With the opening of the first section of the High Line park oh so achingly close (June, the say!), there's been an increasing flurry of activity up on the section between Gansevoort Street and 20th Street. We last checked in on the progress in December, and today comes word that workers have been "cleaning" the High Line of graffiti, or "destroying" long-lived street art, depending on your point of view.
A tipster writes: "I noticed this morning that a worker on the new Highline is in the process of painting over the graffiti that has forever been a part of the Roxy's structure. I think what makes the Highline so special is its attempt to claim urban decay as a feature of beauty... not about painting over any former features of the city." An architect associated with the Highline rehabilitation tells our source, "We fought to save it but the mayor and the Parks authority have a zero tolerance policy. Really really sucks." Our tipster continues:
I just heard from the director of planning at the Friends of the Highline. He says that the Highline organization does not consider itself responsible for protecting the historic graffiti that adorns the buildings adjacent to the highline. He also said that the mayor's office made private decisions with the property owners without consulting the public. This unilateral decision is troublesome. I hope you agree with me that they should have run public conversations about whether to preserve any of this stuff."
We're also waiting to hear back from the Friends of the High Line for details on what's in store (if anything) for the newly blank space. But for context we turned to our resident graffiti expert Jake Dobkin, who says, "I wouldn't consider this to be a very iconic piece, but if they touch the Revs/Cost Mural at 23rd Street, it's war." Photos of that piece, where the line in the sand has now been drawn, are here.