He Ducked Back Down the Alley …
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He Ducked Back Down the Alley …

Gov. Rod Blagojevich, center, leaves his home through a back ally Wednesday. (Mark Carlson/Associated Press)

They wrote songs about the “Streets of Philadelphia” and “The Sidewalks of New York.” But as Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich demonstrated this morning, Chicago is a city where the alleys rule.

With hordes of reporters and photographers camped outside his North Side home, the embattled governor ducked out his door, hopped into a waiting S.U.V. and rolled away through the alley, with parked police cruisers blocking anyone from trying to follow him. Mr. Blagojevich was visible, at a distance, for mere seconds before he was driven away — a move that would have been nearly impossible in Manhattan, where blocks of back-to-back buildings provide no such escape routes.

But in Chicago, people know their alleys and how to use them, whether they’re tossing a football, throwing out the garbage or dodging the news media. Mayor Richard M. Daley has boasted that Chicago has “more miles of alleyways than any other city in the world,” which make up “a unique network of infrastructure integrated into the very fabric of our city.”

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