New York is the sort of city that seems to make most sense in black and white. The history of it, the look of it, the million stories in this naked city. But sidestepping the colour of the city shreds it of its true vibrance; vibrance that seems to drip from the fire escapes during the summer…vibrance that especially seems to live in neighbourhoods like the part of Brooklyn Spike Lee set DO THE RIGHT THING in.
Let’s be clear, much of the Brooklyn that Spike Lee captured in 1989 no longer exists. Hell, the whole of New York City as it was in 1989 no longer exists. But one thing from that era that still remains is that the summers in The City can be brutal, and while many New Yorkers will take that as a cue to get inside into air-conditioned comfort, not everybody has that luxury.
So some still get outside. They gather, they talk, and they laugh. They are already living in tight clusters thanks to the density the city employs, but the heat brings out a different part of them. It’s a more leisurely part, sometimes a more boisterous part, often a more irritable part.
But it’s a part that’s bright, that’s hot, and that wants to be a part of what’s happening. The summer of DO THE RIGHT THING is slipping away from us in our isolationist ways, but I’d wager if you walked the streets of New York during a heat wave, you’d still find people like ML, Sid, and Willie who have no use for Twitter or blogs like mine.
They’re too busy watching the dog days of summer play out…and too busy trying to stay cool.