2005_11_27_streetsign.jpg"What is the last unpaved street in Manhattan?"

As good a question as any, but one even the Times doesn't feel comfortable affirmatively answering. They come close however, in a nice nostalgia/focus piece today on Broadway Alley (between Lex and Thrid from 26th to 27th streets). Because the Alley is technically a private throughfare, and therefore isn't subject to regular streets rules, it has never been paved over. Department of Transportation officials won't say it's the last unpaved street in the city, it is out of their jurisdiction. They would say, however, that "If it's a private street, it's not maintained by us, which means it could be the only unpaved street, but we wouldn't know."

Not only does the Times take a look at an unpaved street in Manhattan it also looks at the growing trend of people paving over their lawns in the outer boroughs and the close burbs. Much of the time people pave for parking, but the convenience of not maintaining a full lawn doesn't hurt either. Of course there are the people who just love urbanity like one Angela Casaro: "Lawns have ticks and disease and worms and stuff," she says. "This way, it's safe and sterile. It's a cleaner area for the children to play. I love nature and I love grass, but I don't want my family exposed to disease."

Photograph by Joyce Dopkeen for the New York Times.