Walking on the newly landscaped High Line recently, I noticed a row of sheet-metal panels, all freshly painted gray. It seemed odd to me at the time. What I did not know was that the gray paint covered a large graffiti tag.
photo: Jason Andra
At the time of the graffiti's erasure, a reader sent photos to Towle Road and said, "I think what makes the High Line so special is its attempt to claim urban decay as a feature of beauty...not about painting over any former features of the city."
The tag, which read WERRROSLURRR, had topped The Roxy nightclub for years. In a warehouse dating to 1920, the famous Roxy opened as a roller rink in 1979 and closed as a gay dance club in 2007, after passing through the 1980s as a hip-hop and breakdancing mecca. The Bowery Boys have a full history here.
Did Werrroslurrr belong to any of those groups? A roller diva, a disco doll, a breakdancer, or a Chelsea boy? Maybe not. Maybe he or she was just a random tagger, aching to get that name up high on the High Line.
source: Towle Road
Today, the whole High Line has yet to be developed. Further uptown, there is still a wild meadow along the tracks, untouched, but slated for dismantling and reconstitution. There is also more graffiti, including a large mural by Cost and Revs.
The same Towle Road tipster also indicated to Gothamist that a fight to save graffiti along the High Line has gone on--and perhaps continues to go on--among and between Friends of the High Line and the mayor's office. (If anyone knows more about this fight, and how to get in it, let us know.)
Will all the graffiti be painted gray? If so, will the only visuals placed along the High Line be these massive billboards hawking luxury goods? The answer should be obvious--the Joneses are here and they have property values to protect.