TIL that despite the popular depiction in films and television, Manhattan has almost no alleys. The Commissioners Plan of 1811 designed the city’s grid layout without alleyways to maximize the limited space. The few alleys that remain mostly predate that plan.

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

Must suck to live near one of the few, film crews must be there all the time.


Movies also rarely show the amount of trash in NY streets on trash day or worse If the garbage peeps are on strike


This is a weird article. There are plenty of alleys in Manhattan. It’s not like there are absolutely no spaces between buildings at all. There are plenty of shortcuts that cut through city blocks between buildings. But what I can believe is that there are very few planned, public alleys north of 14th Street or so that are large enough to be a named street and drive a car through (or film in). They are more likely to be on private property, or in some cases small pedestrian alleys that are on private property but whose owners have opened it to the public.


Bummer, I always pictured NY as just sidewalks alleys and taxis.


When I see a NYC alley in a movie, I rarely associate it with Manhattan. There’s usually something dirty going down, so I tend to think the Bronx or Queens. Not a lot of movies have some wall streeter with a martini in hand in a back alley.