Biggie mural in Bed-Stuy safe after artists feared its end was near, group says

A Bed-Stuy mural dedicated to The Notorious B.I.G. is safe after building renovations threatened its fate, a local art group says.
A Bed-Stuy mural dedicated to The Notorious B.I.G. is safe after building renovations threatened its fate, a local art group says. Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

Bed-Stuy’s Biggie mural is staying put for now.

An outcry of local support has helped keep the mural safe from destruction when the building it adorns undergoes renovations, according to Spread Art NYC, a local art group affiliated with the portrait’s artists, Naoufal “Rocko” Alaoui and Scott “Zimer” Zimmerman.

“Thank you Brooklyn! And a very very special thanks to the landlords for recognizing the importance of Biggie in this neighborhood,” a post shared Monday said. “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.”

Concern regarding the fate of the installation that stretches three stories high on the side of a rental building on the corner of Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street grew after Spread Art NYC shared multiple warnings of its impending demise on Instagram this month.

The Brooklyn Nets were among those who reached out to help keep the mural in its rightful place. “We are stepping in and working with @spreadartnyc and other NYC leaders to help see that it stays. Spread the love. It’s the Brooklyn way,” the team tweeted with a photo on Sunday, which would have been Biggie’s 45th birthday.

The mural’s fate appeared rocky after the group was allegedly told four months ago by the building’s landlord, Solomon Berkowitz, that construction would “damage the mural.” On May 12, Spread Art NYC told fans that the “ ‘King of NY’ mural will be put to rest sometime very soon.”

Berkowitz had obtained permits for planned construction to the building at 1091 Bedford Ave. in March, according to Department of Building records. The permits describe renovations to the second and third floors, as well as window replacements. According to Spread Art NYC, the renovations included plans to open “windows on the wall to increase rent profit by $500.”

It’s unclear whether Berkowitz has since decided against changing the window sizing. Berkowitz did not respond to a request for comment.

The mural’s location marks a spot where the legendary rapper often took part in freestyle rap battles. It’s located only a few blocks from Biggie’s childhood home at 226 St. James Place. Biggie was shot and killed in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997.