A Brooklyn landlord faced backlash for announcing he would be destroying a building featuring a mural of legendary rapper The Notorious B.I.G. in order to renovate it. After a change of heart, fans of the mural will still be able to see Big Poppa’s image on the building.
Samuel Berkowitz, the landlord, turned down $5,000 from the mural’s artists, Naoufal “Rocko” Alaoui and Scott “Zimer” Zimmerman from Spread Art NYC, to keep the building in tact so that the art wouldn’t be gone forever. Instead, Berkowitz asked them for a monthly rental fee of $1,250 to keep the mural up. A petition was started to raise money to save the mural and eventually have it turned into a landmark.
“By landmarking the building the landlord is unable to make any changes to the facade without permission from the Landmarks and Preservation Commission,” the petition said.
“To be honest, he just didn’t know how important Biggie is to Brooklyn,” said Alaoui of the landlord’s initial decision to get rid of the mural. “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.”
Alaoui and Zimmerman painted the mural in 2015, and it can be seen on Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of the borough.
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 #biggiemural #biggie #biggiesmalls