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In "Do The Right Thing" (1989), Spike Lee followed the life of a single block of New York, like "Dead End" 52 years earlier, and on a single summer day, the hottest day of the year. But his film was shot not in a Hollywood studio, but in a real block in Brooklyn. His film was one of 143 feature films shot on location in New York that year, double a decade before. A decade later, in 1999, there were 209 such features.

In "Do The Right Thing," Lee plays Mookie, who delivers for the local pizza parlor and who knows everybody on the street, including "da Mayor," played by Ossie Davis. Whatever else the movie was saying, it is a textbook demonstration of the principles outlined by urban theorists Jane Jacobs and William Whyte about the vitality of street life in New York.

Lee's subsequent films have almost all been shot on location in the city, making him one of a quartet of film directors most closely identified with New York. The others are Woody Allen, Sidney Lumet and Martin Scorsese.

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