Cinematic Atlas: A Guide to Spike Lee's New York Photos by Ian Stroud

Fort Greene Park (She’s Gotta Have It, 1986)

Neighborhood: Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Address: Myrtle Ave. and Washington Park

Lee must've been attracted to Fort Greene Park's Prison Ship Martyr’s Monument for the colorful graffiti spread across the granite structure; he was certainly not alone, as the scene—Nola's beau, Jamie, gets her a special birthday present that revels in Lee's love of musicals— has gone on to become a film school textbook staple. Since shortly after the monument’s dedication in 1908, it had been the target of serious vandalism, including the theft of the bronze eagle inlaid within the Doric column. The monument has since been restored to its initial state. Though it is hard to argue against the historic preservation of such a structure, there is a certain beauty to the vandalized version we see in the film, marked by a rainbow of graffiti. It certainly better suits the near-cartoonish colors that mark Lee's early work.

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