Firefighters descend pole outside fire station!

Yesterday I observed two firefighters sliding down a fire pole outside San Diego Fire-Rescue Station 44 in Mira Mesa.

Yes, I said outside!

Strangely, the two rapidly descending firefighters never reached the ground. Why? Because they’re life-size bronze figures and part of an extremely cool sculpture titled Firefighters at 44.

Firefighters at 44 debuted at the new fire station back in 2002. The monumental sculpture was created by artists T.J. Dixon and James Nelson, whose work can be enjoyed all over San Diego.

(You can see more of their amazing sculptures by checking out certain old blog posts. To do that, click here.)

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Riding the world’s first outdoor glass elevator!

If you’re familiar with the history of the El Cortez in downtown San Diego, you probably know it featured the world’s very first outdoor glass elevator. (Although I’ve also seen information that says it was the first such elevator in the United States, second in the world.)

Based on an idea suggested by a hotel bellboy, an outdoor glass elevator, called the Starlight Express, was installed in 1956 on the side of the El Cortez Hotel, then the highest building in San Diego. People from all around Southern California would converge on the elegant hotel to be swept dizzily skyward to the chic Starlight Room restaurant on the twelfth floor.

Today I came across a black and white 1956 newsreel that has been released by Universal City Studios into the public domain. It shows thrilled passengers going up and down what was then the brand new, incredible, jaw-dropping Starlight Express!

Check out the “futuristic” costume (uniform?) of the smiling elevator operator! And check out how downtown San Diego appeared in the 1950s. A bit different than today, right?

I snipped sequential images from the old newsreel so you can enjoy a fun look!

By the way, the El Cortez Hotel also featured the world’s first moving sidewalk! You know–the sort of thing you might stand on in an airport terminal or at an amusement park. It was called the Travolator. Both the Starlight Express and Travolator were removed many years ago.

Read much more about the El Cortez and its extraordinary history in this detailed Wikipedia article. Among other things, you’ll learn how this Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style landmark was built on property once owned by a son of President Ulysses S. Grant, how a third of San Diego’s population showed up for the hotel’s opening day, and how it had an anti-aircraft battery on its roof during World War II!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Amazing views on La Jolla’s Coast Walk Trail.

The short but incredibly scenic Coast Walk Trail in La Jolla winds along the Pacific Ocean from the Cave Store on Coast Boulevard to Torrey Pines Road. You can find it by walking east up the hill from La Jolla Cove. Google Maps shows the trail.

Should your feet move down the Coast Walk, heading east, a short distance beyond rocky Goldfish Point, these photographs provide an idea of the breathtaking views you’ll likely experience…

We are the most perfect song.
The Coast Walk Trail follows the edge of high sandstone bluffs. It offers amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, La Jolla Shores and the more distant cliffs of Torrey Pines.
Sign asks those who walk by to help save this historic Coast Walk Trail.
Sections of the Coast Walk follow a white wooden fence.
Gazing back at the 200-foot high sandstone bluffs where we walked a few photos back. You can make out some of the seven different La Jolla Caves that can be visited from the ocean.
Kayakers gather in the distance off Goldfish Point not far from the watery entrance to famous Sunny Jim Cave.
A couple enjoys the view east, toward La Jolla Shores.
Several kayakers paddle across the ocean, just off the rocks down below!
Another photo back toward the 75 million years old eroded sandstone cliffs, the La Jolla Caves and Goldfish Point.
As I near the east end of the Coast Walk Trail, I find a perfect bench with an incredible view.
A very beautiful and inspiring place to be.
Waves curling in brush white foam across the deep blue.
In a few places, at the cliff’s edge, if you aren’t afraid of sheer drops and dizzying heights, you can look straight down and see underwater features!
An amazing view from the east end of the Coast Walk Trail in La Jolla.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

An amazing center for creativity in Chula Vista!

Interior photo of Chula Vista's Art on Third, courtesy Rich Walker.
Interior photo of Chula Vista’s very unique Art on Third, courtesy Rich Walker.

Check out the amazing interior of Art on Third in the heart of Chula Vista!

I was walking down Third Avenue on Saturday, taking photos of interesting things, when I peered through the windows of what appeared to be a colorful art gallery. And out comes Rich Walker, the super friendly artist who runs the place!

We talked. He showed me inside his fantastic Art on Third. I learned that it’s far more than a gallery. It’s a creative space and cultural event venue, where there are concerts, poetry readings, and a whole variety of community gatherings. It’s a place where eyes are dazzled no matter which way they turn! I felt as through I had stepped into a completely different world. A world of uninhibited freedom, joy and creativity!

Take a look at these photographs!

Rich explained he’d like downtown Chula Vista to become even more dynamic–to become a magnet for artists and those who love the arts. To become a popular, widely-known destination.

I don’t see why that shouldn’t happen. There are cool eateries and intriguing little shops up and down Third Avenue’s historic business district. Chula Vista has plenty of artists. And there’s the ideal location. Chula Vista sits smack dab in the middle of two major international cities: San Diego and Tijuana.

And, of course, there’s the very unique Art on Third–a truly amazing place with a smiling proprietor who believes in the following: Enjoy Life. Be Creative. Laugh Often.

At Chula Vista's cool Art On Third, love should be the loudest voice!
At Chula Vista’s cool Art On Third, love should be the loudest voice!

Photo of creative space Art on Third, courtesy Rich Walker.
Photo of creative space Art on Third, courtesy Rich Walker.

Crowd comes together for a concert at Art on Third, photo courtesy of Rich Walker.
Crowd comes together for a concert at Art on Third, photo courtesy of Rich Walker.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Amazing mural at Chula Vista Yoga Center!

Check out this amazing mural!

Today I went for a walk through Chula Vista. My camera really started clicking on E Street outside the Chula Vista Yoga Center.

If you recognize the distinctive style of this very colorful, abstract mural, that’s because it’s by local artist Maxx Moses, and you’ve seen other examples of his work on my blog. His artwork, which seems a fusion of familiar forms and strange, layered dreams, produces a feeling that is both cosmic and spiritual. Definitely fitting for a yoga studio!

Very cool!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A very favorite mural lives in Pacific Beach.

An extraordinary mural at Pacific Beach Elementary School painted in 2010 by artist Isaias Crow.
An extraordinary mural at Pacific Beach Elementary School painted in 2010 by artist Isaias Crow.

Yesterday I encountered one of my very favorite murals in San Diego. It lives at Pacific Beach Elementary School. I say this mural lives, because the artwork is vibrant, inspiring and has genuine soul. I couldn’t take my eyes off it!

The artist is Isaias Crow, and it was painted in 2010. You can see more of Isaias Crow’s work here and here. He also mentored a young muralist in City Heights, as you might recall here!

According to his website, Isaias Crow is a motivational speaker with an inspiring message. If his words are anything like this art, they must be powerful indeed!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

More murals painted in amazing Hillcrest alley!

Maxx Moses mural in a Hillcrest alley. Son, mommy LOVES YOU.
Maxx Moses mural in a Hillcrest alley. Son, mommy LOVES YOU.

More murals have been painted in an amazing alley in Hillcrest! You can find this alley directly behind The Studio Door on Fourth Avenue, where many local artists exhibit their work.

I last visited the alley a year and a half ago and found two fantastic murals by Fizix, which you can see here. (The second and third murals I photographed in that blog post–the Cigar Cave and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles eating pizza.)

Well, now there’s a huge, super cool mural by Maxx Moses, and another equally cool mural across the alley from it by Gloria Muriel. All of this creativity flowed from the hands, minds and hearts of prolific local artists whose street art can be seen all over San Diego!

Continuation of the Maxx Moses mural around the corner.
Continuation of the Maxx Moses mural around the corner.

Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real.
Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real.

Gloria Muriel mural in a Hillcrest alley.
Gloria Muriel mural in a Hillcrest alley.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Photos from under the historic Cabrillo Bridge.

Few people admire Balboa Park’s historic Cabrillo Bridge from below–unless it’s a brief glimpse as they drive into or out of downtown San Diego along State Route 163.

Today I followed a dirt trail from Balboa Park’s West Mesa down to the base of the Cabrillo Bridge. I started at Nate’s Point Dog Park, descended quickly and soon found myself walking under the 40 feet wide, 120 feet high, 1,505 feet long marvel of engineering. (The dramatic main span is 450 feet.)

The very beautiful Cabrillo Bridge, which crosses Cabrillo Canyon, was finished in 1914 in time for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The multiple-arched cantilever structure was the first bridge of its kind in California. According to Wikipedia: “An initial design for the bridge was developed by Bertram Goodhue that featured three large arches. The design was to be similar to Toledo, Spain’s Alcántara Bridge. However, Frank P. Allen, Jr. convinced Balboa Park commissioners to choose a cheaper design by Thomas B. Hunter of San Francisco that looked similar to other bridges in Mexico and Spain.”

The Cabrillo Bridge with its seven arches is made of reinforced concrete. 7,700 cubic yards of it! Inside the bridge there is 4,050 tons of steel. You might notice how the bridge’s graceful design resembles a Roman aqueduct. It has a simple, classic appearance that is both iconic and pleasing to the eye.

In 1975 the Cabrillo Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1986 it was designated a San Diego Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

In a couple of my early photos, which I took periodically as I walked down the trail, you can see Balboa Park’s distinctive California Tower rising just beyond the east end of the bridge.

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An enormous sailing yacht, way up in the air!

Look what I saw as I walked past the Driscoll Mission Bay Boat Yard yesterday. A gigantic sailing yacht, suspended way up in the air!

That towering mast appeared about as high as a five-story building!

How did that enormous boat get up there?

Now that’s one peculiar sight!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Amazing mosaic wall at the Del Mar Library!

Walk down the sidewalk to the front of the Del Mar Library and you’ll suddenly stop in your tracks. That’s because your eyes will be captivated by the amazing Del Mar Mosaic Wall!

The mixed media mural, created by artists Betsy Schulz and Pat Welsh with the help of community volunteers, was finished in 2003. Found objects, brick and stone were combined with clay forms to produce beautiful images of coastal wildlife, including sea birds and fish. The low walls beside steps climbing to the public library’s front entrance depict dozens of Garibaldi fish, each with the name of a donor to the project.

If the artist Betsy Schulz sounds familiar, that’s because she has created some of the most amazing mosaics around San Diego. If you want to see more of her work, click here or here or here or here or here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!