A quiet New Year’s Day on San Diego Bay.

Anthony's Fishette is empty, closed on New Year's Day.
Anthony’s Fishette is empty, closed on New Year’s Day.

It didn’t matter that most places were closed.  The Embarcadero was wide open.

On this sunny New Year’s Day people were simply walking or sitting at the edge of San Diego Bay, gazing out at the water and boats.

People gaze at San Diego Bay from benches by The Fish Market.
People simply talk or gaze at San Diego Bay near The Fish Market.
Kids climb in trees near Greatest Generation Walk.
Kids climb in trees near Greatest Generation Walk.
Ice cream vendor near USS Midway scoops New Year's Day treat.
Street vendor near USS Midway scoops a New Year’s Day treat.
Man reads book on Tuna Harbor Pier on New Year's Day.
Man reads book on Tuna Harbor Pier for New Year’s Day.
Gull relaxes atop pile of yellow floats on pier.
Gull enters the new year atop pile of yellow floats.

Crafts, curios and small clutters of color.

Corn husk roses, crosses, scepters and dragonflies.
Corn husk roses, crosses, scepters and dragonflies.

A carefree walk with open eyes is a feast.  One meanders into endless discoveries.  Even cheap wares on the sidewalk or cart are worth a moment’s attention.

These photos of crafts, curios and colorful clutter were taken during an ordinary walk along San Diego’s Embarcadero.

Dazzled by sunglasses shining in the sun.
Dazzled by sunglasses shining in the sun.
Painted skulls, beads and assorted Mexican trinkets.
Painted skulls, beads and assorted Mexican trinkets.
Beads are a common product on sidewalks along the Embarcadero.
Beads are a common product on sidewalks along the Embarcadero.
Shells and dangling ornaments for sale on small vendor's cart near the Midway.
Shells and dangling ornaments for sale on small vendor’s cart near the Midway.
A rainbow of colors! Name bracelets alphabetically ordered.
A rainbow of colors! Name bracelets alphabetically ordered.
Layered dreamcatchers might catch really big dreams.
Layered dreamcatchers might catch really big dreams.
Combination of football helmets and skulls on display for passing tourists.
Combination of football helmets and skulls on display for passing tourists.
Bright piles of tie-dye shirts for sale on Embarcadero sidewalk.
Bright piles of tie-dye shirts for sale on Embarcadero sidewalk.
Whiskery, crazy, colorful faces painted on palm fronds.
Whiskery, crazy, colorful faces painted on palm fronds.

Cool street art on construction site fence.

Cool street art on construction site fence.
Cool street art on construction site fence.

The other day, while shuffling along what seemed to be an unremarkable sidewalk in downtown San Diego, my legs were suddenly arrested and my eyes transfixed by this awesome street art.  A fun-loving, imaginative artist did a great job of enlivening this construction site fence, which can be found on 8th Avenue just north of Market Street.

Funky characters make for some cool street art.
Funky characters make for some cool street art.
Street art on 8th Avenue in downtown San Diego.
Street art on 8th Avenue in downtown San Diego.

Just another lazy day in sunny San Diego.

A tourist rental quadcycle heads down the park's pathway.
A tourist rental quadcycle heads past boats in the Marriott Marina.

A sunny Saturday afternoon in San Diego.  A perfect time to enjoy life!

Lots of people were out at Embarcadero Marina Park South making the most of the holiday weekend.  During my walk I noticed a number of Zonies (visitors from Arizona) wearing ASU gear–their team will play in the Holiday Bowl on Monday.

Here are a few more miscellaneous photos:

Basketball game at Embarcadero Marina Park South.
Basketball game at Embarcadero Marina Park South.
Boy fishes with dad on Embarcadero Marina Park South pier.
Boy fishes with dad on Embarcadero Marina Park South pier.
Heading to the pier with a bunch of fishing rods.
Heading to the pier with a bunch of fishing rods.

Starlight Bowl sign: A season that never came.

Starlight Bowl sign and the season that never came.
Starlight Bowl sign and the season that never came.

On the south side of Balboa Park, at the edge of a canyon next to the San Diego Air and Space Museum, you’ll find this rusting sign.  It remains hopeful above the shuttered ticket windows of the Starlight Bowl, once home to the San Diego Civic Light Opera.  The sign announces a 65th season that never came.

A couple years ago the San Diego Civic Light Opera went bankrupt.  Which is a shame.  For a long happy time during the warm summer months the outdoor theatre featured musicals and other popular productions.  I remember watching the Pirates of Penzance and the Taming of the Shrew here when I was very young.  The coolest thing I remember was how the actors would all freeze and shows would be suspended for several seconds when noisy, low-flying airplanes approaching Lindbergh field passed directly overhead.

Display glass near entrance which used to show upcoming productions is vacant.
Display glass near entrance which used to show upcoming productions is vacant.
The outdoor Starlight Bowl has an audience of weeds.
The outdoor Starlight Bowl has an audience of weeds.

I walked around to one side for a view of the beloved Starlight Bowl and held my camera above a chain link fence for the above photo.  The outdoor stage now has an audience of weeds.

Side view of the Starlight Bowl, which has been sadly abandoned for years now.
Side view of the Starlight Bowl, which has been sadly abandoned for years now.

Scenes of people enjoying life in Balboa Park.

Lady plays harp on El Prado in Balboa Park.
Lady plays harp on El Prado in Balboa Park.

Just some photos taken in Balboa Park of people enjoying life.

Glassblower at work in Balboa Park's Spanish Village.
Glassblower at work in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village.
Folks walk past fountain near Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
Folks walk past fountain near Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
Girl tries to grab brass ring on Balboa Park carousel.
Girl tries to grab brass ring on Balboa Park carousel.
Man plays guitar in Spanish Village gazebo.
Man plays guitar in Spanish Village gazebo.
People ride the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad.
People ride the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad.
Street performer plays an Australian didgeridoo.
Street performer plays an Australian didgeridoo.
Two artists on El Prado paint colorful canvases.
Two artists on El Prado paint colorful canvases.
Two young men enjoy slacklining in Balboa Park.
Two young men enjoy slacklining in Balboa Park.
Boy plays with ball while man reads Balboa Park plaque.
Boy plays with ball while man reads Balboa Park plaque.
Man sails small boat near Balboa Park fountain.
Man sails small boat near Balboa Park fountain.
Handmade boat near Balboa Park fountain.
Handmade boat near Balboa Park fountain.

History at Horton Plaza Park construction site.

North part of the Horton Plaza Park construction site behind fence.
North part of the Horton Plaza Park construction site behind fence.

A large area between Broadway and the Horton Plaza shopping mall is fenced off for construction.  One end of the downtown mall has already been demolished and leveled to the bare ground.  The long-neglected Horton Plaza Park is being enlarged!

On the fence surrounding the construction site are a number of interesting old photographs showing the park’s history.

When real estate developer Alonzo Horton built the Horton House hotel (now the U.S. Grant Hotel) in his “New Town” in 1870, he included a small plaza on the hotel  grounds.  In 1895 he sold the half block plaza to the growing city of San Diego, stating his objective was “to provide a central, commodious and attractive place for public meetings, public announcements, public recreation and for any other proper public purposes, a place where all public questions might be discussed with comfort, where public open-air concerts might be given, where the people might rest, and where children might play in safety.”  In 1909 the first fountain in the United States to feature electric lights was installed in the park.

Over the years, the small park has seen a whole lot of history, as the following photographs at today’s construction site demonstrate.  Horton Plaza Park was designated a historical landmark by the City of San Diego in 1971.

Horton Plaza Park during 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
Horton Plaza Park during 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
Horton Plaza Park crowded for V-J Day celebration.
Horton Plaza Park crowded for V-J Day celebration.

The streets were crowded with a spontaneous celebration when World War II finally ended.

Thousands attend rally for John F. Kennedy in Horton Plaza Park.
Thousands attend rally for John F. Kennedy in Horton Plaza Park.

On November 2, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy spoke at Horton Plaza Park, seeking votes in the upcoming presidential election.  A huge crowd turned out.

How the new Horton Plaza Park will look at completion.
Sign shows how the new Horton Plaza Park will look at completion.

The beautifully renovated park will include lots of space for public events, including outdoor concerts!

A huge area has been cleared to make way for the new park.
A huge area has been cleared to make way for the new park.

Here’s a pic I took on January 31, 2015…

Construction of the new Horton Plaza Park is well underway in early 2015.
Construction of the new Horton Plaza Park is well underway in early 2015.