Van Gogh, Banksy & Walking on High Line.

April 16, 2017

Street Art at the Lower East Side, Manhattan
Street art at the Lower East Side, Manhattan

Mosquitoes flying around a lantern. Audrey Hepburn’s face breaking out of a color splash. A painted bird behind a bush. Then you have a furry cup and a night full of energetic stars. And don’t forget the urban garden on the old railway. New York – a treasure chest of art! 

I’m always interested in street art when visiting big cities. So I did a little research and discovered that wonderful page: Freetoursbyfoot. There you can book tours by local guides who show you around in their neighborhoods. Telling you something about art, food or clothes. At the end you can pay what you want. That’s simply great. So I decided to take part in a tour about the street art of the Lower East Side Manhattan.

The next day we walked around there with a small group of nearly 15 people. Our guide was extremely friendly. He told us a lot about street art history in New York, the artists and their messages. Many graffiti’s on the walls are not illegal anymore. They are even assigned by the owner of the houses and shops. Some are political and tell us something about feminism or peace.

Meeting van Gogh in New York

The Starry Night van Gogh MoMA New York
"The Starry Night" of Vincent van Gogh at the MoMA

“Oh, is it Banksy?” someone asked. Our guide sighed. “No, it’s not. It just looks like Banksy. Many artists did artwork in that Banksy style. But they haven’t become that famous. That’s why their work has not the same value today.” I know about that because I worked in an art gallery before my trip. That’s a problem many artists do have.


Did I say art gallery? Well, I went to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) as well. The most impressive thing (to me) is their Collection. You can see Dalí’s clocks, a huge tryptic of Monet and his lily ponds and also a furry cup designed by Meret Oppenheim. It’s pretty creepy!

But the most stunning piece of art is the original Starry Night painted by Vincent van Gogh. You can see the way he put on the colors with his paintbrush. It’s almost like he’s standing behind you and breathing in your neck. You can’t compare that feeling to an online collection. It’s so much more than a click and it impressed me deeply to see that famous picture right in front of my eyes.
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53 Street, Manhattan, New York, Metro: 53rd Street/5th Avenue, E, M, Tickets: Adults 25 $, Students 14 $, Seniors 18 $ (April 2017)

San Francisco Haight Ashbury

Urban Garden: The High Line

The High Line of New York City
The High Line - a beautiful urban garden
Last thing I want to mention is something not everybody seems to know: It’s the High Line. It’s a garden high above the loud and dirty streets of New York. It’s built on a former railway line that isn’t in use anymore. An organization rescued the area from abridgement and designed a wonderful oasis with trees and flowers there from 2006 to 2014. It’s well worth a visit and a walk. A lot of artwork can be found alongside the path that’s round about 1,5 miles long. So take a book and good music and come here on a sunny day.
The landscape design of the park is wonderful. It’s modern but comfortable with lots of wood and space to relax. There’s also a big art project planned for 2018 on the High Line. We also have lots of transformations like that in Germany in an area called Ruhrgebiet. Old coal mines and mining waste tips are converted into museums, parks and spaces for art and culture. So it also felt I bit like home for me.
The High Line, starting point: 34th Street/Hudson Yards, Metro: 7, free entrance

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