Spike Lee, director of such hot-bed films like ‘Do The Right Thing’ and ‘Jungle Fever’ where he explores racial issues in which white people are almost always at fault, went on an expletive filled rant because apparently he doesn’t like that areas like Bed-Stuy, Harlem and Crown Heights are neighborhoods people actually want to live in today:
“I grew up here in New York. It’s changed,” Lee said at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, an art, design, and architecture school. “And why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the South Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better? The garbage wasn’t picked up every mother******* day when I was living in 165 Washington Park. … The police weren’t around. When you see white mothers pushing their babies in strollers, three o’clock in the morning on 125th Street, that must tell you something.”
Yeah. It tells you Spike, that New York City — nearly all of it — is a great place to live.
What I am about to say may get me in a little trouble, but it’s 100% true. Back in 1993, I went to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Rather than take the 2 (or 3) directly, I took the C train out to Franklin Avenue and Fulton to catch the Franklin Avenue Shuttle to the gardens. You have to exit the subway to go upstairs to get to the shuttle.
When I walked up those stairs, I thought I had walked into a demilitarized zone. There were dealers at the top of the subway steps. The storefronts were boarded up. The streets were practically empty because most of the business there was non existent. In short, the area was a shithole and I couldn’t wait to get out of there.
Look at this recent photo:
See the fried chicken place across the street? That’s where the subway exit is. That place wasn’t there. Neither were most of these other businesses. The one thing you cannot see in that photo or a more updated shot from Google Streets?
Yes, the black population in Bed-Stuy used to be upwards of 70% and now it’s about 50%. So yes, there are white people in the neighborhood, but it’s still largely a black population. And yet Spike Lee is complaining that people can walk around with their kids at 3:00am in the morning? Isn’t that a good thing?
There were 1,960 homicides in New York City in 1993.
In 2013? 333.
That’s in a city of 8.3 million people. It’s a remarkable statistic for a city that size.
So to Spike Lee I say:
New York City is doing great (of course we’ll see how long that lasts with Comrade De Blasio).