Dozens of residents of Brooklyn have dismissed director Spike Lee's criticism of the gentrification of the New York City borough where he grew up.
The acclaimed filmmaker used a speech at the Pratt Institute on Tuesday (25Feb14) as an opportunity to rail against the changes in the Fort Greene area of New York where he was raised.
Responding to an audience member's question about his views on the gentrification of the area, Lee said improvements had only been made since white residents moved in, and that long-standing black residents were being pushed out by rising house prices.
Lee, who made the semi-autobiographical film Crooklyn about the area, said, "I grew up here in Fort Greene. I grew up here in New York. It's changed. 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?... Have you seen Fort Greene Park in the morning? It's like the motherf**kin' Westminster Dog Show... People can't afford to live here anymore."
However, many residents of the area insist recent developments are for the better, with one telling New York Daily News, "I don't see a negative to cleaning up a neighborhood. I think it's a creative bunch of people doing interesting things. It's all good intentions."