Brooklyn, NY – After receiving backlash from Hip Hop purists and local residents, landlord Samuel Berkowitz has decided to keep the two-story Biggie mural painted on the side of a building on Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street in Brooklyn. One of the artists responsible for the giant tribute, Naoufal “Rocko” Alaoui, spoke to Berkowitz, who admitted he didn’t realize how much Biggie meant to the New York City borough.
“To be honest, he 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.”
After the initial story broke, supporters wrote petitions calling for it to be landmarked. Both artists who created the mural, Alaoui and Scott “Zimer” Zimmerman, were inundated with phone calls from people who wanted to help. The Brooklyn Nets also offered their love and support on Sunday (May 21), Biggie’s 45th birthday. Evidently, it worked.
Check out the post below.
Today marks what would have been the late Notorious B.I.G.'s 45th birthday. The iconic mural of Christopher Wallace (at Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street in Brooklyn) is at risk of being taken down, but we are stepping in and working with @spreadartnyc and other NYC leaders to help see that it stays. Spread love. It's the Brooklyn way. #HappyBirthdayBiggie
(The original article was published May 19 and can be found below.)
The late Notorious B.I.G.’s presence has loomed large for the past two years as part of a mural painted in his likeness, which is prominently displayed on the side of a Brooklyn building on Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street.
The mural, created by Naoufal “Rocko” Alaoui and Scott “Zimer” Zimmerman, will likely be destroyed in the near future, according to DNAInfo. The building’s landlord, Samuel Berkowitz, has renovations planned that require the mural to come down.
Berkowitz seemed to brush off any criticism he’s received so far.
“Let me rephrase the question — why should I keep it?” Berkowitz told DNAInfo. “I don’t even see the point of the discussion. I could demolish the building if I wanted to. I don’t need no permission from anyone except the DOB.”
In an Instagram post uploaded earlier this week, an art collective affiliated with Rocko and Zimer revealed that Berkowitz requested $1,250 a month from them in order to keep the mural up, but they said it’s not something the organization can afford.
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
“About 4 months ago, he told us about the construction he will be doing which will damage the mural in the process,” Spread ART NYC wrote. “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.”
The decision serves as another example of the changing face of New York City’s most populous borough.
In 2013, Biggie’s childhood home, an apartment in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (formerly Bed-Stuy), was being sold on the market for a staggering $725,000.