Major construction projects underway in Balboa Park!

Numerous major construction projects are now underway in Balboa Park!

It appears workers were very busy while the park was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Today the center of Balboa Park reopened to the public, and as I walked around I was surprised to see all the construction activity!

The above photo and the one that follows shows the long-planned public viewing platform being built around the park’s landmark Moreton Bay Fig tree!

I once blogged more information concerning this project here.

The next three photos show how the Mingei International Museum’s major transformation is well underway! I believe the construction you see on one side of the building is going to be the Mingei’s new theater.

If you want an idea of how things will look when finished, you can visit my blog post concerning the Mingei’s transformation here.

I was really surprised to see that the Palisades area of Balboa Park has begun it’s historic transformation!

Half the old parking lot–the side nearest the San Diego Air and Space Museum–will be turned into a pedestrian plaza featuring lawns and a monumental fountain that will recall the Firestone Singing Color Fountains of the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition!

Finally, I saw a great deal of progress has been made building the five new structures at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages! The new cottages will be the future home of nine nations.

I’ve blogged about this long delayed project on several occasions. You can see a map of the project here, and see photos I took of the groundbreaking ceremony in 2016 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!

Stonehenge, stacked blocks, and a La Jolla Project.

Looks somehow familiar?

No, this work of art in UC San Diego’s Stuart Collection isn’t titled Stonehenge. But that’s what many students call it.

Environmental artist Richard Fleischner created this monumental public art, La Jolla Project, in 1984. His artwork explores how universal architectural forms might be integrated into a natural setting. For his La Jolla Project, he used stones quarried in New England and cut near Providence, Rhode Island, on the other side of the continent. A whole lot of human calculation and labor was required to create something that appears extremely simple.

To me, it looks like an enormous giant sat down on a green patch of grass and stacked some toy blocks. The blocks are scattered and assembled in several ways, often forming columns, benches and arches. These simple blocks remind the viewer that all architecture–all existing physical matter in fact–can be broken down into the most rudimentary shapes we learn in basic geometry.

As you walk around La Jolla Project, you feel you’ve entered a strange otherworld that is somehow different from ordinary space and time. It’s a place where abstract forms have materialized in a familiar, park-like landscape. Did they descend from the stars? From the hand of a gigantic, playful child? From the realm of pure ideas? (As I think about it, these vertical forms almost appear like words spelled out with an alien alphabet, including a punctuation mark here or there.)

Should you ever visit UC San Diego, wander through this mazy construction and perhaps arrive at your own conclusion.

But first you must find La Jolla Project on the Revelle College lawn south of Galbraith Hall, beside Scholars Drive South, north of the La Jolla Playhouse.

Bring a compass.

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!

The mess of creativity at a beautiful museum.

The creative process is messy. Heaps of old ideas and the peculiar shapes of new ideas are scattered on the ground around a busy creator.

With saw and hammer the pieces are cut and pounded until segments fit together. It’s sort of like a construction site.

In an essay you write for school, in a new work of fiction, a speech, invention, sculpture or painting . . . there are steel beams and two-by-fours, boards of drywall, sharp nails.

I walked past the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s historic La Jolla location yesterday. The already beautiful building is in the process of being altered, enlarged.

Along the construction site fence are images of paintings in the museum’s collection. Beyond the fence, you can see the messy but semi-ordered heaps. It’s a moment in the creative process. Once all the elements of that mess are integrated with creative energy, the finished building will be spectacular.

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!

Complex people in a complex city.

The immense complexity of the city and its people is evident in every one of my walks.

A city is like a small slice of the larger human world. Many individuals heading in different directions, or forward together…talking or silently thinking…interacting in the places where they work, rest, shop, live. You see the complexity in the streets signs and the architecture, in restaurant menus and colorful store windows. You see it on the active sidewalks, in styles of dress, facial expressions, postures of ambition or resignation. A city and its people are too complicated to ever adequately describe.

Much of the complexity rises from the ongoing tangle of human desires, predilections, emotions. One thing that seems constant in the world is human yearning. And those yearnings often create tension.

Today I walked around downtown. I came upon a political rally at the County Administration Building. Roused citizens, desiring liberty, were chafing at the slow reopening of society during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. They expressed their reasons. They yearned for individual liberty. But others in our society yearn for collective security. It’s that never-ending political conflict.

As I continued my walk, I turned my eyes upward to see the mysterious, ordered windows where different people work and live. And I looked at the intersecting streets and sidewalks, where separate lives move forward.

All that human complexity makes a city what it is. It also makes every single walk every single day fascinating. And thought-provoking.

Even during the current COVID-19 pandemic, when the city seems more lonely and troubled than usual.

He was simply resting in the sun.

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!

If the above images feel almost like a poem, it was my intention. To read a few philosophical stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

A simple, fun walk in Point Loma!

Looking at Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church from the intersection of Voltaire Street and Chatsworth Boulevard. The traditional New England style Red Brick Church was built in 1954.
Looking at Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church from the intersection of Voltaire Street and Chatsworth Boulevard. The traditional New England style Red Brick Church was built in 1954.

First of all, I’d like to welcome new visitors to Cool San Diego Sights! I’m not sure how my website suddenly merited inclusion in Google News, but, what the heck, this amateur photo blogger will take it!

Cool San Diego Sights is mostly about a guy with a little old camera walking around our big city semi-randomly, experiencing the wonder of its neighborhoods, its people, and the world in general. Occasionally I’ll report something that’s newsworthy, but only if I happen to stumble upon it. All this walking and taking photos is really just a hobby and personal pleasure.

On Saturday I enjoyed a long walk that included several areas of Point Loma. After climbing those hidden stairs I blogged about on Saturday, I headed through residential Loma Portal and down into the tiny business district near the intersection of Voltaire Street and Chatsworth Boulevard.

I walked in a short counterclockwise loop, from the Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church, toward Point Loma High School, down to the Point Loma Library, and back up to the spot where I had begun.

I had no plan other than to take photos of whatever caught my fancy!

I spotted a long mural along the roof of the building at 2168 Chatsworth Boulevard.
I spotted a long mural along the roof of the building at 2168 Chatsworth Boulevard.
Part of the mural titled San Diego from 1769 to 1969, painted by Jorge Imana. (I took many photos of this amazing mural and will post them to my blog shortly.)
Part of the mural titled San Diego from 1769 to 1969, painted by Jorge Imana. (I took many photos of this amazing mural and will post them to my blog shortly.)
An electrical box up the street was painted with all sort of guitars.
An electrical box up the street was painted with all sort of guitars.
More colorful guitar street art on another side of the box.
More colorful guitar street art on another side of the box.
As I walked by European Cake Gallery, I noticed the pastry chef peering out at Point Loma from the rooftop.
As I walked by European Cake Gallery, I noticed the pastry chef peering out at Point Loma from the rooftop.
Some fun but simple artwork on the windows of Coastal Sage Gardening.
Some fun but simple artwork on the windows of Coastal Sage Gardening.
The front entrance of the James Edgar and Jean Jessop Hervey Library in Point Loma.
Dedication plaque near library's front entrance. Dated September 20, 2003.
Dedication plaque near library’s front entrance. Dated September 20, 2003.
Looking back at where I was a moment ago.
Looking back at where I was a moment ago. It’s a gray, overcast day.
The other side of the architecturally interesting Point Loma Library. The glass near the roof resembles waves breaking on the beach.
The other side of the architecturally interesting Point Loma Library. The glass near the roof resembles waves breaking on the beach.
As I walked past the library I saw words written at my feet. It's all good!
As I walked past the library I saw words written at my feet. It’s all good!
Then I saw this rather interesting Padres fan.
Then I saw this rather interesting Padres fan.
A mouse has a secret door near the ground by the door of a Point Loma business.
A mouse has a secret door near the ground by the door of a Point Loma business.
That church looks familiar!
I'm already back at the Red Brick Church. A simple but fun walk in Point Loma!
I’m already back at the Red Brick Church. A simple but fun walk in Point Loma!

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!

Oil painting the iconic Hotel del Coronado!

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One could make a convincing argument that the Hotel del Coronado is the second or third most iconic building in all of San Diego, after the California Tower in Balboa Park and perhaps the historic Mission San Diego de Alcalá.

The image of the uniquely grand and beautiful “Hotel Del” has been made famous in movies, on television, and through countless postcards sent around the world by enthralled tourists. Most people who think of Coronado immediately picture this impressive Victorian beach resort, the second largest wooden structure in the United States.

It’s said that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum used the fanciful architecture of the Hotel del Coronado as his inspiration for the Emerald City. (He wrote several Oz books at a house he rented in winter a few blocks away. To see photos of that house, click here!)

A month ago I used graphic software to change some of my photos of the California Tower into digital oil paintings. Yesterday, as I walked around Coronado, it suddenly occurred to me that I might do the same with the picturesque Hotel del Coronado!

I’ve altered some old photographs and a couple of new ones to make them appear like oil paintings! Just for fun!

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!

The history of downtown’s Victoria Square.

Have you ever wondered about those Victorian houses that stand together behind a fence near the corner of 2nd Avenue and Ash Street in downtown San Diego?

I walk by these colorful old houses frequently, but apart from seeing “Victoria Square” on a sign in front of one, for years I’ve known absolutely nothing about them. So I finally did a little research on the internet.

Victoria Square Vacation Homes is what they’re called now, but originally the houses together were known as Kiessig Corner. The handsome blue corner house, in the Italian Renaissance style, was built by Charles Keissig in 1894. Keissig was a Gold Rush-era immigrant from Germany who supposedly buried $20 gold pieces under the house in glass jars. The house directly adjacent to it on Ash Street was built in 1904-1906. A third, one-story house on Second Avenue (the yellow one you can see on the left in the next photo) was moved to the site from another location at about the same time. A fourth smaller building, which is difficult to see from the street, was originally a carriage house.

In 1976, the site was declared an historic property by the San Diego Historic Site Board, and the run-down romantic turn-of-the-century buildings were purchased by real estate development attorney Sandor Shapery. The houses were rehabilitated by Del Mar architect Paul Thoryk to be used commercially. Apparently years ago there was a restaurant in addition to offices, but my poor old brain cannot remember it. After 2008 the buildings were converted back to residential use.

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!

Bright, fantastic patterns in the city sky.

As an amateur photographer, I’m always looking for interesting photo opportunities as I walk about.

In downtown San Diego some fantastic images can be captured simply by turning my little camera skyward.

Bright reflection, shadow, and the grid-like windows of tall buildings produce strangely appealing patterns. The photographs that result can make what is familiar mysterious.

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!

Oil paintings of the iconic California Tower.

The California Tower in Balboa Park is probably the most iconic sight in all of San Diego. I’ve photographed it many, many times.

Built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the 198 feet tall bell tower, a combination of various architectural styles, rises from the similarly ornate California Building, which is presently home to the Museum of Man. The California Tower invites those who love beauty to come visit one of the most amazing public parks in the entire world.

I’ve taken so many photos of the California Tower over the years, from different angles and during different occasions, that I thought I might have a little fun. Using the GIMP graphic software’s Oilify filter, I’ve transformed some of my images into digital oil paintings!

Here they are!

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 to remember beautiful Balboa Park.

Balboa Park is now temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. When it might reopen is anybody’s guess.

I didn’t go to Balboa Park this weekend, the way I usually do. I already miss it.

I miss the sunshine and smiles, the gardens and amazing architecture, the fountains and beautiful art, the dancing and music. Over the years, my Sunday visits to Balboa Park have become an important part of my life.

As the warming spring weather greens the grass and trees and opens bright new flowers everywhere, wouldn’t you love to walk through one of the world’s most beautiful parks?

Come along on a random walk back through time, and enjoy some of many colorful photographs that I’ve taken over the years.

The following photos are all new to Cool San Diego Sights. They were originally posted to one of my other blogging websites, which is titled Beautiful Balboa Park.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!