As the first section of the High Line park was poised to open last April, the mayor's office began painting over the graffiti next to the elevated tracks. And workers are still busy trying to make sure every last vestige of urban character and uniqueness is removed from sight! Last year the city identified about 20 buildings along the entire High Line as candidates for graffiti removal, and 18 owners are permitting the city to scrub them clean. Last year, Gothamist's resident graffiti expert Jake Dobkin vowed war if the city buffed the Revs/Cost mural at 23rd Street (seen here). So is Dobkin headed to the barricades with other street art aficionados?

Probably. Nine of the 18 buildings have already had their graffiti removed, and the remaining buildings are mostly along the unfinished second half of the track above 20th Street. Seth Carnes, an artist whose 2008 white, red and black painting of the words "i heart" was covered over with what he calls "a battleship gray layer of paint," tells City Room, "Certainly when I saw the drab gray paint over it, it was a tragic moment. Part of the act of the street art-form is what goes onto a wall is covered or changes. But I think a solid gray coat of paint over what used to be a nice textured brick wall with some good graffiti over it is not an improvement."

And photographer Peter Sutherland aptly describes the graffiti as "a visual cue as to the history of the High Line when it was closed down. Other than, like, weeds overgrowing, those are the only kind of little tidbits that tell you what was going on there, till whenever it stopped functioning." In other High Line news, the city is poised to buy several more blocks of the High Line from a developer which owns the track, meaning the park may ultimately extend to 34th Street—and doom even more graffiti!