It's a film-critic to cliché to say that a movie's setting is just as important as its stars, but whoever made the observation first had probably just seen Do the Right Thing. Spike Lee's tale of simmering racial conflict uses the boiling heat of a Bed-Stuy summer as a mirror, with violence escalating as the thermostat climbs. The fact that Lee used one actual city block to shoot almost all of the scenes just adds to the film's verisimilitude: it feels real, because it is.
A quarter century later, Stuyvesant Ave. remains a monument to the time and a reminder that things aren't as different today as some would like to believe. In celebration of the film's 25th anniversary, Complex asked photographer Liz Barclay to return to the block on another sweltering summer day. Click the thumbnails to see images of the street then and now—how much (or little) the neighborhood has changed may surprise you.
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