Cool photos of Portside Pier construction.

The construction of the new Portside Pier on the Embarcadero is well advanced, and the new structure is beginning to look really cool!

This morning I walked along the Embarcadero near the Cruise Ship Terminal and Star of India. As I approached the Portside Pier’s over-the-water construction site, I was so intrigued by what I saw I decided to take these photos. I was particularly fascinated by the work being done from a floating platform beneath the building!

This project of the Brigantine Restaurant will eventually replace the demolished Anthony’s Fish Grotto, a San Diego landmark that produced many fond memories in the minds of locals and tourists alike. I’m hopeful the new two-story Portside Pier, with its multiple eateries and public observation deck, will produce many more such great memories in the not-too-distant future.

Check out my super cool last photo! I took it through a convenient hole in the surrounding fence!

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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 walk down Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail.

Sculpted tiles form beautiful mosaics that were created by artist Betsy Schulz. This is a red-tailed hawk.
Sculpted clay tiles form beautiful mosaics that were created by artist Betsy Schulz. This is a red-tailed hawk.

On Sunday I walked the length of Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail, which runs along the east side of Highway 101.

I was delighted to observe all sorts of colorful public art, beautiful flowers and trees, and even some unexpected poetry!

My walk was from south to north: from Via de la Valle up to a spot just beyond Ocean Street, where the trail through Solana Beach ends.

The pathway is extremely easy and flat. I saw many families riding bikes along it, and walkers and joggers, too.

Come along with me and read the photo captions.

Two arches by artist Betsy Schulz welcome walkers and riders to Solana Beach's Coastal Rail Trail at Highway 101 and Via de la Valle.
Two arches by artist Betsy Schulz welcome walkers and riders to Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail at Highway 101 and Via de la Valle.
Wild nature on one amazing arch.
Wild nature on one amazing arch.
Local history depicted on both arches includes the native Kumeyaay, who have lived in the region for thousands of years.
Local history depicted on both arches includes the native Kumeyaay, who have lived in the region for thousands of years.
The arrival of Spanish missionaries is depicted.
The arrival of Spanish missionaries is depicted.
The history of Solana Beach includes great upheavals and transformations, including the coming of the railroad.
The history of Solana Beach includes great upheavals and transformations, including the coming of the railroad.
Scenes of Solana Beach in the early 20th century.
Scenes of Solana Beach in the early 20th century.
More scenes of Solana Beach in the early 20th century.
More scenes of Solana Beach in the early 20th century.
The City of Solana Beach was incorporated in 1986.
The City of Solana Beach was incorporated in 1986.
Surfing on the timeless Pacific Ocean.
Surfing on the timeless Pacific Ocean.

You can see more public art by Betsy Schulz by clicking here and here.

As I continued north on the Coastal Rail Trail, I noticed what appeared to be a crescent moon on the pathway, and a poem by Walter de la Mare.
As I continued north on the Coastal Rail Trail, I noticed what appeared to be a crescent moon on the pathway, with a moon poem by Walter de la Mare.
A bit farther on I found another glistening moon. This one includes a poem by Emily Dickinson.
A bit farther on I found another glistening moon. This one includes a poem by Emily Dickinson.
I then came upon this colorful stained glass sunburst, standing between the pathway and nearby Highway 101!
I then came upon this colorful stained glass sunburst, standing between the pathway and nearby Highway 101!
Sunburst of Color, by artist Amber Irwin, 2005. Amber Irwin is a founding member of the Solana Beach Art Association.
Sunburst of Color, by artist Amber Irwin, 2005. Amber Irwin is a founding member of the Solana Beach Art Association.
A small garden beside the Coastal Rail Trail was bright with flowers.
A small garden beside the Coastal Rail Trail was bright on a late summer day with flowers.
An electrical box with colorfully painted artwork.
An electrical box with painted artwork.
Looking over a fence, I saw a Coaster rumbling up the train tracks that run parallel to the trail.
Looking over a fence, I saw a Coaster rumbling up the train tracks that run parallel to the trail.
Then I stumbled upon a third crescent moon, and a mysterious hat! This poem is also by Emily Dickinson.
Then I stumbled upon a third crescent moon, and a mysterious hat! This poem is also by Emily Dickinson.
A water fountain near steps to the Dahlia Drive pedestrian bridge that spans the train tracks. The fountain stands above colorful mosaics.
A water fountain near steps to the Dahlia Drive pedestrian bridge that spans the train tracks. The fountain stands above colorful mosaics.
This mosaic is a love gift from the Solana Beach Presbyterian Church.
This mosaic is a love gift from the Solana Beach Presbyterian Church.
A local youth group made these many cheerful flowers.
A local youth group made these many cheerful ceramic leaves and flowers.
Across the train track I spotted the huge, eye-catching mural by artist Lindu Prasekti. It's called Myths at Play.
Across the train track I spotted the huge, eye-catching mural by artist Lindu Prasekti. It’s titled Myths at Play.

You can learn more about this very cool mural by clicking here.

I'm passed by bicyclists who are also heading north.
I’m passed by bicyclists who are also heading north.
Sea life mosaics decorate concrete benches at the bus stop across from the Solana Beach train station. By artist Michelle Griffoul.
Sea life mosaics decorate concrete benches at the bus stop across from the Solana Beach train station. By artist Michelle Griffoul.

You can learn more about these eleven benches and see up close images of the sea life tiles by clicking here.

I've come to some steps leading down to the Solana Beach train station platform. Lots of passengers are waiting below.
I’ve come to some steps leading down to the Solana Beach train station platform. Lots of passengers are waiting below.
The visually interesting Solana Beach train station was designed by architect Rob Wellington Quigley, and was built in 1994.
The visually interesting Solana Beach train station was designed by architect Rob Wellington Quigley, and was built in 1994.
Another photo of people on the train platform below the Coastal Rail Trail in Solana Beach.
Another photo of people on a train platform below the Coastal Rail Trail in Solana Beach.
Some more colorful art on another electrical box beside the pathway.
Some more colorful art on another electrical box beside the pathway.
Red bougainvillea and the Cliff Street bridge over train tracks.
Red bougainvillea and the Cliff Street bridge over train tracks.
A City of Solana Beach plaque on the CLIFF STREET BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE.
A City of Solana Beach plaque on the CLIFF STREET BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE.
As I approached the northern end of Solana Beach, I saw a sign that reads RAIL TRAIL ENDS 500 FT. (At this time the trail doesn't continue into Cardiff-by-the-Sea.)
As I approached the northern end of Solana Beach, I saw a sign that reads RAIL TRAIL ENDS 500 FT. (At this time the trail doesn’t continue into Cardiff-by-the-Sea.)
In addition to the distant ocean, I see something interesting ahead.
In addition to the distant ocean, I see something interesting ahead.
A monument with a plaque stands in a small grove of Torrey Pine trees.
A monument with a plaque stands near an observation platform beside a small grove of Torrey Pine trees.
Some sculptural Torrey Pine artwork on the side of the monument.
Some sculptural Torrey Pine artwork on the side of the monument.
The plaque explains the history of these transplanted Torrey Pine trees. Figuring in that complicated history are billboards along the highway and train tracks.
The plaque explains the history of these few transplanted Torrey Pine trees. Figuring in that complicated history are billboards along the highway and the installation of train tracks.
More beautiful artwork, at the north end of Solana Beach's Coastal Rail Trail.
More beautiful artwork, at the north end of Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail.

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!

Final rays of sunlight and a smile in Balboa Park.

Late yesterday I entered Balboa Park to enjoy a summer organ concert. I arrived well before the music began, so I took a leisurely walk along El Prado.

I was touched by the final rays of sunlight and a smile…

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!

Architecture inspired by nature . . . and UFOs!

An exhibition of truly amazing architectural designs recently opened at the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

Radiant Architecture: The Visionary Work of Eugene Ray showcases the futuristic architectural concepts of an emeritus professor from San Diego State University, who taught Environmental Design from 1969 to 1996.

Those who have driven through La Jolla might have seen the fantastic house and studio he built at 1699 Nautilus Street. It’s commonly referred to as the Silver Ship. It was erected in 1978 with the help of Environmental Design students from SDSU.

It’s no surprise that many of Eugene Ray’s designs appear a bit like spaceships. His inspiration comes not only from simple, efficient, resilient forms found in nature, but from his life-changing sighting of a UFO in 1947 when he was a boy.

According to one sign I read, many of the innovative designs synthesized “Ray’s concepts of the synergy of color, light, and sound to create holistic, healing and energizing environments.” He also sought to create modular structures, which would be affordable and easily assembled.

I was told that his organic, biomorphic designs are so futuristic, unusual and brilliant that world-famous science fiction author Ray Bradbury at one time had plans to make a movie about Eugene Ray’s work.

Here are a few photos of the original drawings, prototypes, renderings and highly creative artwork currently on display. This very cool exhibition at the SDSU Downtown Gallery runs through October 6, 2019.

James A. Perry Residence - New Orleans, Louisiana, 1968.
James A. Perry Residence – New Orleans, Louisiana, 1968.
Aerodyne Sports House - 1984.
Aerodyne Sports House – 1984.
Nautilus Street Residence aka The Silver Ship - La Jolla, California, 1978.
Nautilus Street Residence aka The Silver Ship – La Jolla, California, 1978.
Blueprint of The Silver Ship, designed by Eugene Ray, located at 1699 Nautilus Street in La Jolla, California.
Blueprint of The Silver Ship, designed by Eugene Ray, located in La Jolla, California.
Pavilion for Holy Cross High School - New Orleans, Louisiana, 1967.
Pavilion for Holy Cross High School – New Orleans, Louisiana, 1967.
Untitled, Eugene Ray, 1969 (restored 2019). Acrylic and aluminum on canvas.
Untitled, Eugene Ray, 1969 (restored 2019). Acrylic and aluminum on canvas.

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!

Radiant Spire proposed for Notre Dame.

Appearance of rebuilt Notre Dame Cathedral with Radiant Spire, designed by architect Eugene Ray.
Appearance of rebuilt Notre Dame Cathedral with Radiant Spire, designed by San Diego architect Eugene Ray.

I guess it’s too late now. Last month the French Parliament passed a law that states Notre Dame Cathedral must be restored to its exact condition before the recent, catastrophic fire.

But how might Paris have appeared if Notre Dame were crowned by a glowing spire?

The Radiant Spire is a fantastic concept created by architect Eugene Ray, who from 1969 to 1996 headed the Environmental Design program at San Diego State University. In 2019, with the help of architect Joe Cordelle, he designed a geodesic structure that unites a cone and sphere, and which radiates light.

I saw these images today while visiting the exhibition Radiant Architecture: The Visionary Work of Eugene Ray at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. As a proposal the Radiant Spire is inspiring and very beautiful.

But, alas, it will remain an idea.

Description of Radiant Spire for Notre Dame Cathedral. The elegant structure evokes an exuberant spirituality reaching skywards...
Description of Radiant Spire for rebuilt Notre Dame Cathedral. The elegant structure evokes an exuberant spirituality reaching skywards…
Elevation view of proposed spire for Notre Dame.
Elevation view of proposed spire for Notre Dame.

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!

Looking skyward inside Smart Corner.

Today I sat on a bench waiting for a trolley at the City College station. This unique trolley station is located in the middle of a two tower condo building called Smart Corner.

Suddenly I had to yawn deeply. I tilted my head way back. Above me, the complex pattern of windows, jagged shadows and reflections appeared unreal!

Right then I knew I had to take a few photos.

Here I am, looking “skyward” while sitting inside Smart Corner!

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!

Little Italy’s history, culture at Amici House.

Arriving at the historic Amici House, a cultural center in San Diego's downtown Little Italy neighborhood.
Approaching the historic Amici House, a cultural center in San Diego’s downtown Little Italy neighborhood.

In downtown San Diego’s beautiful Little Italy neighborhood, tucked among trees between Amici Park and the popular Little Italy Dog Park, one can find a small house that is named for friendship. It’s called Amici House.

A century ago the Amici House was home to the Giacalone family, who lived in Sicily before their arrival in San Diego in 1916. Antonio Giacalone and his wife, Josephine, became an integral part of the local Italian fishing community. Their modest Craftsman style house was originally located a few blocks to the west, near India Street. Last year the structure was moved to its present location at 250 W. Date Street, in order to make room for the new Piazza della Famiglia.

The historic home, now called the Amici House, has become a gathering place for the present-day community. Sheltered by graceful trees, its shady patio is the perfect place to relax, have a drink and chat with friends. Inside the house one can observe museum-like displays and learn about life in Little Italy, which was home to many immigrant fishermen back when San Diego was considered the tuna fishing capital of the world.

The Amici House is operated by The Convivio Society for Italian Humanities, a nonprofit organization that promotes Italian arts, culture and heritage in San Diego. The house with its intimate patio provides a unique venue for concerts and other entertainment. A variety of community activities such as outdoor movie screenings are often enjoyed in nearby Amici Park. The house can also be rented for private events.

I paid a visit on Saturday afternoon and took a few photos.

This grassy area in front of Amici House will soon be a venue for outdoor entertainment, with its own small stage.
This grassy area in front of Amici House will soon be a venue for outdoor entertainment, with its own small stage.
A group of people exits Amici House. I will be able to explore the place during a quiet moment on a Saturday afternoon.
A group of people exits Amici House. I will be able to explore the place during a quiet moment on a Saturday afternoon.
Steps lead up into the beautifully renovated Craftsman style Amici House.
Steps lead up into the small, renovated Craftsman style Amici House.
At the bottom of the front steps is a table with gifts. Caffè Convivio offers snacks and a few refreshing things to drink.
At the bottom of the front steps is a table with books and other gifts. Caffè Convivio offers snacks and a few refreshing things to drink.
Chairs and tables in front of Amici House provide a pleasant, shady place to relax on a sunny day.
Chairs and tables in front of Amici House provide a pleasant, shady place to relax on a sunny day.
This kinetic fish sculpture is popular with kids.
This kinetic fish sculpture is popular with kids.
After stepping into the small Amici House, I turned around and took a photo of old fishing artifacts above the door.
After stepping into the Amici House, I turned around and took a photo of old fishing artifacts above the door.
Photo into a large mirror on one wall provides a glimpse of the small museum-like interior.
Photo into a large mirror on one wall provides a glimpse of the small museum-like interior.
The walls inside the Amici House are full of historical photos and information concerning Little Italy, once center of a thriving tuna fishing industry.
The walls inside the Amici House are full of historical photos and information concerning Little Italy, once center of a thriving tuna fishing industry.
Posters, old photos and works of art with an Italian theme appear on all sides. I see Frank Sinatra.
Posters, old photos and works of art with an Italian theme appear on all sides. I see Frank Sinatra.
This small exhibition of art features work by sports fan and artist Christopher Paluso.
This small exhibition of art features work by sports fan and artist Christopher Paluso.
Examples of work by accomplished Italian American artist Christopher Paluso.
Examples of work by accomplished Italian American artist Christopher Paluso.
In a wooden cabinet I spied colorful gifts and crafts imported from Italy.
In a wooden cabinet I saw colorful glassware and crafts imported from Italy.
Painting of John D'Acquisto, Italian American baseball player who played four years with the San Diego Padres.
Painting of John D’Acquisto, Italian American baseball pitcher who played four years with the San Diego Padres.
Little Italy has a rich history, including many generations of families that still thrive in the community today.
Little Italy has a rich history, including many generations of families that still thrive in the community today.
I'm shown a rendering of a proposed, much larger cultural center that might be built by The Convivio Society elsewhere in Little Italy.
I’m shown a rendering of a proposed, much larger cultural center that might be built by The Convivio Society in the future.
Meanwhile, the Amici House is a repository of cherished memories for a lively and welcoming San Diego neighborhood.
Meanwhile, the Amici House holds (and produces) cherished memories for a lively San Diego neighborhood.

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!