The Real Deal New York

Spike Lee rails against New York’s gentrifiers

"Do the Right Thing" director slams recent articles lauding the upside of gentrification
February 26, 2014 04:50PM

Film director and lifelong Knicks fan Spike Lee spouted off Tuesday night against gentrification in his native Fort Greene and other parts of Brooklyn.

Asked what he thought of two recent stories in the New York Times and New York Magazine lauding the benefits of gentrification, Lee railed against what he called a lack of improvement in facilities until there is “an influx of white New Yorkers.”

He also lashed out at alleged newcomer complaints against noise and what he called the disruption of “a culture that’s been laid down for generations” in an f-bomb-laced speech. He also decried the uptick in rental costs, saying “People want to live in Fort Greene… Clinton Hill. The Lower East Side, they move to Williamsburg, they can’t even afford [expletive] Wililamsburg now because of [expletive] hipsters.”

Lee, whose home on the Upper East Side is currently on the market for $32 million, also took issue with neighborhood name changes, decrying gentrifiers for recasting Bushwick as “East Williamsburg” and Harlem between 110th and 125th streets “Stuyvesant Heights.”

“We had the crystal ball,” he added. “‘[In] Do the Right Thing’ with John Savage’s character, when he rolled his bike over Buggin’ Out’s sneaker. I wrote that script in 1988. He was the first one. How you walking around Brooklyn with a Larry Bird jersey on? You can’t do that. Not in Bed Stuy.” [NYM] Julie Strickland

  • john doe

    no one cares about what you have to say spike

  • f***spikelee

    Ignorant as hell – complaining about safer streets, more frequent trash collection, a stronger tax base, more desirable real estate, and finer dining.

  • “Crying Game”

    Come on Spike, really.
    People of all colors are improving their homes.
    Not just whites :)

  • Flipoutnyc

    May be Spike can go to Detroit and help gentrifying the city in his own way

  • no-permits

    spike, you sold out on your “black” neighborhood” to move to a “white neighborhood” years ago. who are you to speak on this subject?

  • Richie

    Ft Greene Park sure has a lot of dogs but he failed to add if he did anything to contribute to this deteriorating beautiful Park. or anything in Ft Greene? (Library ? Youth workshop? ) Oops , he doesnt live in Ft. Greene anymore, he has a $10 million townhouse in UES. I do have to say its a gorgeous townhouse indeed!

    • richie

      Sorry its $32 million..

  • Jon

    What has he done lately , NADA just seeking attention and publicity sounding off for no reason . Are you moving back to FT. GREENE BROOKLYN SPIKE???

  • lower the volume

    People have to get up in the morning and go to work. People have medical reasons that not getting enough sleep could endanger their lives. Please have your father turn it down and stop using NIMBY and his advance years as a shield for his bullying.

    You should instead be thanking your new neighbors for not raising the crime rate in your established neighborhood – anything else about them is none of your business and you should not be using tactics such as racial guilt tripping them into moving out.

  • lower the volume

    Did he really forget John Turturro’s surname and call him Savage?

  • chilibee

    Odious Degenerate Racist. Zero cred!

  • Raj13

    The little chihuahua “Spike” is barking again. “woof woof”, says the little racist doggie.