Gentrifiers thought they were about to take the chip when it was reported a Brooklyn landlord was planning to remove a mural of Biggie Smalls from the side of a building in order to add more windows and raise the rent.
The mural, done by Spread Art NYC, was placed on Samuel Berkowitz’s Bed Stuy building located on the corner of Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street. Berkowitz maintained he received complaints from several tenants who said the mural of The Life After Death artist merited too much attention from tourists. While speaking with DNAinfo, Berkowitz said he didn’t need anyone’s permission to remove the mural of Big.
“Why should I keep it?” he 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 [New York City Department of Buildings].”
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
Well it seemed as if Berkowitz has had a change of heart. According to a statement from the creators of the mural, they reached an agreement with the landlord and the piece titled “King of NY” will remain for now.
“He is such a nice and giving person. We want everyone to thank him for keeping the Biggie mural,” Naoufal Rocko” Alaoui of Spread Art NYC said. “He didn’t realize who Biggie was and how important Biggie is to Brooklyn.”