Skip to content
CityLab
Perspective

The High Line Is Trolling Us

New York City's elevated park boasts a seductive collection of public art, with a striking message about urban displacement.
Barbara Kruger's 2016 mural "Untitled (Blind Idealism Is...)," as seen from the High Line.
Barbara Kruger's 2016 mural "Untitled (Blind Idealism Is...)," as seen from the High Line. Michael Friedrich/CityLab

Visit the High Line this fall and you’ll see a bright tangle of tubes weaving through the brambles at the northern terminus of New York City’s elevated rail park. Like an inscrutable children’s field-day game, it radiates tentacles of Playskool yellow, orange, red, blue, and green along the tracks. Matching these colors in the middle distance is the luxury construction of Hudson Yards, the largest private real estate development in U.S. history.

The match is no accident. High Line Art commissioned the installation, “Hop, Skip, Jump, and Fly: Escape From Gravity” (2017), from Sheila Hicks, and the artist dutifully crafted a work that calls attention to “the ballet of construction vehicles at the Rail Yards; the multitudinous interwoven layers of construction mesh that cover buildings, scaffolding, and streetscapes.”