while writing a scene for an MFA class in my tiny room at the Pod Hotel in New York.

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The Wall2Wall Project

Since early childhood, I’ve been preoccupied with walls. Imprinted in my earliest memory is an illustration of a boy on a swing peering over a wall. The picture sits alongside a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson aptly named “The Swing”. My mother, seated beside me on our nubby green couch, is reading aloud from A Children’s Garden of Verses.

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When Jon Crispin agreed to let me reprint some of these rare, vintage photos from Steinstücken I was elated. A former freelancer for the New York Times, among other notable publications and institutions, Jon’s documentary work has been widely exhibited by museums and art organizations, including the New York State Council on Arts, the New York State Museum, and the San Francisco Exploratorium. See Jon’s documentation of suitcases left behind by patients at the now-shuttered Willard Asylum in Willard, NY or find him on Instagram and on Twitter. To see Jon’s other work visit http://www.joncrispin.com/.