i lived in Berlin for 6 years as an American intelligence operative. i've lived all over the world. i think of all those cities and Berlin was the best. this is pre-Re-Unification. it has changed and is still a great city to be sure. but really there was something about the atmosphere and attitude of the people when The Wall was up. i think there was a sort of underlying psychology to the city of showing the east "how it's done". living there, you could feel that.
it was a very young city. because younger Germans could escape compulsory military service by living in Berlin, many did and the average age in that city in those days was about the youngest for any city in the world. no one got any sleep. it felt like you were "supposed" to live an active, fun and multi-faceted sort of life. you knew it. and you did.