Bed-Stuy will lose one of its murals of honoring the late legendary rapper Biggie Smalls (a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G., Big Poppa, and Christopher Wallace). According to DNAinfo, two-story installation on the corner of Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street will be come down in order for the building’s property owner to add windows.
Art collective Spread Art NYC, which represents artists Naoufal “Rocko” Alaoui and Scott "Zimer" Zimmerman—they painted the “King of NY” mural back in 2015—made an effort to stop the artwork from being destroyed to no avail. The group offered landlord Samuel Berkowitz $5,000 to preserve it; Berkowitz countered it with a monthly charge of $1,250. The group said that it would be unable to afford the monthly cost.
In addition to adding windows, Berkowitz has filed plans to gut renovate the building’s second floor. A post on Spread Art NYC’s Instagram page claims that the changes are being made so that Berkowitz can increase rents in the building.
It also seems that Berkowitz simply isn’t a fan of the mural, telling DNAInfo that tenants have complained about it and the attention it garners. “Why should I keep it? I don’t even see the point of the discussion,” he said.
A few updates on "king Of NY" Mural: we just want everyone to know that Spread Art NYC, your humble community Art organization has been working real hard to keep this mural up for the past year! Landlord always calls us and Claims that the neighbors are complaining about the mural and the crowds it attracts. About 4 months ago, he told us about the construction he will be doing which will damage the mural in the process. He will be opening Windows on the wall to increase rent profit by $500 according to them. Today Spread Art NYC offered $5000 (which we planned to gather from the community and the fans) not to open the windows. Unfortunately, that offer was declined and it was answered by a counteroffer of $1250 a month. At this point, there is nothing Spread Art NYC can do to save this mural. We will continue to serve our neighborhoods regardless!! Community is our goal, we like to give back and we thought A biggie mural at the corner of #bedfordandquincy was needed to keep the culture alive, to keep Brooklyn Alive. We always say, Brooklyn is Biggie and Biggie is Brooklyn. A landlord can NEVER change that! We want to thank everyone for the love! We promise, we GOT YOU!!! #spreadartnyc #20bigyears #bedstuy #bedfordstuyvesant #biggie #kingofny #livefrombedfordstuyvesant #spreadloveitsthebrooklynway
This is just one of the neighborhood’s many murals depicting the late rapper, who was murdered 21 years ago. Perhaps the most famous is “Comandante Biggie” mural in Fort Greene, located above the Lafayette Avenue train station and created by artist Cern One in 2011.
A slightly newer piece with a Coming to America theme recently went up in Prospect Heights at St. John's Place and Underhill Avenue.
The only and only King Biggie. Spreading love the BK way in his best Coming to America outfit. By @sacsix. Mural went up this weekend in Brooklyn, curated by @artface7 and @jeffbeler for #underhillwallsbk #biggie #BIG #Notorious #rip #20yearsofbig #brooklyn #streetart #brooklynstreetart #graffitiart #graffiti #urbanart #sprayart #kingofnewyork #spreadartnyc #mural #biggiemural #sacsix #comingtoamerica #kingofnewyork #sprayart #mural #artiseverywhere #bkgraffiti
And then there’s this one in Bushwick on St. Nicholas Avenue and Troutman Street: