2nd Street Tunnel
|The west entrance|
|Location||Downtown Los Angeles|
|Start||Figueroa Street (Northwest end)|
|End||Hill Street (Southeast end)|
|Length||1,550 feet (470 m)|
The 2nd Street Tunnel is a widely filmed and photographed tunnel on 2nd Street under Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles, California. It has been described as "the most recognizable city landmark most Americans have never heard of". It is 1,500 feet long, and lined with glossy white-glazed tiles that bathe the tunnel in a unique and desirable light – described as "one big light box" – which creates unusual textures.
The tunnel was built to relieve congestion on the earlier 3rd Street Tunnel. Construction began in 1916, and was completed in 1924, with its formal opening on July 25 of that year. The distinctive white tiles, which give the tunnel its glow, came from Germany, which caused controversy at the time due to the legacy of World War I and protectionist feelings.
In popular culture
The tunnel is frequently used in movies – notably Blade Runner – and even more frequently in car advertisements, with 73 car ads filmed in the tunnel in 2006–2008, over two per month. It has also been used for fashion shows, including the 2004 LA Fashion Week show by designer Michelle Mason, and for parties, such as the 2013 Golden Globe Awards the Art of Elysium/Audi party.
The short length of the tunnel means that in shots directly down the tunnel, both entrances are in sight, and the two entrances are very different in character – the eastern entrance is gritty, while the western entrance is more ornate and majestic – which increases the flexibility and visual variety in using the tunnel. The surface of the tunnel is in poor condition, with large sections of tile having flaked off and covered in extensive graffiti; accordingly, footage of the tunnel is generally digitally cleaned up in post-production.
Other films in which the tunnel has appeared include: The Driver (1978), Flashdance (1983), The Terminator (1984), Sneakers (1992), Money Talks (1997), Con Air (1997), Gattaca (1997), Independence Day (1996), and Kill Bill (2003). It is also featured in music videos such as "Iris" by Goo Goo Dolls, "We R Who We R" by Kesha, "It's My Life" by Bon Jovi, "Kings and Queens" by Thirty Seconds to Mars, "Grenade" by Bruno Mars, "Sing" by My Chemical Romance, and "Protovision" by Kavinsky.
- J. Win Austin, Los Angeles, California, City Council member, 1941–43, condemned auto-horn noise in tunnel
- Charles E. Downs, City Council member convicted in a bribery scheme involving a "moving sidewalk" in the tunnel
- Neil, Dan. "The automakers' tunnel of love is a cause for reflection" Los Angeles Times (April 21, 2009)
- Richardson, Eric. tunnel-a-primer "Third Street Tunnel: A Primer" (December 5, 2008)
- Seward, N. Jayne. "L.A. Fashion Week Fall '04: Michelle Mason" California Apparel News (April 2, 2004)
- Niedler, Alison A. "Mason Gets Anonymous Spotlight in the L.A. Times" California Apparel News (April 22, 2009)
- Richardson. Eric. "Auto Shoots Nothing New for 2nd Street Tunnel, But Fashion Shows?" (April 21, 2009)
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