Cool pics of San Diego’s new downtown library!

The new central library as seen from the intersection of K Street and 11th Avenue.
The new central library has become a dazzling landmark in San Diego’s East Village.

Here are a few more cool pics of San Diego’s brand new Central Library! I took these photographs today after the ceremony celebrating the grand opening. Check out the modern, inventive architecture of this truly eye-popping downtown landmark!

The first photo is from 11th Avenue and K Street, in the heart of East Village, facing roughly northeast. This is the way you’d likely go if walking from Petco Park. What you see is just a fraction of the cool sight to come…

view of new san diego library from south

Here’s a photograph from almost due south. Wow! Beautiful landscaping and palm trees complement the distinctive building, which features a metal lattice dome and a gigantic, airy reading room. Other features include an auditorium, community meeting rooms, a sculpture garden . . . even a downtown high school occupying two floors!

photo of new san diego library and trolley

Now we’re looking toward the northwest. Here comes a red San Diego trolley! Views from the trolley are very cool. You can peer up and into the lower windows of the new library. During the past couple months, riding the trolley, I watched as shelves of books slowly appeared as if by magic throughout the spacious building. Our old downtown library was less than half the size, ugly, and lacked many amenities.

wise words on exterior of san diego library

From the trolley and nearby sidewalk you can also see a handful of wise quotes engraved in the library’s concrete exterior. Here’s a pic of the following inscription: WE WILL BE KNOWN FOREVER BY THE TRACKS WE LEAVE.

UPDATE!

I walked around the now “relatively new” library in early November 2014 and took more pics…

Looking up into the modern library from the southwest corner.
Looking up into the very large library from the southwest corner.
Reflection in west side windows shows colorful building across the street.
Reflection in west side windows shows colorful building across the street.
Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat walks along a north window.
Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat walks along a north window.
Angled glass windows along passage on Park Boulevard side of complex building.
Angled glass windows along passage on Park Boulevard side of complex building.
Closer exterior look at intricate dome around library's huge reading room.
Closer exterior look at intricate dome around library’s huge reading room.
New San Diego Public Library in East Village shines in sunlight.
The distinctive San Diego Public Library in East Village shines in the sunlight.

San Diego’s new library has a grand opening!

people arrive for san diego library celebration

Check out these photos of the new San Diego Central Library’s grand opening! Located in East Village, one block from Petco Park, the new downtown library is a state-of-the-art multi-use facility containing a high school, job training center, auditorium, art gallery, sculpture courtyard, terraces with amazing city and bay views, roof gardens, and half a dozen community meeting rooms. Thirty years in the making, it’s enormous, beautiful and really amazing!

At the “Celebration and Sneak Peek” event, held late this morning, dignitaries, local politicians and benefactors gathered on an outdoor stage to dedicate the new library. A large crowd gathered to watch and applaud, showing great enthusiasm for San Diego’s new urban landmark.

The first photo, above, shows the festive arch through which many attendees arrived. On it are the words: THE STORY BEGINS. DISCOVER YOUR NEXT CHAPTER. The various colorful condos and office buildings you see are located in San Diego’s thriving East Village neighborhood.

navy band arrives for new library dedication

The second photo shows members of the regional Navy Band assembling by some tents not far from the stage. They would perform during the historic ceremony. The yellowish-orange building on the right is a tiny glimpse of Petco Park.

san diego gay men's chorus performs

The next photo shows the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus performing while dignitaries gather on the stage. The diverse crowd has become quite large and enthusiastic.

colorful people in crowd at library opening

A variety of costumed people could be spotted in the audience, and among the large crowds surrounding the library. They looked like roving characters from a Shakespeare Festival!

presentation of colors at library grand opening

Everyone here is watching the presentation of colors, just before the speeches begin. The kids in front of the stage are the San Diego Children’s Choir, who sang their hearts out. At the podium stands interim San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.

big crowd at san diego library grand opening

Here’s a wider photograph of the ceremony, taken while the requisite speeches were underway. The unique open metal dome of the new San Diego Central Library shines brilliantly in the sun!

kids have fun at san diego library celebration

Lastly, here’s a pic taken on 11th Avenue beside our fantastic, functional new downtown library. Numerous booths were attracting a stream of curious people. Information concerning community services, activities, educational opportunities, and all sorts of interesting stuff was made available to the public. This booth encouraged young kids to sing and create their own art.

The new library opens to the public for its first full day this coming Monday!

Cruise ship and harbor tour boats at dock.

cruise ship and harbor tour boats at dock

This photo was taken from Navy Pier just south of the Broadway Pier. It shows a cluster of Hornblower and Flagship harbor excursion boats, plus the big Celebrity Solstice cruise ship at the San Diego cruise ship terminal. If you were to turn to the right, you’d see the historic Santa Fe train depot and shining downtown skyline closeby.

The red, white and blue Patriot speed boat is a new addition to the growing fleet of tour and charter boats seen daily on our beautiful Big Bay!

The following pics were taken on another day:

Harbor cruise ships and a Water Taxi next to Broadway Pier.
Harbor tour ships and a Water Taxi next to Broadway Pier.
Harbor cruise photographer get photographed!
Harbor tour photographer gets photographed!
People linger on dock near water taxis.
People linger on dock near water taxis.
Harbor cruise ships with Navy Broadway Complex in the background.
Harbor cruise ships with Navy Broadway Complex in the background.
A view of downtown and harbor cruise ships from approaching ferry.
A view of downtown and harbor cruise ships from approaching ferry.
The Lord Hornblower approaches as people disembark from Coronado ferry.
The Lord Hornblower approaches as people disembark from Coronado ferry.
Patriot speed boat leaves dock, passing USS Midway.
Patriot speed boat leaves dock, passing USS Midway.

Cruise ships dock beside colorful public art.

cruise ships and murals on san diego bay

Here’s a photograph showing several of the murals on the north side of the cruise ship terminal, in downtown San Diego. These colorful new murals show cruise ships, marine life and other sea-related imagery. Last weekend two large ships were visiting, one docked on either side of the terminal. I believe it’s that time of the year when many ships visit San Diego as they transition from summer Alaska cruises and head down the coast to Mexico or the Panama Canal on their way to the Caribbean.

Here are some cruise ship pics taken on a later date:

Costa Deliziosa docked in San Diego.
Costa Deliziosa docked in San Diego.
Cruise ship Arcadia rises beyond tourists and pedicab.
Cruise ship Arcadia rises beyond tourists and pedicab.

More assorted pics of public art at the cruise ship terminal:

One of several promotional signs on the parking lot side of the terminal.
One of several promotional signs on the parking lot side of terminal.
Cruise San Diego! It's a beautiful place!
Tourists are encouraged to cruise San Diego!
Clock on street side of San Diego cruise ship terminal.
Clock on street side of cruise ship terminal resembles ship’s wheel.
These four sculptures were part of past Urban Tree exhibitions on the Embarcadero.
These sculptures were part of past Urban Trees exhibitions on the Embarcadero.

Homeless man sleeps beneath angels.

homeless man sleeps beneath angels

Early this evening, while I walked from work to the trolley station, I spotted this weird but truly wonderful car. I’ve seen it several times in recent months parked in the same area.

As I took out my camera, a man with a green parrot on his shoulder emerged from within and gave a friendly hello. He didn’t mind having photos taken. He claimed pictures of his strange vehicle are all over the internet.

He explained he was homeless. When I asked his name, he replied Peter Pan, followed by numerous other names, all beginning with the letter P.

He was very glad to show off his unique creation!

The roof of the car is topped with numerous bird cages containing angels. The hood features a detailed winter scene with Christmas trees, quaint houses, reindeer and snowmen. On the sides of the car are Christmas ornaments and a variety of snowy scenes from the holiday season, plus images from British literature and classic children’s stories. He pointed out painted pictures of Scrooge and Marley’s office, Mary Poppins with her umbrella, the Baker Street residence of Sherlock Holmes, the Wonkavator from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the flying bed from Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He loved pointing out every detail!

He lamented that other homeless people were often mean, tearing off bits of scenery and tossing them over a nearby fence onto the trolley tracks.

I asked Peter Pan if decorating his car was done just for fun, or if he had some larger purpose. He indicated it was his hobby.

I must confess, I love the same classic stories that he loves. Most are joyful fantasies from childhood. (How fitting a bookstore is in this photograph’s background!)

sweet fantasy and the imaginarium carriage

Here’s a close-up pic of the car’s opposite side. The Christmas Imaginarium Carriage appears to be the fantastic vehicle’s name!

Cowboys have gunfight on a San Diego street!

Cowboys have a gun battle in San Diego's Old Town.
Cowboys have a gun battle in San Diego’s Old Town.

Look at these larger-than-life cowboys! They’re shooting it out in Old Town!

This whimsical art can be found on San Diego Avenue, in a courtyard among shops and restaurants catering largely to tourists. I’m not sure whether it represents the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral or just an Old West scene from a typical Western movie.

Is one of the cowboys Wyatt Earp? After his famous gunfight, Wyatt moved to San Diego to participate in a land boom, running saloons, gambling halls and a brothel!

cowboys have gunfight on san diego street

Like the plant beside him, this guy might soon get planted.
Like the plant beside him, this guy might soon get planted.
Wyatt Earp was here.
Wyatt Earp was here.
Stern lawman patrols San Diego Avenue.
Stern lawman patrols San Diego Avenue.

Is this the most haunted house in America?

perhaps the most haunted house in america

Whether or not you believe in the paranormal, the world famous Whaley House is undeniably an interesting place!

This rather plain-looking house, located near the center of Old Town at 2476 San Diego Avenue, fairly oozes with history. And it is said by some to be the most haunted house in America!

Now a museum, the Whaley House was built in 1857 by Thomas Whaley, a New York businessman who originally came to California for the gold rush of 1849. It was the very first two-story brick building in San Diego, built in the Greek Revival architectural style. In addition to being the Whaley family residence, at different times it served as the location of a general store, a county courthouse, a commercial theater, a ballroom, a school and polling place.

Various murders, hangings, suicides and untimely deaths have occurred in and around the Whaley residence. Up to half a dozen different dead Whaleys are said to linger as ghosts. The place has developed such a reputation as a haunted house that the museum offers late night ghost hunting tours. Over 100,000 people visit the museum annually.

Several months ago I happened to find myself near the Whaley House with a little free time. Seeing a docent dressed in a period costume standing on the front porch, I made my way over to speak with her.

She was very friendly. She seemed sincere when she claimed to have had several ghostly experiences in the Whaley House. She claimed that she’s heard footsteps pacing in the upstairs theater when nobody was present. She’s also seen a strange shadow moving back and forth on an upstairs wall, with no perceptible source.

The cashier at the gift shop next door claimed to have seen the mysterious shadow, as well. I asked her if she believed in ghosts, and she carefully remained neutral. I was interested to see that almost every book and souvenir in the gift shop exploited the museums’s spooky reputation, including shirts that read “Got Ghosts?”

Life Magazine and Travel Channel’s America’s Most Haunted have both called the Whaley House the most haunted house in America. The Whaley House has appeared on numerous popular television shows and firmly established itself in the popular culture.

Old Town's historic Whaley House.
Old Town’s historic Whaley House.
Gazing toward Whaley House past gas lamp on San Diego Avenue.
Gazing toward Whaley House past gas lamp on San Diego Avenue.
The luxurious Whaley House served as granary, store, courthouse, school and theater.
The luxurious Whaley House served as granary, store, courthouse, school and theater.
Whaley House, built 1856-57, is the oldest brick structure in southern California.
Whaley House, built 1856-57, is the oldest brick structure in southern California.
Boy ventures into supposedly haunted Whaley House.
Boy ventures into supposedly haunted Whaley House.