Spike Lee has once again paid tribute to the city that raised him.
On Thursday night, the Academy Award-winning director/writer debuted his short film titled, New York, New York. Lee described the three-and-a-half-minute video as a "love letter" to the city and all of its residents, as they persevere through the coronavirus pandemic.
The film is soundtracked by Frank Sinatra's classic record "New York, New York," and highlights how the global health crisis has forced the Big Apple to become quiet and still. We see various shots of seemingly deserted NYC landmarks and iconic locations, such as the Coney Island Wonder Wheel, Junior's restaurant, the Brooklyn Bridge, the New York Stock Exchange, Grand Central Station, and Yankee Stadium.
Toward the end of the film, we see uplifting shots of the city's health care professionals who have risked their lives to combat the deadly disease. There's also footage of New York residents showing their support for the frontline workers through signs and the city's nightly 7 o'clock applause.
New York, New York premiered on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360. During the broadcast, Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked Lee what he wanted to convey with the short film
"To be honest, I really try not to dictate what the people should feel ... there are many different feelings there," he responded. "It's bittersweet. It's painful at the beginning—what you see, there's nobody there. But at the end of the film, that's where we see New Yorkers ... I wouldn't want to be any other place in the world but here. The epicenter."
NYC has become one of the hardest-hit cities during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data published by the New York Times, the city had tallied more than 185,000 cases and over 19,000 virus-related deaths as of Wednesday.