The much beloved “King of NY” mural in Brooklyn may be the latest casualty in the borough’s downhill slide towards complete gentrification.
The legacy of New York rap king Notorious B.I.G. (A.K.A. Biggie Smalls, Big Poppa, and Christopher Wallace) is still strong in his native home of Brooklyn, and further still Bed-Stuy. I wonder what he’d say today if he were witness to the ever looming gentrification of his old stomping ground?
Although not the only mural of Biggie Smalls in the borough, the “King of NY” mural on the corner of Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street is an iconic piece of street art revered among Brooklyn natives. According to a Facebook user named Jason Alexander, there are a few “new” residents of the historic Brooklyn neighborhood that might have a problem with that.
Apparently, these “new” tenants have complained about the mural due to its crowd-drawing iconic status. As a bit of personal commentary, if you don’t like amazing crowd-drawing attractions, why on earth would you move to NYC? Move to Sh*tsplat-Nowhereville in Arkansas.
Not only is the art facing an uphill battle against residents, he adds that the has quoted a price of $1,250 a month to keep the mural in place.
Art collective Spread Art NYC, representing artists Naoufal “Rocko” Alaoui and Scott “Zimer” Zimmerman, painted the “King of NY” in 2015 and have tried to stop the destruction of the mural. They went so far as to offer the landlord, Samuel Berkowitz, $5,000 to preserve it, but are unable to afford the monthly cost.
Berkowitz has filed plans to gut renovate the building’s second floor and to add windows to the exterior wall where the mural resides. A post on Spread Art NYC’s Instagram page claims that the changes are being made so that Berkowitz can increase rents in the building.
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