New York‘s Vulture blog claims to have found the bridge from the Red Hot Chili Peppers song “Under the Bridge.” Do you imagine it’s in MacArthur Park? Most commenters don’t.
I love a good romp in mystery-solving, but while Mark Haskell Smith seems to have done most of his legwork with Google Maps, on-the-street residents of Los Angeles offer up some other possibilities. Could it be this opening at W. 1st and N. Figueroa? Could it be near W. 2nd and S. Hill? Could it be where Myra crosses Sunset?
Realistically, “the bridge” could be anywhere in downtown L.A., and Anthony Keidis has been tight-lipped about its exact location for fear of Red Hot Chili Peppers fans glamorizing the site. But the most believable location for “Under the Bridge” seems to be the Belmont Tunnel, the reasons for which are outlined by this guy. The Belmont Tunnel, a.k.a. “The Hole,” was the site of L.A.’s first and only subway, service for which was abandoned in 1955. The entry to the tunnel at the abandoned Toluca Substation eventually became a hotspot for drug use, graffiti writers and, as depicted in the movie Colors, gang activity. The “bridge” would refer to where 1st Street crosses over 2nd Street, at the entryway to the old substation yard where the tunnel was located.
The most convincing clue, though, is that the Belmont Tunnel is featured in the video for “Under the Bridge,” seen below at 1:24:
You can read plenty about the Belmont Tunnel in the L.A. Times by Steve Harvey and on L.A. Encounters by Chet Sakamoto. Both mention that the Belmont Station Apartments were built on the empty substation site in 2008—but the opening to the Belmont Tunnel is still there. In the apartments’ own photo gallery, it’s been cleaned up, the area almost comically manicured, and the tunnel entrance has been painted with a mural of an old Red Car. If you want to visit, you’ll have to sneak into the apartments and head to the yard area, or go to where S. Toluca St. dead-ends at Emerald St. and find your way down.
Tags: Belmont Tunnel, Los Angeles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Hole, Toluca Substation, Under the Bridge