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September 27, 2020
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News + Views

Spike Lee: Cobble Hill Was Great

By Lisa M. Collins

Will Leitch, writer for New York Magazine, and Cobble Hill resident, conducts a great and lengthy interview with filmmaker Spike Lee for the magazine’s Vulture blog. Among other things, Lee talks about growing up from age 4 to 12 at 186 Warren Street, between Henry and Clinton.

“We were the first black family to move into Cobble Hill,” Lee tells Leitch. “And we got called “nigger.” At that time, Cobble Hill was strong—I mean, strong—Italian-­American, because of the docks. But as soon as the neighbors understood that there weren’t any other black families, it was not like a mass of black families moving in behind me, I was just like everybody else. It was a great time to grow up in Cobble Hill.”

Read the long interview, in which Lee discusses the gentrification of Brooklyn, public schools, his films as an archive of Brooklyn, the Barclays center and the meaning of the Nets for Brooklyn, and more.

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Readers' Comments

joe peanuts cosenza
May 5, 2013
4:13 AM

I grew up up on clinton and degrew street in the late 50s and was a great time growing up in those nickname was peanuts. I was given that name when my sister marie and I would go to the P.A.L on union street after school as we waited for our parents to get home from work.we also went to school at p.s. 13 which was on degrew street……want more or know me..u can email me at


July 30, 2012
9:45 AM

That doesn’t sound like such a great time to me.