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  • Interview by Alexa Modugno, Photos by Sarah Sansom

Hash Halper: A New York Romantic in Hapless Times

Q: What is the universal force that binds us all together?

A: Love!

And Hash Halper, AKA New York Romantic works on the streets of NYC, with hearts and an enigmatic persona. His prolific hearts, that can be found chalked throughout the city, were inspired from his humble beginnings working at a bialy bakery. When substituting the dots on the I’s in bialy with hearts instead, he felt a profound surge of riveting oneness, and a cathartic harmony. He realized that the simple act of drawing a heart could elicit happiness and be therapeutic. Already upbeat in disposition, Halper was now convinced to instill the symbol into the public through graffiti.

Raised in a modern Orthodox/Chassidic community, the heart is an integral concept in prayer. Halper wanted everyone to feel the overwhelming power of what it means to be in tune with love, not only romantically, but in universal terms. His strong aura and alignment with the universe is intangible and birthed from an ability to feel love on a very high vibration. A trained Reiki Master, Hash is also an independent curator in the downtown New York art world; his energy like a fireball shining through the city.

In light of Covid 19, Halper is able to continue encouraging the growing movement of unity that is sweeping through New York City. The artistic mission is simple: to inspire others to have heart and focus on the unity in community, with a flowing stream of kindness, through expressive awareness of lovingness and blissful harmony. New York Romantic aims at reminding a city and its inhabitants of a New York of yore; when people were expressive about their emotions, authentic in their demeanor, and displayed empathy towards all life. Love is in the oxygen, and Hash harnesses the chi energy, using it to incorporate the inspiring symbol of courage into the actual architecture of the city. Halper has drawn over 100,000 hearts throughout NYC and continues to share the message of love and life.


Alexa Caroline Modugno: Tell me a little about what New York Romantic is, and its inception?

Hash Halper: I had been curating artists and graffitied New York City for the last decade, always having an affinity for landscapes and portraits. I saw the energy shifting, and knew i had to instill more of that Romantic conceptualism into the world.

ACM: What is your goal as an artist when people see your work on the street…how do you want them to feel?

HH: I agree with Lawrence Weiner; an artist can display their work, leaving it up to society to make that change in culture. In the moment one sees my work, feeling anything is enough of a success. I also believe that my graffiti can have a subliminal affect.

ACM: What is your personal definition of love?

HH:The NYU Professor of Love told me it is a check from your grandparents. A young man in the park told me his grandparents only gave him gold bonds. The NYU building inspector, A Sephardic Jew, told me Love is giving. The latter encompasses them all.

ACM: What do you think are the ingredients for a happy life?

HH: Creating responsibly, creating a family, and helping others.

ACM: Do you want to be famous?

HH: No, but one doesn’t alway get what one wants.

ACM: What’s one thing you love the most about NYC?

HH: The resilience of the dreams in the hearts of the people who are drawn here, and the food is pretty good.

ACM:How do you think people will be able to enhance their lives through your movement?

HH: As a reminder of their dreams and the courage to continue and overcome the obstacles life brings.


Even in these turbulent time, Hash continues to give NYC the love it needs. He starts his day dedicatedly chalking out hearts on the streets, providing the denizens of the city with hope for a conclusive solution to Covid 19 and a restoration that things will resume back to normal. The city needs love right now, and Hash’s hearts continue to fortify the flow of healing energy that is much needed, bringing light and positivity everywhere he goes.

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