Sunday, August 08, 2010

"Breaking Bad" Filming Locations - Season 1

This post is the second of eight posts regarding "Breaking Bad" filming locations and focuses on Season 1 filming locations (last updated July 29, 2014).

Links to these eight "Breaking Bad" Filming Location posts are as follows:

Part 0 - List of Filming Locations
Part 1 - Season 1
Part 2 - Season 2
Part 3 - Season 3
Part 4 - Season 4
Part 5 - Season 5a
Part 6 - Season 5b
Part 7 - Wish List, Finale Party, and Series' Legacy

I have also written an essay regarding the opening scenes: History, And The Opening Scenes Of "Breaking Bad".

Plus, a new post on "Better Call Saul" Filming Locations:

Part 1 - Season 1


Let me know if you have any problems or questions. E-Mail address: mvaldez@sierraresearch.com

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Check out OldeSaultie's Google maps of "Breaking Bad" filming location sites: the best maps on the Web! KML files are available at these addresses that are particularly useful for GPS devices.

Season One locations
Season Two locations
Season Three locations
Season Four locations
Season Five (A and B) locations

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"A Guidebook To Breaking Bad Filming Locations"

I decided to self-publish (via Amazon), in order to retain closer control over the text and to accelerate review (since the summer tourist season is coming up fast). To avoid unnecessary friction, I have redacted the addresses of all single-family homes. Most pictures posted on my blog are retained, but the interior is black-and-white, in order to keep costs down. (It's a little big: 8.5 x 11" at 323 pages.)

Update: The book is ready and available in Print and on Kindle.


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Introduction

I had stopped watching television almost entirely since 2004, but I was intrigued about what my friend Jerry said about AMC's television series "Breaking Bad". Not only was it an excellent television series, he said, but it was filmed in my hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

About April 15, 2010, I went into Dimple Records and saw that they were selling "Breaking Bad" - Season 2, on DVD. Remembering Jerry's recommendation, I purchased it.

What a great, great TV series! Tense Southwestern film noir along the lines of 'No Country For Old Men' (much of which was also filmed in New Mexico). Jerry was right! The best TV series ever!

For a Duke City native like me, "Breaking Bad" is very jarring to watch. Such dark, evil doings on the sunny, happy, streets of my youth! And the camera doesn't lie either; it is Albuquerque, in every familiar picayune detail (but a side of Albuquerque I'm definitely unfamiliar with). These folks were retelling the Albuquerque story, but in a new, novel way, tying it together with the drug trade and reinventing the worn, familiar places of my youth. This was irresistible!

For example, there is the Crossroads Motel, across Central Avenue from Presbyterian Hospital, just one or two hundred yards from the location where I was born! Watching this series is a very personal experience!

I quickly had to purchase Season 1 on DVD, and download Season 3 too. I became a confirmed "Breaking Bad" addict!

The television series touches a very sensitive subject - methamphetamine addiction. I was more familiar with the subject than I wanted to be.

Like many, the drug trade impacted my life in college (particularly my first two years, at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, in Socorro, in the mid-70's). So many fellow students were involved in the drug trade in one way or the other, even if only for the occasional toke. I remember when some of my acquaintances felt compelled to leave town under circumstances they did not wish to discuss. I've always wondered about that. They were going through some kind of Breaking-Bad-like experience, but couldn't confide what it was!

Much later, in 2006, I hired a fellow to work on my house. He soon fell under the powerful influence of methamphetamine addiction, and I got to see the drug's damage firsthand. For example, meth can cause severe paranoia. When the fellow asked me, "Who lives next door? Somebody there's been talking bad about me," all I could think of was an eleven-year-old boy (who was utterly harmless, of course). The fellow menacingly added: "That boy must think he's pretty tough." (All the voices he heard were imagined, of course.)

"Breaking Bad" Season 1 dramatized meth's paranoia very well when Jesse interpreted the knock of Mormon missionaries at the front door as being the menacing advance of heavily-armed bikers. Excellent work!

And the long, long sleeps! Twice, A. slept for nearly 24 hours on the floor of my garage. "Breaking Bad" effectively dramatized the passage of time during one of Jesse's long sleeps with beautiful, time-lapse photography of his parent's house from sunrise to sunset.

And the freakish nature of the drug trade. No trade demands a higher level of trust, and no trade has less of that vital property. The writers on this show understand well the constantly-changing, provisional nature of the drug trade; the deformed personalities, the bad faith.

But what slays me most of all, of course, is recognizing street scenes and seeing the dramatization of modern-day New Mexico.

Even as they weave a new story that strikes out in bold new directions these "Breaking Bad" folks are maintaining a striking fidelity to the landscape and the people of New Mexico. The "Breaking Bad" folks are not treating the New Mexico as other Hollywood folks sometimes have - as the storytelling equivalent of a "stop-and-rob" convenience store. The "Breaking Bad" folks are staying longer, and digging deeper....

Albuquerque has a different history than a lot of other cities in the American West. The Indian, Spanish, and American heritages collided in unusual ways. Albuquerque has less of that industrious Yankee imprint that is everywhere in Salt Lake City, for example. Albuquerque grew rapidly after World War II, but not as rapidly as Phoenix, so some of the older ways lingered (and linger still).

In my mind, Albuquerque tends to attract impractical dreamers. Not-so-much religious seekers, like Salt Lake City or San Francisco attract. No, Albuquerque attracts failed businessmen, failed radio hosts, failed accountants, and yes, failed chemists. The sort of people who don't understand why their plans never worked out.

The landscape of New Mexico can be mesmerizing. The "Breaking Bad" cinematographers fell in love with the beautiful Southwestern skies - sometimes full of beautiful clouds and sometimes devoid of them altogether. It's gorgeous!

Like many Western cities, there is a lot of terrain relief in Albuquerque. Thus, even incidental views of the horizon are packed with information regarding filming location. Every corner of the city has a different horizon, a different look, and they are all imprinted on the minds of every Albuquerque resident.

Despite the passing reference to Werner Heisenberg in the Atomic Museum (he headed up the Nazi A-Bomb effort), "Breaking Bad" has yet to fully-explain the reasons Walter White adopted the moniker "Heisenberg". Nevertheless, I can guess White's motivations. As physicists know, Werner Heisenberg is the brilliant 20th-Century German quantum physicist best known for the "Uncertainty Principle":
According to Heisenberg its meaning is that it is impossible to determine simultaneously both the position and velocity of an electron or any other particle with any great degree of accuracy or certainty.
or, more succinctly:

Similarly, one can know exactly where Walter White is, but not what he is doing, or one can know exactly what he is doing, but not where he is. One can never know both his location and his activities simultaneously. That's the conceit of the "Heisenberg" name!

I haven't watched many of the accompanying "The Making Of Breaking Bad" videos, but I did see one where Director Vince Gilligan called Walter White "the smartest dumb man he knows." The "Heisenberg" moniker is a perfect example. It's a clue! To a physical scientist, the nickname fairly-screams 'fellow physical scientist'. Even Hank Schrader should be able to see it!

We all tell stories to make sense of our world. Albuquerque, like other cities, has several clashing identities; all true in various respects: The Turquoise Trail, The Duke City; the crossroads of Rio Abajo; AT&SF rail center, the largest city in NM, a stopover on Route 66; Cold War capital not far from Trinity Site and Los Alamos; Space Age capital, a real estate frontier, etc., etc. The end of the Cold War imperils a huge part of Albuquerque's identity, however, and new tales - new stories - have to come forward to help explain the city to itself.

The dark shadow of drugs looming from the south, and peoples' desperate struggles with it, is a new way with which to view the city and its history and people. "Breaking Bad" is vivid and unforgettable, and will leave an imprint on the Albuquerque story - the New Mexico story - that will last a long time. Call "Breaking Bad" the imagination's blue crystal meth - just right for our new century!

The influence of New Mexico on "Breaking Bad" isn't just one-sided. Just as "Breaking Bad" is a different kind of television series for having been set in New Mexico, New Mexico will now be a different kind of place for having hosted "Breaking Bad". It's a grand demonstration of quantum indeterminacy. Space-time is now irreversibly altered! History will now move in a different direction, because of "Breaking Bad"!

Even though I live in California now, I yearned to see these places again, and find out where these nearly-recognizable places are located.

Interestingly, a part-time Albuquerque resident, Nancy Bymers, who went by the moniker "WallDruggie", experienced the same yearning, and she devoted a lot of effort to tracking these places down, taking pictures of them, and posting Google placemarks. Like me, she became obsessed with precise shooting locations.

So, I aimed to follow Walldruggie's example. When I visited Albuquerque during the last week of July, 2010 (and again in May, October, and December 2011), I followed her footsteps and got photos of the places she mentioned, plus others. It was fun being a tourist again in my hometown, and entering neighborhoods I had never entered before (because I never had any reason to before).

Indeed, I think being a sporadic Albuquerque resident is an important qualification for wanting to document these locations. For the most part, year-round Albuquerque residents are proud, and flattered, that the Hollywood folks see so much value in their city, but they don't obsess about it particularly. The shooting locations surround them in all directions. Besides, "Breaking Bad" is only one of several television shows (e.g., "In Plain Sight") set in Albuquerque. It's easy to get complacent and focus instead on day-to-day life. People like "WallDruggie" and myself have a harder time, though, because we are often too far away to easily satisfy our curiosity. We have to work harder at it.

It's also important to note that many of these locations already are well-known to Albuquerque residents, and they already have emotional resonances with them. The "Breaking Bad" story sometimes uses these locations in much different ways than Duke City residents are familiar with - completely orthogonal, sometimes - so an emotional dissonance occurs within their minds. That dissonance certainly occurs with me, as I hope to illustrate. A familiar consequence of that kind of dissonance is obsession....

After I returned to California, I was able to review episodes and use Google Earth's Street View utility feature to make reasonable guesses on other locations. I also devoted time to assembling a list of filming locations, grouped by neighborhood, that can be used by others as a check-off list by "Breaking Bad" aficionados. There are now several companies that advertise tours of filming locations in Albuquerque, including "Breaking Bad". ABQ Trolley is one of these companies. Certain limousine services may also be available. Various tours by private groups and individuals sometimes occur (e.g., The Unofficial Breaking Bad Fan Tour sometimes gives tours). As of October, 2013, Frank and Jackie Sandoval are now offering tours in their specially-designed Bounder RV (Breaking Bad RV Tours - phone no.: 505-514-5686). Nevertheless, because of scheduling conflicts or other problems, aficionados are often left largely to their own devices.

It's interesting how many of these buildings, residential or commercial, are available for rent, or to purchase. Facility availability was one of the key criteria used for choosing to use these buildings for the television series. One consequence is that a surprising number of sites have been quickly transformed since they were filmed. Actually, I’m shocked how quickly the physical locations of the story in Albuquerque have been erased and effaced, even before the series is properly finished. The Locations Scouts attempted to find places that were unused or underutilized, and they often succeeded in finding places just weeks away from the wrecking ball. The Chicken Farm, Saul’s Office, Beneke’s, Casa Tranquila: all transformed! And there are new threats too. For example, on December 20, 2013 the Flamenco Arts Dance Studio burned down (a very short distance from several "Breaking Bad" locations). So, there is a real ephemeral quality about the locations of the series. Apropos, really, of the drug trade!

Beginning on July 6, 2011, a blog reader named "OldeSaultie" (Sven Joli) and I began collaborating on finding many of these filming locations (particularly the harder sites). "OldeSaultie" has excellent Web talents, and we worked well as a team. In particular, he stopped my errors of misplaced enthusiasm before they hit print and caused confusion.

Many of the locations mentioned in this particular post have already been mentioned by "WallDruggie". These filming locations are the core destinations for people who want to visit "Breaking Bad" filming locations.

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To'hajiilee

To'hajiilee (formerly Cañoncito). The Navajos in this region have a complicated history of estrangement from the rest of their brethren, but these days, things seem peaceful and pleasant out here. (Indeed, I wondered if "Breaking Bad" is actually a parable about the Old West: I recently wrote an essay about it here).

To'hajiilee Community School. The area used in the opening scenes of "Breaking Bad" is about 1.4 miles west of this location. On Google Earth, the road is labelled Trail 7089, or also (confusingly) Route 7039. The turnoff is unmarked, however, so caution is required to avoid getting mixed up.

When you turn onto Trail 7089, you are immediately confronted with choosing three, diverging, unmarked roads. The road to the left leads to private residences. The road in the middle leads to the hilltop church. You want the road to the right.


Horses graze along the road. Caution is required to avoid hitting them.


Beautiful young horses!


Descending into Walt's Valley of Angst (35.101197°, -107.135481°). Prudence is recommended in this area, however, because people live just a short distance from this location.








Prominent rock around which the RV drives.








Within about 100 feet of Walt's first stand.








"Yeah, nothing but cows."

"That's a big cow house way out that way, like, two miles, but I don't see nobody."

"Cow house?"

"Yeah ... where they live... the cows. Well, whatever man. Yeah, let's cook here!"


Walt returns to this very spot in Season 5b to hide his enormous pile of money.








An equine farewell.


More on To'hajiilee in my Season 5b post.



Illustration above by Goha Waszkiewicz in Poznan, Poland


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The High Schools Of Breaking Bad

To my knowledge, four campuses have been used for the filming of Breaking Bad's J.P. Wynne High School: Rio Rancho High School; Central New Mexico (CNM) Westside Campus; as well as Eldorado and Highland High Schools in Albuquerque.


J.P. Wynne High School (1), Administration Building, 301 Loma Colorado NE, Rio Rancho.

(Season 1, episode 1, "Breaking Bad") Walter juggles stolen lab equipment on the steps of the Scimatics Building.

(Season 1, episode 2, "The Cat's In The Bag") The administration building is often shown.

The day I visited Rio Rancho High School in May, 2010, I asked to take pictures of the campus, particularly the 'Scimatics' building, which is featured in "Breaking Bad". Even though there were very few students on campus late in July, I was denied entry. The campus was being used to film "Fright Night" and I was assured my presence would make the campus' safety officer 'freak out'. And I wasn't even in costume!


When I returned to Rio Rancho High School at the very end of 2011, the campus was closed yet again, for the holidays.




J.P. Wynne High School (2), Mr. Archuleta gets arrested (Season 1, Episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'").

Central New Mexico (CNM) Westside Campus, 10549 Universe Blvd NW.

Several scenes in Season 1 of "Breaking Bad" were filmed at the CNM campus on Albuquerque's northwest side, including J.P. Wynne High School (2), including where Mr. Archuleta gets arrested.

Here is a typical bathroom at CNM, one of which was featured on "Breaking Bad", where Walt pounds the towel dispenser (Season 2, episode 9, "Four Days Out"), and much later (Season 5, episode 1, "Live Free Or Die") he notices the pounded towel dispenser, and remembers.


J.P. Wynne High School (3), Eldorado High School, 11300 Montgomery Blvd. NE (Season 1, episode 7, "No Rough Stuff"; Season 2, episode 6, "Peekaboo"; Season 2, episode 8, "Better Call Saul"; Season 2, episode 11, "Mandala"; Season 3, episode 4, "Green Light")

Starting in Season 2 of the "Breaking Bad" TV series, on-campus high school scenes were filmed at another Albuquerque High School. This high school is Eldorado High School, close to the mountains in Albuquerque's Northeast Heights. Walt and Jesse squabble in Eldorado High School's parking lot about the quality of crystal-blue meth. A sidelong view of this wall (which honors the Eldorado Eagles - seen above, obscured by the pine tree) is evident in the background as they fight.


Science!

Eldorado High School was used again in the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad, with Walt and Flynn's telephone talk (Season 5b, episode 15, "Granite State").


The school assembly scene at the start of season 3 was filmed at Highland High School, 4700 Coal Avenue SE, near San Mateo and Lead..





J.P. Wynne High School (4), Gymnasium, Highland High School Gym (Season 3, episode 1, "No Mas"). Walt discusses Tenerife's double jumbo jet catastrophe with a class assembly.

I don't yet have a picture of Highland High School Gym, but "WallDruggie" does, and this is her picture.


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Season 1 Filming Locations

Northeast Heights Locations (E. of Wyoming, W. of Juan Tabo, S. of Osuna)

Walter & Skyler White's home, at 3828 Piermont NE (North of Comanche). Seen in almost every episode!

This house is used for exterior shots: interior shots are done at "Q" Studios.

In the TV series, the address is given as '328 Negro Arroyo'.
Particularly later in the series, people often state the address as '328 Negra Arroyo', mangling the Spanish, with its grammatical requirement that adjective and noun match gender. I'm not sure why they do that, except that English speakers often mangle the Spanish language.

The value of the home is given here as $183,556.

This home is a family's real residence so please don't make a nuisance of yourself there when you pass by!


A1A Car Wash, Octopus Car Wash, Eubank and Menaul NE, 9516 Snow Heights Circle NE.

By Season 5a, episode 7, "Say My Name" the car wash had a name: the A1A Car Wash.

When I lived in Albuquerque in the late 1970's, I remember patronizing this car wash just once. I was just a low-paid UNM student though, and couldn't make a habit of coming regularly to this high-end establishment.



Upper Northeast Heights Locations (E. of Juan Tabo)

J.P. Wynne High School (3) was filmed at Eldorado High School (see 'The High Schools of Breaking Bad', above).


Northeast Heights Locations (N. Of Osuna)

NE Heights Sunset (Season 1, episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'"). Time lapse (Part 1 - Sunset).

Near Paseo del Norte Blvd. & Lowell Drive NE. On inside face of Domingo Baca Dam.

(35.172985ø, -106.509091ø)
NE Heights - View of Sandias, Holbrook St. & Alameda Blvd. NE (Season 1, Episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'"). Part of montage sequence (35.184350°, -106.532984°).


Lower Northeast Heights Locations (W. of Wyoming), & Lomas Blvd. Corridor

Danny's Auto Service, 5018 Lomas NE.

(Season 1, episode 4, "Cancer Man") Walt blows up Ken Wins' BMW.

(Season 2, episode 5, "Breakage") This appears in a montage of meth sales.
Pudge Brothers Pizza, 5003 Lomas Blvd. NE.

(Season 1, episode 4, "Cancer Man")

(Season 2, episode 5, "Breakage") This appears in a montage of meth sales.


Clark's Pet Emporium, 4914 Lomas NE.

(Season 1, episode 4, "Cancer Man") Walt eyes Ken Wins' BMW from near here.


Clark's Pet Emporium, 4914 Lomas NE. (Season 2, episode 5, "Breakage") Combo sells drugs here in montage.



Downtown - Business Core

The Federal Bldg. (where the DEA is housed) is portrayed by the Simms Building, 4th and Gold SW. Here is the lobby of the Simms Building.

Note: Albuquerque's real Federal Building is nearby - the Simms Building is not the real Federal Building!

(First seen in Season 1, episode 4, "Cancer Man")

DEA office scenes were filmed on the 9th floor.

Simms Building.

The Federal Bldg. (where the DEA is housed) is portrayed by the Simms Building, 4th and Gold SW.

(First seen in Season 1, episode 4, "Cancer Man")

DEA office scenes were filmed on the 9th floor.
Simms Building.

The Federal Bldg (where the DEA is housed) is portrayed by the Simms Building, 4th and Gold SW. First seen in: Season 1, episode 4, "Cancer Man". DEA office scenes are filmed on the 9th floor.

For the sake of convenience, in Seasons 4 and 5, the DEA office filming was not done in the Simms Bldg., but was done across the street, in the NM Bank & Trust building.


Occidental Bldg., 3rd and Gold SW. Badger works as a sign waver outside this building as his probation job.

(Season 1, episode 5, "Gray Matter")


Arroyo Realty (or, at least, that's what the label said on the glass window as Jesse exited the building). Currently, it's called Halflife Digital, at 3rd and Gold SW, across the street from the Occidental Building.

Jesse gets his job interview here.

(Season 1, episode 5, "Gray Matter")
Alley, Between Central and Gold SW, Behind 313 Gold Ave. SW.

(Season 1, episode 5, "Gray Matter") Behind The Library bar, Jesse and Badger smoke a joint.

(Season 2, episode 5, "Breakage") Junkie chase scene.
First Methodist Episcopal Church, 314 Lead SW.

(Season 1, episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'") This church appears in a time lapse shot. The church appears at several other times during the TV series, for example, in Walt's race west to To'hajiilee (Season 5b, episode 13, "To'hajiilee").
First Methodist Episcopal Church, 314 Lead SW.

(Season 1, episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'") This church appears in a time lapse shot. The church appears at several other times during the TV series, for example, in Walt's race west to To'hajiilee (Season 5b, episode 13, "To'hajiilee").
Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico, 616 Central Ave SW. The Family 1st Clothing Store is portrayed here. In the television series, the address number above the door is flipped to show '919' rather than '616'.

(Season 1, episode 1, "Pilot")


Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico, 616 Central Ave SW. The Family 1st Clothing Store is portrayed here. In the series, the address number above the door is flipped to show '919' rather than '616'.

(Season 1, episode 1, "Pilot")


Bernalillo County Courthouse Annex, Corner of 5th and Tijeras NW (Season 1, episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'"). Time lapse (part 3 - Sunrise). The sunrise over Bernalillo County Courthouse is viewed in-between 5th and 6th Streets from the Albuquerque Petroleum Bldg., 500 Marquette Avenue NW.

The Courthouse seen again when Walter is released after attacking a highway cop (Season 3, episode 2, "Caballo sin Nombre"). Also, Jesse is released from here after ricin poisoning theory fails (Season 4, episode 13, "Face Off").



Downtown West, and Central Avenue West


Tuco's Headquarters, 906 Park Ave SW, (Downtown Java Joe's Cafe).

(Season 1, episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'") Colorful mural on this building!


Tuco's Headquarters, 906 Park Ave SW, (Downtown Java Joe's Cafe).

(Season 1, episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'") Colorful mural on this building!


Inside Downtown Java Joe's.

The Express Inn, 1020 Central Ave. SW.

(Season 1, episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'") Hank and Gomez meet to exchange information here. Also, Jesse sells drugs here.
Liu's Chinese Fast Food Restaurant, 2056 Central Ave. SW.

(Season 1, episode 4, "Cancer Man") Combo calls Jesse while standing out in front of this restaurant.

(July 2014: This restaurant is now called Central Grill and Coffee House.)

Garcia's Cafe (on Central), 1736 Central Ave. SW.

(Season 1, episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'")

(Season 2, episode 5, "Breakage") Appears here too?

(Season 4, episode 4, "Bullet Points") Shown in a time lapse sequence.

(Season 4, episode 5, "Shotgun") Jesse picks up Mike here.

Party house (Season 1, Episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'"). Montage - Part 2.

These casitas are behind Garcia's Cafe. They appear to have been remodeled fairly-recently.

It was amusing to confirm that these two small apartments behind Garcia's Restaurant were indeed the ones used on Breaking Bad. I parked in front of the apartments and watched as the Hispanic folks who appeared to live in the apartments gathered to work on car repair. One woman in particular, seemed to be the leader. She emerged from one apartment, and with her piercings and tattoos, she looked pretty intimidating. Together, her, her familia, and their friends, all looked pretty formidable.

I approached them and asked if it was OK to photograph these apartments. The lady was gruff, and said: "No. You'll have to ask the owner, at Garcia's Restaurant, for permission." Then I explained I was a tourist from California and how Garcia's Restaurant had been featured on 'Breaking Bad.' They smiled, and said they were already familiar with that. The lady asked what part of California I was from, and I said Sacramento. She explained she had lived in San Jose until recently, so we had northern California in common. I explained further that these two casitas, in addition to Garcia's, were also featured on 'Breaking Bad.' You could tell from her shocked grin that she did not know this, and that it tickled her that she was living in a famous apartment. We started laughing together, and she said: "Look, I'm going to look away, and I don't know nothin'." And so, I got a photo!

The Dog House, 1216 Central Ave. SW.

(Season 1, episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'") Montage sequence.

(Season 2, episode 1, "737") Jesse buys a gun.

(Season 5, episode 9, "Blood Money") Jesse hands a packet of money to a surprised homeless man.

Wash Tub Laundry, 1105 Central Ave NW.

(Season 1, episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'")

Jesse makes meth sales here in the montage.


Wash Tub Laundry


Wash Tub Laundry


Near Old Town, Huning Castle & ABQ Country Club

Mr. and Mrs. Pinkman's house, Corner of 11th and Roma NW.

(Season 1, episode 4, "Cancer Man") Pinkman House exterior

(Season 2, episode 2, "Grilled")

(Season 2, episode 4, "Down")

Jesse Pinkman's house, 16th and Los Alamos SW.

(First seen in Season 1, episode 1, "Breaking Bad") Jesse returns here in Season 3.

"OldeSaultie" notes that the location where Crazy-8 runs into a tree while fleeing Walt is nearby (Season 1, episode 2, "Cat's In The Bag...": 16th & Silver).

"Breaking Bad" leaves out a few historical details, like why Jesse's neighborhood is so nice in the first place. I don't know the facts myself, but if I had to guess, I'd say it wasn't because of any bureaucratic influence - any of the Albuquerque Planning Department's works, for example - but because of the looming influence of Franz Huning on the neighborhood's early development. Huning was a merchant pioneer of the Old West, and had a will of iron. Huning was determined not to live in a bad neighborhood, and he had the swag to ruthlessly push aside anything that didn't look like it fit. Huning's absence is keenly felt today: Jesse Pinkman would have been drummed out of the neighborhood in minutes in Huning's day!


Castle Huning Plaque in the Laguna Blvd. SW center divider.

Jesse Pinkman's house, 16th and Los Alamos SW.

(First seen in Season 1, episode 1, "Pilot") Jesse returns here in Season 3.

Jesse Pinkman's house, 16th and Los Alamos SW.

(First seen in Season 1, episode 1, "Pilot") Jesse returns here in Season 3.

Walt & Skyler on the drive to Elliott and Gretchen's party. Laguna Blvd. SW, heading SW, from about Chacoma to about San Carlos Dr. SW. (Season 1, episode 5, "Gray Matter"). Gift-wrapped ramen.

Barelas & San Jose Neighborhood Locations

(no new locations offered in this update).


Huning Highlands/ Martineztown Locations

(no new locations offered in this update).


University Locations, & Near Presbyterian Hospital

Yellow Houses, 210 Mulberry St. NE (Season 1, episode 3, "Bag's In The River").

Hank arrests druggies & talks to Marie.

The house in the foreground has been demolished and removed since the "Breaking Bad" episode was filmed.
Driving around on the wrong side of Central Avenue in October, 2011, in an attempt to find these yellow houses, I caught the attention of Presbyterian Hospital Security. They started following me in their dark vehicle.

"Why are they following me?" I wondered. Then I turned the corner and saw that the folks at Presbyterian Hospital were loading more than twenty bright red-orange barrels into a transport truck. Even the folks at the Superlab couldn't manage more than one barrel at a time! What do they do over there at Presbyterian Hospital anyway?

Crossroads Motel, 1001 Central Ave. NE, Central Ave and I-25.

This place makes me laugh! It's across the street from Presbyterian Hospital, where I was born!

(Season 1, episode 3, "Bag's In The River") Hank warns Walter Jr. about pot.

(Season 2, episode 3, "Bit By A Dead Bee") Jesse gets arrested here.

(Season 3, episode 12, "Half Measures") The Associations' song "Windy".


(07/24/11) Recently, I viewed the Season 3 DVD commentary (for Season 3, Episode 12, featuring 'Wendy') where some of writers excitedly said that the Crossroads Motel was a real Meth Motel, and noted that they had observed a prostitute in the parking lot there. PLEASE! The Crossroads Motel deserves better!

Prostitution has been a sporadic problem on Central Avenue for decades, and sometimes occurs here, as it has occurred up and down Central, and at probably every single motel in the United States, at one time or another. Plus, prostitution does not imply drug troubles! The causality is not established!

When I look at the Crossroads Motel, I don't see a Meth Motel. I see a place that caters heavily to people whose relatives are in medical trouble (it's located directly across from Presbyterian Hospital). So please! It's not a bad place. By all means, patronize it when making your "Breaking Bad" trip to Albuquerque. It'll give your acquaintances a thrill to see just how daring you are! You "Broke Bad" (yet risked almost nothing)!

"Wendy's Alley" is located behind Crossroads Motel, 1001 Central Ave. NE, (Season 3, episode 12, "Half Measures").


Tri-H Convenience store, 225 Yale SE.

Marie and Skyler pass out 'Walt's missing' pamphlets here.

(Season 1, episode 5, "Gray Matter")

(Season 2, episode 4, "Down")

(Season 2, episode 5, "Breakage")



Nob Hill Locations

Trendy clothing store, Revolver Vintage Clothing, 3507 Central Ave. NE (Season 1, Episode 7, "No Rough Stuff Type Deal"). Likely location where Marie & Skyler talk.

Nob Hill Shopping center on Central Avenue, as seen on a very rainy night.

Gertrude Zachary's Jewelers, 3300 Central Ave SE, (Season 1, episode 7, "No Rough Stuff Type Deal").

Marie shoplifts the baby tiara here.

When I was in high school, one of my classmates was Cindy Z. Is she related to Gertrude Z.? I wonder what she's doing these days?

Kelly's Brew Pub, 3222 Central Ave SE, (Season 1, episode 7, "No Rough Stuff Type Deal").

Skyler stands on the corner outside Gertrude Zachary's, with Kelly's sign in the background.



Central Avenue East Locations

(no new locations offered in this update).


South Valley Locations (West of River, including Pajarito Mesa)

Mesa Credit Union, South Valley Economic Development Center, 318 Isleta Blvd SW.

(Season 1, episode 4, "Cancer Man") Ken Wins takes Walt's parking space.

Mesa Credit Union, South Valley Economic Development Center, 318 Isleta Blvd SW.

(Season 1, episode 4, "Cancer Man") Ken Wins takes Walt's parking space.


South Valley Locations (East of River)

Junkyard, All Mini Trucks, 5500 Broadway SE. Heisenberg and Jesse rendezvous with Tuco and colleagues here.

(Season 1, episode 7, "No Rough Stuff")

(Season 2, episode 1, "737")
On my New Year's 2012 visit, I noticed that All Mini Trucks has disappeared. An empty field is now at this site.
Hardware Store, Rak's Building Supply, 205 Rio Bravo SW (Season 1, episode 2, "The Cat's In The Bag"). Jesse checks out the plastic tubs on the store's shelves.
The store personnel here marveled at how the "Breaking Bad" crew virtually-remodeled the entire store, changing the decor and the hardware being offered for sale, all for improving the visual impact of the scene.


Guarded industrial facility, Southside Water Reclamation Plant (SWRP), Cogeneration Facility, west side of building, 4021 Second St. SW (Season 1, episode 7, "No Rough Stuff Type Deal"). Walt & Jesse steal a methylamine barrel from Southwestern Analyn (sp.?).

Hank reviews security camera footage again (Season 2, episode 1, "737"; and also Season 2, episode 3, "Bit By A Dead Bee").

This location, together with the Railyards, has been used in other movie and television shows (for example, that barrel storage building, and the 2nd St. Sewage Facility were also featured in Jackie Chan's "The Spy Next Door" (2010).


Southeast Heights Locations

(no new locations offered in this update).


Near "Q" Studios

Left: I-25 Overpass, Bobby Foster Rd. & I-25.

(Season 1, Episode 3 "The Bag's In The River")

Walt reflects here after killing Krazy Eight.

Road scene, University Blvd. SE (Season 1, episode 4, "Cancer Man"). Paranoid Walt thinks he's being pursued.

Walt's heading southbound, towards "Q" Studios, but he looks back to the north, from where the police car is coming.

(35.014162ø, -106.634510ø)

Fanciful rattlesnake sculptures can be found in the median of University Blvd. near this location (but not shown on "Breaking Bad" as of yet).


Desert locations with the Manzano Mountains backdrop. Plains south of Q Studios. Numerous, scattered locations (example - Season 1, episode 5, "Gray Matter").
Most desert locations, like cook sites, are on that portion of the East Mesa south of Q Studios).


"Q" Studios

Left: Albuquerque Studios (aka "Q" Studios) is the home for "Breaking Bad". Many scenes are shot within, or just outside, the studio.



Oncology Clinic (1), (Season 1, Episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'"). Walt returns to this location in Season 5b (Season 5, episode 9, "Blood Money").

This site is at Albuquerque's Q Studios. The wall visible through the doors appears to be the fence surrounding Q Studios.


The Big I, and (mostly industrial) I-25 Corridor, North


Long shot of the Big-I, Intersection of I-40 & I-25 (Season 1, Episode 1, "Pilot"). Walt's ambulance trip passes through the Big-I. The Big-I is also seen in a time lapse sequence in Season 5a, episode 1, "Live Free Or Die".


The Big-I, as seen from the Spearmint Rhino Gentleman's Club, on University Blvd.





The Big-I


Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Park is a "Breaking Bad" filming location (Season 1, Episode 3, "Bag's In The River").


According to reader 'OldeSaultie' the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum is the location of both the shoe store where Marie shoplifts a pair of shoes, and the location of the 'Human Body Classroom', where Walt and Gretchen discuss the composition of the human body.


Pugash Hall (seen here from the east) is the location of both the shoe store where Marie shoplifts a pair of shoes, and the location of the 'Human Body Classroom', where Walt and Gretchen discuss the composition of the human body.


Human Body Classroom (Pugash Hall).


Human Body Classroom (Pugash Hall).


Human Body Classroom (Pugash Hall).


Nighttime freeway view (1), Odelia Rd. NE and I-25 (Season 1, episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'").

Time lapse (part 4).

North side of overpass, looking north.


Nighttime freeway view (2), Odelia Rd. NE and I-25 (Season 1, episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'").

Time lapse (part 4).

This view is on the south side of the overpass, looking east (Breaking Bad featured a similar view, but on the north side of the overpass, looking east.



North Valley Locations


Birthday Party, 5001 Rio Grande Lane NW, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM (Season 1, Episode 5, "Gray Matter").

The Whites attend a birthday party for Walt's old colleague, Elliott Schwartz.

Please note this is NOT the same place as Elliott and Gretchen's new Tesuque home (Season 5b, episode 16, "Felina": see the Season 5b post).


Birthday Party, 5001 Rio Grande Lane NW, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM (Season 1, Episode 5, "Gray Matter").

The Whites attend a birthday party for Walt's old colleague, Elliott Schwartz.


Railroad view (looking north), near Griegos Rd RR Crossing (35.129232°, -106.635109°) Season 1, Episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'"). Part of montage sequence.



Corrales Locations

(no new locations offered with this update)


Rio Rancho Locations


Jesse & Emilio's Sage House, 3416 Lockerbie Drive, Rio Rancho, NM (Season 1, episode 1, "Pilot"). The 'sage' house is a one-story bldg near end of the block.

Following the lead provided by JC in Rio Rancho, who lives on Lockerbie Drive and left a message in blogpost comments, I came to this location near the Golf Course to see what's up here.


The house with the nice lady was apparently next door.

It's hard to tell exact locations in this neighborhood, where Emilio and Jesse had their drug lab, because AMREP, Rio Rancho's ticky-tack developer, loves to use interchangeable floor plans everywhere they build! There is at least one other house on this street that looks exactly like this house does, and maybe many more look identical to it in the immediate neighborhood.


Since 2007, when the pilot for "Breaking Bad" was filmed, the trees along this street have grown considerably. The street no longer has that "raw" look it did on TV.


J.P. Wynne High School (1) was originally filmed at Rio Rancho High School (see 'The High Schools of Breaking Bad', above).


Mesa Credit Union, Loma Colorado Library, 755 Loma Colorado NE, Rio Rancho.

(Season 1, episode 1, "Pilot") Walt withdraws his cash and gives it to Jesse, in order to buy an RV.

(Season 3, episode 5, "Mas") A reprise.


Rio Rancho High School, and neighboring buildings, such as the library, aquatic center, and skating rink, didn't exist when I lived in New Mexico (I left NM for graduate school in Arizona in 1980).

When I was in high school, in the early 1970's, I loved leaving my Corrales home to make long hikes into Rio Rancho's backcountry. Loma Colorado is about the farthest I felt comfortable hiking in one day. I loved Loma Colorado; the large, red hill! (Also, for those of you speak Spanish, and wonder why the adjective 'Colorado' doesn't match the gender of the noun 'Loma': well, that's how they roll in Rio Rancho!)

Much has changed in the area over the last four decades, and before. Archaeologists have found campsites in Rio Rancho, suggesting that Ice Age hunters with Folsom points used the area as a hunting ground. Even though the Rio Grande now runs several miles to the east, it's valley used to wander out here (I don't know the precise timing - it could have done so both during and before the most recent Ice Age).

Loma Colorado is apparently a cliff where the Rio Grande used to form an oxbow, similar to what it has done in recent years in the vicinity of St. Pius High School (formerly St. Joseph' College, aka University of Albuquerque). The ancient, red Rio Grande river mud is frozen into rock on the hillside there. It's a thought-provoking place!

Seeing how rapidly Rio Rancho was growing, I feared for the future of Loma Colorado, and worried that the offroad vehicle people would destroy the place. Indeed, as you can see in the background of the photo, they've certainly damaged the hill, but with these new structures in place, and with less offroading right here, maybe some of the damage will slow, or maybe even heal.

It never occurred to me back in high school that the area would ever feature a school! And it never occurred to me that it would be dramatized as the place where Walter White would take his life savings out of the Mesa Credit Union and hand them to Jesse Pinkman, a small-time drug dealer, to initiate a new, bold venture!


Library at Loma Colorado, 755 Loma Colorado NE, Rio Rancho.


Library at Loma Colorado, 755 Loma Colorado NE, Rio Rancho.


Driveway outside Oncology clinic, (Season 1, Episode 4, "Cancer Man"). Presbyterian Primary Care Clinic, 4005 High Resort Blvd., Rio Rancho, NM, (35.250746ø, -106.656049ø)

Interesting pillars and building! The four-wing saltbush adjacent to the building seemed unusually-healthy (probably due to focused drainage. I even saw a jackrabbit here!



Northwest Albuquerque


Cancer Support Group (Season 1, Episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'").

This is the CNM Westside Campus, also (and confusingly) known as the CNM Main Campus, at 10549 Universe Blvd NW.

Also, J.P. Wynne High School (2), Mr. Archuleta gets arrested (Season 1, Episode 6, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'").


The Cancer Support Group scene with Walt, Skyler, and Flynn appears to have been filmed in this foyer, in the central part of the building on the east side of the campus.



West Mesa Locations (except Pajarito Mesa)


Hank's TV Interview (Season 1, Episode 1, "Pilot"). Meth Lab Seizure.

Likely near 2708 Vista Grande Dr. NW (at Westcliffe), with the Meth Lab seizure at approximately 4958 Paseo del Rey NW (where it intersects with Vista Grande).


This isn't quite the view, but it's close. (I wanted to photograph from the rear wall of the Paseo del Rey residence, but the owner appeared to be in the back yard at the time I visited.)


Back in the 70's, when my friends and I were attending nearby West Mesa High School, and sometimes passed through this neighborhood, my friend Walt often made a point of stopping at the nearby intersection of Vista Grande NW, and Grande Vista NW. The dyslexic coincidence of street names seemed too perfect: as if maybe a wormhole to another dimension were to be found here. And perhaps he was right; this place, after all, is where Hank Schrader makes his first appearance in the TV series!


Krazy Eight's Place (Season 1, Episode 1, "Pilot"). 4900 El Aguila Place NW.


This neighborhood has some of the best views in Albuquerque, but because the views didn't figure into the story, they weren't seen in "Breaking Bad".


High above the river!


Krazy Eight's Place, as seen from the bike trail on the east side of the river.




By Geoff Gunning in the U.K.



Southwest Albuquerque

(no new locations offered in this update)


Sandia And Manzano Mountain Locations

Sandia Crest, Shot near Tramway's top (Season 1, episode 7, "No Rough Stuff Type Deal"). Time lapse shot near tramway's top, (35.196356ø, -106.434221ø)


To'hajiilee Locations

See To'hajiilee Locations, at top of post. The area used in the opening scenes of "Breaking Bad" is about 1.4 miles west of To'hajiilee Community School. On Google Earth, the road is labelled Trail 7089. The turnoff is unmarked, however, so caution is required to avoid getting mixed up.


Cabezon Locations

(no new locations offered in this update)


Locations Near Los Lunas And Belen

(no new locations offered in this update)


Locations Near San Ysidro, Santa Ana, San Felipe & Zia

(no new locations offered in this update)


Bernalillo/Placitas Locations

(no new locations offered in this update)


Santa Fe & Lamy Locations

(no new locations offered in this update)


More Distant Locations

(no new locations offered in this update)



The Haunting Impact Of Meth


James McMurtry "Choctaw Bingo"



Life in Meth-klahoma.

New Mexico has been hit by the scourge of methamphetamine addiction, but it is not the worst-hit place in the United States (Indiana may be). The Greater Ozarks area has been hit hard too, as James McMurtry's song illustrates.

Here's a wonderful article in the New York Times:
Walter may have wanted us to believe — and may, at moments, have convinced himself — that he was a decent man driven by desperate circumstances to do terrible things, but that notion was either wishful thinking or tactical deceit. ... “Breaking Bad” reveals itself as the story of a man mastering his vocation and fighting to claim his rightful place in the world. Its dark, morally scandalous vision has been imposed on the kind of tale that is, more conventionally, an inspiring parable of entrepreneurial gumption. This formula turns out to be well suited to the times.

This fellow suggests the song should be our new national anthem:
Here's where this song is so amazingly prophetic. Looking at it now, through the lens of the crash, you can see how it envisions the American economy as nothing more than an elaborate Choctaw bingo enterprise, with lots of flashing lights to lure in the unwary and the unlucky, a system that, for all its fancy formulas and talk of risk assignment, is nothing more than a sucker's game. And later in the song, McMurtry explicitly names the scam at the heart of it: subprime mortgages.

I knew "Breaking Bad" was having a deep subconscious impact in New Mexico, but it's impact may be deepest of all on the meth addicts:
He thought he was breaking into a Breaking Bad set, but an Albuquerque man reportedly high on meth needed to take his rake elsewhere.

Neighbors in the 1600 block of Coal Avenue said a confused looking man was digging with a rake outside a home in southeast Albuquerque, according to a criminal complaint.

That man, Christopher Moulin, later told police he was looking for a hidden key outside the home he thought was a set for the popular TV show Breaking Bad.

The homeowners said they did not know anything about a TV production set, nor did they know Moulin.

...The officer asked Moulin if he had any drugs in his possession, and he reportedly told the officer he had a bag of meth in his front pocket. The officer found three small bags of meth in Moulin’s right pocket and later found more drugs at his home, the criminal complaint states.

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:12 AM

    thanks for all this leg work on the locations we will have fun checking some of them out-does Hank and Marie's house have an address?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, it's 4901 Cumbre Del Sur NE. The reason it's not on this page is because it first shows up in Season 2.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous4:35 PM

    Wow, this is so cool. You're awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous11:50 PM

    Awesome!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous3:31 AM

    I'm looking for floor plans of Jesse Pinkman's house.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never seen such a floor plan, but if I hear of one, I'll reply here.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous7:58 PM

      I love Jesse's house.

      Delete
  6. Location of the set matters in shooting a great scene. A Residential Filming Locations can be one of a great location if they can be used properly.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks so much for all this info! It was really helpful. We visited a few locations to do some sceneframing - you'll see what that means if you visit our blog :) I've added thanks & a link to your blog: http://fangirlquest.tumblr.com/post/84928252956

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AWESOME! Glad to have been of help!

      Delete