This article is from the archive of our partner .

New York City's urban renewal efforts have been so successful over the past couple of decades that Hollywood is having a hard time finding alleyways that are gritty enough to use in movies in which characters hang out in (or run through) filthy alleyways. The Wall Street Journal's Nick Carr got the scoop on Wednesday afternoon

The scarcity of Manhattan alleys that fit Hollywood’s dank, dilapidated typecasting has made those that exist into the city’s unlikeliest icons, virtually unknown to locals but filmed almost as often as the trademark skyline. Most are hidden south of Canal Street, far from the rigid organization of the uptown street grid. … Like all desirable New York real estate, scarcity makes these rat-infested and grime-covered passages surprisingly expensive as filming locations. Private owners control a few of these back streets, including Broadway Alley in the East 20s and Great Jones Alley in the East Village.

File this one under: stories that will blow your parents' minds, especially if your parents happened to live in the East Village during the famously seedy Seventies. And now, courtesy of Carr, we offer you the Men In Black 3 trailer, featuring one of New York's last remaining filthy alleys.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to