After public outcry, a building owner will allow the two-story “King of NY” mural of legendary Bed-Stuy rapper Biggie Smalls, a.k.a the Notorious B.I.G., to remain on his building, reports DNAinfo.
The mural, located on a building at Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street, has drawn tourists and hip-hop fans since it was painted in 2015, but last week the landlord, Solomon Berkowitz, said he needed to remove it in order to add new windows.
In a telephone interview last Thursday, Berkowitz said he saw no reason to keep the mural.
“Let me rephrase the question: Why should I keep it?” he said. “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 declined to discuss the matter further, and it was not immediately clear when the mural would be removed. He secured permits in March for the work, which includes a gut renovation of the second floor and the addition of two windows to the wall with the mural, Department of Buildings records show.
Last week Spread Art NYC, the collective affiliated with the mural’s artists Naoufal “Rocko” Alaoui and Scott “Zimer” Zimmerman, posted on Instagram that they would not be able to afford the $1250 a month Berkowitz was demanding to save the mural. Since that post 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.”“He’s been very respectful by letting us use his wall for this long, and we want everyone else to respect him,” Alaoui said. “This is a gift from Mr. Berkowitz.”
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