Lee was speaking to students at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute for Black History Month on Tuesday, when he sounded off on how New York City was being completely gentrified.
"I grew up here in New York. It's changed," said Lee. "And why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the South Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better? The garbage wasn't picked up every mother******* day when I was living in 165 Washington Park. ... The police weren't around. When you see white mothers pushing their babies in strollers, three o'clock in the morning on 125th Street, that must tell you something."
In a calmer and less expletive-filled interview with Cooper, he said, "I don't hate anybody. I think anybody is entitled to live where they want. When you move into a neighborhood, have some respect for the history, for the culture."
"I just hope there is affordable housing for everybody so New York City can stay the great city that it is," said Lee on the future of the city. "Because if you have to be a millionaire to live in New York City, New York City is not going to be the great city that it is."