Living In: Crooklyn

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Over the past few weeks, the Living In column has featured some of my all-time favorite summer films—from Now & Then to The Sandlot. Although these movies are near-and-dear to my own heart, they all harken back to very specific moments of the American past—midcentury suburban summers filled with small-town romance, little league games, and cul-de-sac bike races—things that I can imagine, but am relatively distanced from. While baby-boomer summers in Levitt-style towns certainly hold their own kind of glamor, sometimes I yearn for more Jane-Jacobs-approved versions of hot-weathered nostalgia—ones with less skyway and more sidewalk. This is why I think I love Spike Lee’s classic summer romp Crooklyn so much.

This filmic love-letter to Brooklyn follows a young girl named Troy as she comes of age during the summer of 1973. Surrounded by a strict mother, a musician father, and a rambunctious band of  brothers, Troy must navigate the oftentimes confusing world of girlhood and learn to stand on her own two feet. Filled with fantastic summertime hijinks, a killer soundtrack, and witty commentary about the contrasts between urban and suburban life, this is Spike Lee at his absolute best. Although Troy’s character is said to be based upon a young Spike Lee, I couldn’t help but relate her story back to my own childhood summers in Buffalo, New York—frolicking around with the neighborhood kids, getting into trouble, and learning to love my hometown more and more each day. I suppose that’s one of the things that makes Crooklyn so masterful—whether you’re in Brooklyn, Buffalo, or Boise, it taps into essential and timeless truths about childhood, family, and the potent magic of the summer. —Max


1. Vintage Salon Chair | 2. Tiffany Style Lamp | 3. Jump Rope | 4. Mini Grand Piano | 5. Lemonhead Candies | 6. The Best of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles | 7. Ceramic Pottery Mug | 8. Vintage-style Mosaic Shirt | 9. Parasol

Read more here!

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1. New York Knicks Pennant | 2. Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots | 3. Vintage-style glasses | 4. Striped tanktop | 5. Striped socks | 6. Vintage Gingham Glasses | 7. Adidas Sneakers | 8. The Best of Soul Train | 9. Vintage Throw Pillow

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Film: Crooklyn

Year: 1994

Director: Spike Lee

Starring: Alfre Woodard, Delroy Lindo, Zelda Harris

Production Design: Wynn Thomas

Art Direction: Chris Shriver

Set Decoration: Ted Glass

Costume Design: Ruth E. Carter


It’s almost like you x-rayed my brain and only choose my most favorite movies ever. Thanks for including the lemonheads… it reminds me of my own long summer days with a trip to the candy store with my brothers.


I LOVE THIS MOVE!! Lol. Excellent pick Design Sponge.


Such a sweet movie. The outdoor shots were filmed right near where I live!


In my blissful ignorance I have never heard of this film. Definitely one to seek out and watch.


yet unlike comparable childhood experiences elsewhere in America that this film captured, the real estate landscape is starkly different. The brownstone Crooklyn was filmed in just set a Bed-Stuy real estate record… selling for $1.7m in cash, significantly higher than the asking price.