This Globe & Mail article about Spike Lee is interesting because it starts out asking if Spike and Woody Allen were separated at birth:
Don't scoff. Check the evidence: They're both single-minded, jazz-loving, Brooklyn-born filmmakers, known by their first names, who crank out an average of about one film a year. They're equally adept at comedy and drama, frequently lean on their own regular repertoire of actors, occasionally appear in their own films, and are often courtside at New York Knicks games. Perhaps more to the point, they've both traced an unfortunate career path from critical praise and middling commercial success to a place where their films are regularly ignored by audiences and dismissed by critics as irrelevant or unfunny.
This is actually something Gothamist has been thinking about a lot. There's this class of NYC filmmakers, Woody, Spike, and Martin Scorsese, whose films give you really singular ideas of New York but whose output is pretty streaky in quality (Scorsese is, arguably, near the top of his commercial game right now, what with The Aviator coming out this fall, but we couldn't really get into Gangs of New York). Still, Gothamist will still watch their films anyway (even if it's only on cable, because we fell asleep during the DVD, like we did with Anything Else), because whatever they do tends to be better than, oh, lots of other stuff out there.
A NY director to look out for is Joshua Marston, whose Maria Full of Grace is one of the better films out there. And for a coastal flip (Gothamist is getting ready for some sun, L.A. style), see Collateral for a swooning look at L.A. evening drive time.