Historic NYC neighborhood protests pawn shop with ‘Bling Baby’ mural

A storefront mural in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn is causing quite a controversy.

Painted by New York artist Jamie Hef, it has stirred anger in residents of the area.

At its center it depicts a baby wearing a crown, holding a stack of bills. A “bling” style chain hangs from his neck. More stacks of money and pieces of jewelry complete the work, including rings and watches.

Hef created the work for a pawn shop and jewelry store on Park Place near Franklin Avenue in a predominantly African-American neighborhood.

A store whose opening had already enraged the community that protested this kind of business was not good for the area. And now they’re taking aim at the mural.

A local resident remarked, “Can you believe this? We’ve been trying for years to change the image of Crown Heights, even to get landmark status for some of these streets and their beautiful houses and this comes along”.

He is referring not only to the store, where a sign reads “We buy jewelry and electronics” but also to the mural, calling it “bling glorifying”.
They say the type of business conducted in the store and the mural do not reflect their community.

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