(Photo: Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York)

Last year, Artnet Magazine’s Charlie Finch predicted that the High Line would lead to rising rents, sounding the death knell for the Chelsea gallery scene. While this has not yet happened, the well-liked aerial greenway is arguably having an antiseptic effect on the arts neighborhood, with Exhibit A being the recent destruction of a storied graffiti mural on West 23rd Street, in keeping with a city program to spiff up the buildings around the successful park. The prominent “REVS/COST” mural, featuring the names of the two graffiti artists in enormous white letters, was removed with chemicals over the weekend, according to the Vanishing New York blog (which has photos).

While the giant white letters may not have much significance to those who are not graffiti fans, they hold an important place in the history of New York street art, arising out of the retrenching of that scene after mayor Rudolf Giuliani’s crackdown in the early ‘90s. The exploits of Revs have been featured on This American Life, and profiled in the New York Times, with Randy Kennedy saying in 2005 that his work “upended many traditional notions of graffiti and helped inspire a new generation of so-called street artists.”

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