On Sunday, a group of locals gathered on the old Figueroa-Riverside bridge for what was described as a wake for the structure that spans the L.A. River between Cypress Park and Elysian Valley. With demolition eminent, families picnicked on the bridge, mothers played tag and fathers spray painted messages with their children on the road. Flowers were brought and placed on the railings, dogs trotted along the unnecessary sidewalks.
The wake came after a grassroots campaign failed to sway the City of Los Angeles to repurpose the structure as a “landbridge” for pedestrian, bicycle traffic and other public uses. And so on Sunday afternoon, the L-shaped bridge, built during the 1920s and 1930, served as the picturesque setting for the wake while only a few feet away vehicle traffic traveled over a new bridge over the L.A. River. Organizers of the wake said the bridge was scheduled to be torn down today, Monday, June 9, but that could not be confirmed.
Under the concrete section of the bridge, right below the wake, there are blown out cars, and VHS tapes buried among spray cans, fast food wrappers, tires, and endless messages and tagging. Someone mentions that the wake is like the bridge’s last meal before its execution and some laugh, while others listen to music on a radio.
“I’m disappointed that the bridge is going to be torn down needlessly,” said Edith Weil, a Cypress Park resident. “It’s sad to see Los Angeles destroying its cultural heritage, and its history,”
Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis’ stories, reviews and photos at Smashed Chair.