After public outcry, landlord Samuel Berkowitz will allow the two-story “King of NY” mural of legendary Bed-Stuy rapper Biggie Smalls to remain on his building on the corner of Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street, reports DNAinfo.
When it was revealed last week that Berkowitz planned to remove the installation, created in 2015 by Naoufal “Rocko” Alaoui and Scott "Zimer" Zimmerman, fans and members of the Spread Art NYC collective made an attempt to save it by offering the landlord $5,000. Berkowitz, however, refused, telling the group that it would take $1,250/month to keep the mural in place.
From there, supporters circulated petitions in an attempt to get the mural landmarked. According to an Instagram post from Spread Art NYC, everyone from the mayor’s office to the Brooklyn Nets offered support. With all of the hoopla, Berkowitz decided to allow the mural to remain in place.
“To be honest, [Berkowitz] just didn’t know how important Biggie is to Brooklyn,” Alaoui told DNAinfo. “He’s not a bad guy. A lot of people offered to help financially, but he said he don’t need the money, just the respect of his neighbors.”
The good news came right after hordes of hip-hop fans celebrated what would have been the late rapper’s 45th birthday on Sunday, May 21.
Thank you Brooklyn! And a very very special thanks to the landlords for recognizing the importance of Biggie in this neighborhood! First we would like to thank both the Mayor's and congressman Jeffries offices for reaching out and offering all kinds of support to keep this iconic mural where it is! We also would like to thank every single local organization for coming forward with their resources . We would like to thank all the companies for offering financial support. ATLANTA has got so much love for Biggie! Thank you TI @troubleman31 for having your team contact us on a daily basis to get the updates. Special thanks to Mr. Guevara from @brooklynnets for the daily phone calls to make sure we get all the needed resources. We would like to thank all of you who have stood besides us! PLEASE if you see the landlords, THANK them for this generous gift to our community!! ! Happy Belated Birthday, King!!! @tyanna810 @cjordanwallace @therealfaithevans #spreadloveitsthebrooklynway #spreadartnyc #bedfordandquincy #20bigyears