Popular Brooklyn Biggie Mural To Be Destroyed By Landlord

Photo by Christa Lopez

UPDATE: Brooklyn’s own Nia Raquelle has started a petition in hopes of saving the mural of the late, great Notorious B.I.G. With a goal of 1,000 signatures, the current stat stands at 820 signatures. As we encourage you all to sign and help them accomplish the goal, once that has been completed, the petition would then be delivered to the NYC Landmarks and Preservation Commission.

See the original story below.

A mural of the Notorious B.I.G. in his very own Brooklyn borough is going to be destroyed.

The Biggie mural, which was painted on the side of an apartment building on the corner of Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street in Bed-Stuy two years, is likely going to be removed by the building’s landlord Samuel Berkowitz. Berkowitz wants to remove the mural so he can create windows for the apartments and increase rent prices.

“Why should I keep it,” Berkowitz said in an interview with DNA Info. “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.”

Berkowitz also stated that he has received complaints from the tenants about the mural because both Brooklyn residents and tourists alike often go to see the homage to the iconic New York rapper.

Spread Art NYC, an artist collective, attempted to come to a compromise with Berkowitz, the collective offering him $5,000 in cash to keep the mural. However, Berkowitz declined the offer, telling the collective that he would not destroy the mural if they paid him $1,250 a month.

“At this point, there is nothing Spread Art NYC can do to save this mural,” the collective said in an Instagram post. However, the group ended its post on a positive note, writing “We always say, Brooklyn is Biggie and Biggie is Brooklyn. A landlord can never change that!”

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

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  • Anoonamoose

    he has a point, it’s his building.

    • Part of the reason those rents are going up is because of Brooklyn’s gentrification, which is a result of Brooklyn’s cultural cachet, which is a result of icons like Biggie and the street artists that celebrate him. He’s caking indirectly off that which he now seeks to destroy.

      Purely in a legal sense, yes, he’s in the right. From a moral sense though? Pretty big douche IMO.

    • Anoonamoose

      So you’re saying that it’s because of people like Biggie that Brooklyn is becoming more in-demand? I don’t think so.

      How about the fact that there’s limited space to live in and around a growing in population and already-crowded NYC, so maybe that’s why rent is going up?

      Culture is good, but there’s tons of notable artists that grew up in Detroit and that place is only getting worse. Nobody is clamoring for a house next to Eminem’s childhood home.

    • I’m saying that’s PART of the reason. Brooklyn cultural cachet and cool factor has a strong relation to its gentrification, which is a cause of rising rents.

      The population in NY has always been growing, yet (just like in current day Detroit) living space there wasn’t exactly prime real estate in the 70s and 80s. That change didn’t come out of thin air.

    • Anoonamoose

      I think it’s a 50/50 kind of thing. One hand, it’s part of the culture. On another hand, it was painted on someone’s building. If the man is struggling to feed his family at this rent rate, I’d say it sways in his favor. But if he just wants more money, someone’s greed should take a backseat to cultural importance. But someone could say they “need” the money, either way.

      I think the living space expanded because NY is landlocked, and central NY has tons of businesses and people wanting to live somewhere close to those businesses. I don’t think most people who move to Brooklyn are there necessarily for the culture. And those that are, well Biggie is only a part of that culture – there’s a lot more artists. And even then, Biggie is still a huge part of the culture regardless of whether the mural is removed, although I’m sure it was and is important to a lot of people.