‘Do the Right Thing Way’ ushers in new era of NYC street nicknames

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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT, Brooklyn — City Councilman Robert Cornegy represents Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy. He says it's no longer "Do or Die" but the councilman says there's no denying the impact the movie "Do The Right Thing" had on his community when he was growing up.

"The things that we were experiencing during that summer, that very hot summer, got played out on the screen and was very significant," Cornegy said.

Some of the issues are even more relevant today. Actor and director Spike Lee continues to criticize gentrification in the neighborhood and some of the issues that follow.

About a year ago, to mark the 25th anniversary of the film, Cornegy proposed renaming a portion of Stuyvesant Avenue Do The Right Thing Way, "because of the film's cultural significance to the neighborhood of Bedford Stuyvesant."

The city put up a temporary sign to mark the anniversary, but it took almost a full year to fight the power at City Hall and change the policy. Previously streets could only be renamed after people. Now that the door is open, Cornegy said he thinks plenty of others will follow suit.

"We get the distinction of setting the precedent for it," Cornegy said. "But I'm pretty sure that going forward they'll be other opportunities for other art forms and other significant cultural artists to be honored as well."