What Happened to the High Line Kiss Mural?

This kiss was once the most photographed section of High Line, NYC’s elevated park in Chelsea.

korma kiss mural high line

Eduardo Kobra’s gorgeous mural celebrated one of the most iconic NYC photographs of all time, the 1945 photograph “V-J Day In Times Square” of the kissing sailor and nurse.

The mural burst with color. It captured the passion and exuberance of that sailor, of a kiss. It made you smile. It brightened your day as much as it brightened the New York City streets! Looking at it was sunshine, rainbows, New York City, and LOVE! It was wonderful!

High Line Kiss Mural Korba
Has my use of past tense made you tense? Have I prepared you for the horrible sight I’m about to reveal? Unless you’ve walked the High Line this past month, this will come as a shock. I haven’t seen it reported in any media and I only believe it because I saw it with my own eyes. You might want to sit down.

Are you sitting?

The Kiss Mural on the High Line is GONE

korba High Line Kiss Mural gone

Gone. Painted over in the most depressing gray this city has ever seen. Tiny pieces of color still poke through certain bricks, crying out “yes, something beautiful was here.”

As if winter wasn’t gray and colorless enough?

I don’t have answers. I don’t understand why this mural was painted over. The High Line website doesn’t offer an explanation. They proudly feature Korba’s mural on their blog. I’ve asked them on Twitter what happened and I’m waiting for an answer.

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The mural accompanying below the Kiss is gone too. It featured scenes from New York in 1945, most prominently a trolley with the destination “Times Square” along with automobiles and dapper pedestrians. I only ever got a proper picture with part of it:

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My tall, dark and handsome two dimensional boyfriend. (Yes, I’ve also lost a boyfriend in this street art travesty.)

Here’s a full photo from nyclovesnyc.blogspot.com

Kobra-mural-highline

I know this is one of the hallmarks of street art, I said that in last week’s post. It’s out of the streets, it’s under the elements- anything could happen.

I never expected this iconic NYC mural to disappear with no warning.

Will something replace it? Will tourists wander the High Line for hours searching in vain for the work of art that is no more? Attempting to communicate in hundreds of different languages, “Where is the High Line Kiss Mural? What happened to the V-J Day Kiss colors? The painting? Why can’t I find it?” sure it must be somewhere else, not believing their own eyes. Unable to understand the friendly High Line staff who try to explain that it used to be here.

That this is it now.
where is the High Line Kiss Mural
How can this be all that’s left?

I’m photographing the shit out of all street art I see from now on.

This brilliant, “Love Is The Answer” further south on the High Line has gone to gray as well.IMG_6378

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Such a loss! Two of the most uplifting pieces of art I’ve ever seen we can now only see in photographs! SO SAD.

Gray covering love, kisses, rainbows, and Albert Einstein. Could it be worst timing for the winter doldrums and Valentine’s Day? The High Line is looking mighty bleak these days.

UPDATE: Word on the street- I don’t really have a source for this- is that the owner of the building just painted over it. Insane and so sad, right? The High Line tweeted at me to say they had nothing to do with it: while the art was visible from and very much felt like a part of the High Line, in actuality this mural was always on a separate, privately owned building. I doubt the building owner will ever release any kind of statement. No one wants to be publicly known as an Art Destroyer in this town.

About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

18 thoughts on “What Happened to the High Line Kiss Mural?

  1. This is crazy, I’m hoping that new art work is coming. I feel bad for the painters who were hired to paint over it, that must have been a weird mix of emotions (grateful for the job, sad to cover someone else’s long hours, vision and creation)…that would be a great interview piece.

  2. I’m just back from NYC and was gutted to see both were gone. Why!? It really was a disappointment but im so glad i got pictures in person last year.

  3. first of all I apologize for my bad English.
    I was in New York in March, I wanted to show this beautiful mural to my friends, but I found only the gray wall.
    I fear that the works on the High Line have an expiration date, such as yogurt.

  4. The lower half now features a piece which I guess reflects the auto repair, customizing shop that occupies the space on the ground level. The wall above is still that horrible grey color. Like Lauren above I feel cheated and gutted each time I walk by the corner now. From a business standpoint it was a pretty stupid decision. The mural had become a popular attraction for residents and tourists alike. Now it’s just another corner.

  5. From Gothamist 26July2016:
    “Unfortunately, the previous building owners painted over the wall earlier this year. They probably wanted to prevent the artist from filing suit to save the mural (and possibly the building) under the Visual Artists Rights Act, the same law that the artists at 5 Pointz used to try and block the demolition of the street art project’s warehouses in Long Island City.”

  6. Last year I made my first trip to NYC, walking along the High Line was a highlight of my day. I captured a photo of “The Kiss” mural and the street scene mural below it. It has been my screensaver ever since and I get many comments on the feeling it captures. It seems so heartless to paint over it.

  7. I can’t believe it’s gone, I was hoping to take my daughter to see it when we visit NY in a couple of weeks from the UK as I have a canvas on my wall of this beautiful Graffitti that I took last year when I was there.

  8. Isn’t that how it always seems to go? There is CLEARLY something beautiful and the (evil) world lets it go to gray or doesn’t recognize it. I lived in Queens and there, there was a section of road called five points(aka five pointz). In this part of Queens graffiti artists and mural painters were given free range. It was a worldwide known mecca for artists. However, in the name of change and profits it was knocked down/whitewashed to build a couple of high rises. I used to get a full view of its glory from the 7 train, but now it’s gone. These things are heartbreaking! by the way, check out my NYC blog!? http://www.bleuiselectric.com
    Cheers!
    Leah recently posted…Fervor.My Profile

  9. We saw some activity on the site whilst walking on the Highline this past weekend. Any knowledge what is being painted and by whom? We were hopeful it was Kobra again? We were out from CT and were really sad to see it gone.

    1. I have no knowledge, sorry! I was there this past weekend too. Unfortunately another Kobra mural seems unlikely- but I’ll cross my fingers and definitely update if I see/learn anything!

  10. Such a shame! I’m a huge fan of Kobra’s style and missed the mural by just a few months. I recently wrote a blog post about NYC Street Art and my first line was “New York street art is a high turnover business…” – devastatingly so at times!

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