Amazing sunset from Balboa Park’s West Mesa!

Would you like to see some amazing sunset photos?

I happened to be in the right place at the right time as the sun set this evening. I was walking along Balboa Park’s West Mesa, looking up at lace-like, brightly lit clouds, when color began to seep into the sky.

As I continued south the sun descended. When I reached Marston Point, the sun’s last red rays peeped over Point Loma in the distance.

In some of these photos you can see not only the nearby buildings of Bankers Hill, but distant Point Loma, and glimpses of San Diego Bay and even North Island. In one photograph you can see a small part of the downtown skyline.

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!

Creating a bike lane on Fifth Avenue.

A segment of Fifth Avenue in downtown San Diego will soon have a dedicated bike lane. I paused to watch work on the separate new lane as I walked to a trolley station this morning.

This particular project is on the north edge of downtown. The segment you see in my photos will connect with the already finished bike lane in Bankers Hill, which is a short distance farther north.

Once everything is completed, bicyclists will be able to safely head up Fifth Avenue, from downtown through Bankers Hill to Hillcrest.

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!

A walk to Hillcrest during the pandemic.

We are in this together!
We are in this together!

This morning I got some exercise by taking a long safe walk. I began downtown, near the southwest corner of Balboa Park, and headed north through Bankers Hill to Hillcrest.

There were signs all around of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic…

Yellow tape stretched between trees along Sixth Avenue indicates Balboa Park is closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Yellow tape stretched between trees along Sixth Avenue indicates Balboa Park is closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Written in chalk on the sidewalk: Thank you healthcare, pharmacy, grocery...
Written in chalk on the sidewalk: Thank you healthcare, pharmacy, grocery…

In one window: Social distancing equals love in action.
In one window: Social distancing equals love in action.

Sign indicates St. Paul's Cathedral is closed as a precaution during the pandemic.
Sign indicates St. Paul’s Cathedral is closed as a precaution during the pandemic.

During my walks around town I've noticed more and more businesses boarded up as the coronavirus pandemic lockdown continues.
During my walks around town I’ve noticed more and more businesses boarded up as the coronavirus pandemic lockdown continues. I noted these positive messages for an unfortunate situation.

Fifth Avenue in Bankers Hill has almost no traffic.
Fifth Avenue in Bankers Hill has almost no traffic.

Temporary services changes are posted at the bus stop on Upas Street.
Temporary services changes are posted at the bus stop on Upas Street.

A tattoo parlor has a graphic in their window. Closed 4 the plague.
A tattoo parlor has a graphic in their window. Closed 4 the plague.

Many restaurants in Hillcrest had Curbside Pickup Only signs out front.
Many restaurants in Hillcrest have Curbside Pickup Only signs out front.

In a parking lot by the UCSD Medical Center hospital, tents are set up for the coronavirus pandemic. Thankfully they aren't in use at the moment!
In a parking lot by UCSD Medical Center, a major San Diego hospital, tents are set up for the coronavirus pandemic. Thankfully most don’t seem to be needed at the moment! (The waving nurse reminded me to Stay Safe!)

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!

Bittersweet window art during the pandemic.

IMG_7602z Life is a blessing and a heartache. Love one another.
Life is a blessing and a heartache. Love one another.

I saw some bittersweet art in Bankers Hill today as I walked up a sidewalk past the windows of a small business. I’m not certain, but I believe this artwork was created during the present coronavirus pandemic.

Powerful words in one window are both uplifting and heartbreaking. Several images nearby include a girl on a swing wearing a face covering, which I photographed.

I notice many people are becoming more philosophical lately.

Pondering life.

Thinking about the human heart.

Assessing what is truly important.

Art in a Bankers Hill window during the coronavirus pandemic. A girl on a swing...with a face covering.
Art in a Bankers Hill window during the coronavirus pandemic. A girl on a swing…with a face covering.

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.

Bankers Hill street art loves National Parks!

Street art at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Quince Street in Bankers Hill.
Street art at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Quince Street in Bankers Hill.

I spotted this happy street art while walking up Sixth Avenue, along the west edge of Balboa Park. An electrical box was recently painted. It shows a wilderness scene with the words: National Parks Are For Lovers.

I believe it’s the same utility box that featured a Pixar Up! adventure theme years ago. That photo is here.

Wilderness painted in the city.
Wilderness painted in the city.

National Parks are for lovers.
National Parks are for lovers.

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 inside the historic Ohr Shalom building.

On Sunday I enjoyed a tour of the Ohr Shalom building in San Diego’s Bankers Hill neighborhood. The historic 1925 building, acquired by the Ohr Shalom Synagogue in 2002, was one of many sites around the city that were open to the public during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2019 OPEN HOUSE SAN DIEGO.

The Ohr Shalom building was designed by architect William H. Wheeler, who is also known for downtown’s iconic Balboa Theatre building.

According to description provided by the San Diego Architectural Foundation: “With its dominant Moorish-style dome suspended high above an octagonal sanctuary embellished with Middle Eastern decorative motifs, the Synagogue . . . is one of the foremost examples of Mediterranean Revival, an architectural style that caught momentum around the mid-1920s.”

I learned that the synagogue was originally built for Congregation Beth Israel by M. Trepte & Son. It is constructed of steel-framed concrete and hollow clay tile, which was innovative for its time. Inside the sanctuary, which features a free-standing balcony, the lines are clean and simple, and worshipers are touched by light shining through the dome and a variety of stained glass windows and panels. Illustrations in the beautiful glass include the Ten Commandments, the menorah and Star of David, and a depiction of the twelve tribes of Israel.

During our tour we were allowed to stand near the pulpit. We were privileged to view one of the Torah scrolls and hear a sample of its reading.

Here are some photos that provide a feel for what it’s like to enter the Ohr Shalom Synagogue.

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!

Sand sculpture murals show San Diego history!

Two bas-relief sand sculpture panels by renowned artist Charles R. Faust in the lobby of 2550 Fifth Avenue in San Diego.
Two bas-relief sand sculpture panels by renowned artist Charles R. Faust in the lobby of 2550 Fifth Avenue in San Diego.

Two amazing works of art can be viewed inside an office building in Bankers Hill. The small murals–sculptures made of sand that appear as bas-relief panels–decorate a wall in the lobby of 5th & Laurel, the building best known as the home of Mister A’s restaurant.

Commissioned by the now defunct Great American First Savings Bank to celebrate their Centennial in 1985, the two panels depict important San Diego landmarks and aspects of local history.

The two sand cast panels were created by Charles R. Faust (1922 – 2000), a prolific artist who for many years worked as the director of architectural design at the San Diego Zoo. His invention of moated animal enclosures in the mid-1950’s revolutionized how the world famous zoo and their Wild Animal Park near Escondido exhibited animals. He also designed the San Diego Zoo’s huge walk-in aviary–the first of its kind in the world.

After retiring from that job, Charles opened Faust Sand Casting in Ocean Beach with his son. Over his creative lifetime the art of Charles Faust would also include fine drawings, watercolors and oil paintings, many of which depicted life in the Old West, a theme he loved.

His sand sculpture murals have added beauty to many locations around San Diego. I photographed a couple of these murals in the past for Cool San Diego Sights, without realizing at the time they were created by Charles Faust. You can spot them here and here!

Yesterday morning I spoke to a security guard in the lobby of 5th & Laurel, and he said these two “sand art” panels were moved from a suite in the building where there used to be a bank. I believe they were in Suite 120, once the home of Pacific Premier Bank, and the future home of an upscale Italian restaurant. But I’m not sure about the exact history of these particular panels. If you know anything more about them, please leave a comment!

(Please note these photographs make the panels seem more yellowish than they are in reality, due to the indoor lighting and my modest camera.)

The panel on the left. It depicts early San Diego history, including Mission San Diego de Alcalá and the ranchos.
The panel on the left. It depicts early San Diego history, including Mission San Diego de Alcalá and the ranchos.

A friar outside the Spanish mission. The man on horseback might be a soldier from the old presidio.
A friar outside the Spanish mission. The man on horseback might be a soldier from the old presidio.

The bells of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, first Spanish mission in Alta California.
The bells of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, first Spanish mission in Alta California.

Scenes from the Old West in San Diego, including an old wagon and a ride on a bucking horse.
Scenes from the Old West in San Diego, including an old wagon and a ride on a bucking horse.

A rancher or vaquero, and a herd of cattle.
A rancher or vaquero, and a herd of cattle.

The panel on the right. It depicts many later San Diego landmarks. Images include Balboa Park, a streetcar, Coronado ferry, naval ship, farm and Victorian houses.
The panel on the right. It depicts many later San Diego landmarks. Images include Balboa Park, a streetcar, Coronado ferry, naval ship, farm and Victorian houses.

GREAT AMERICAN CENTENNIAL – 100 YEARS – 1885-1985
GREAT AMERICAN CENTENNIAL – 100 YEARS – 1885-1985

A sailboat and birds share San Diego Bay with a pre-bridge Coronado ferry and an early 20th century Navy warship. In the upper right corner I spy a tiny Old Point Loma Lighthouse!
A sailboat and birds share San Diego Bay with a pre-bridge Coronado ferry and an early 20th century Navy warship. In the upper right corner I spy a tiny Old Point Loma Lighthouse!

I recognize the Cabrillo Bridge and the California Building and Tower of Balboa Park.
I recognize the Cabrillo Bridge and the California Building and Tower of Balboa Park.

I think I recognize the historic Long-Waterman House of Bankers Hill. The house to the right of it might be a south view of the Britt-Scripps House, but it appears a bit different.
I think I recognize the historic Long-Waterman House of Bankers Hill. The house to the right of it might be a south view of the Britt-Scripps House, but it appears a bit different.

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Photos from recent walks around San Diego.

A couple walks along Broadway in downtown San Diego.
A couple walks along Broadway in downtown San Diego.

This long, lazy weekend I’ve been sifting through my computer, searching for fun photos that I haven’t used yet. I discovered a few that I’d like to share.

These photographs are in no particular order. All were taken in the vicinity of downtown. I snapped them during recent walks down from Cortez Hill, where I live.

You might see why I love San Diego.

Buildings in East Village reflected in the glass windows of the headquarters of Sempra Energy.
Several buildings in East Village are reflected in the glass windows of the headquarters of Sempra Energy.

Looking up at the fantastic dome of downtown's Central Library.
Looking up at the fantastic dome of downtown’s Central Library.

People enjoy the grassy hill in the Park at the Park, near the statue of baseball hitting legend Tony Gwynn.
People enjoy the grassy hill in the Park at the Park, near the statue of baseball hitting legend Tony Gwynn.

A banner hanging on a lamppost near the Gaslamp Quarter landmark sign shows a fun photo from San Diego history.
A banner hanging on a lamppost near the Gaslamp Quarter landmark sign shows a fun photo from San Diego history.

I'm not sure if this is a fluffy llama or alpaca. It stands guard in front of Inka's Bar and Grill in the Gaslamp.
I’m not sure if this is a fluffy llama or alpaca. It stands guard in front of Inka’s Bar and Grill in the Gaslamp.

The Art of Dr. Seuss is now showing at The Chuck Jones Gallery in the Gaslamp.
The Art of Dr. Seuss is now showing at The Chuck Jones Gallery in the Gaslamp.

People play in the fun, splashing fountain at Horton Plaza Park.
People play in the fun, splashing fountain at Horton Plaza Park.

Colorful new banners have recently appeared around Cortez Hill. Very cool!
Colorful new banners have recently appeared around Cortez Hill. Very cool!

Morning photo of the handsome old World Trade Center building, once home to publisher Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Morning photo of the handsome old World Trade Center building, once home to publisher Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Some guys ride their bikes down Fourth Avenue through Bankers Hill.
Some guys ride their bikes down Fourth Avenue through Bankers Hill.

Bright red bougainvillea on a building's balcony in Little Italy.
Bright red bougainvillea on a building’s balcony in Little Italy.

Sunlight on the side of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.
Sunlight on the side of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

A few days ago I spotted a couple in Tuna Harbor having their engagement photos taken by the water.
A few days ago I spotted a couple in Tuna Harbor having their engagement photos taken by the water.

Tourist souvenirs on a vendor's cart on the Embarcadero.
Tourist souvenirs on a vendor’s cart on the Embarcadero.

The Admiral Hornblower and another boat pass near the bow of the USS Midway Museum, recently deemed the best attraction in California.
The Admiral Hornblower and another boat pass near the bow of the USS Midway Museum, recently deemed the best attraction in California.

Enjoying San Diego bay from the end of Broadway Pier, watching the Maritime Museum of San Diego's restored Swift Boat pass on by.
Enjoying sunny San Diego Bay from the end of Broadway Pier, watching the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s restored Swift Boat pass on by.

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An architectural masterpiece in San Diego.

An architectural masterpiece, the First Church of Christ, Scientist building by Irving Gill.
An architectural masterpiece, the First Church of Christ, Scientist building by Irving Gill.

The First Church of Christ, Scientist building, designed by renowned architect Irving Gill and completed in 1910, is considered by many to be a masterpiece. I often pause a minute or two to admire its simple, rhythmic beauty when I walk near Second Avenue and Laurel Street in Bankers Hill.

During the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2018 OPEN HOUSE event a couple weekends ago, I ventured inside the church for the very first time.

I was interested to learn that when it was completed over a century ago, the mayor of San Diego considered the building such an amazing architectural accomplishment that he showed it to visiting dignitaries. I also learned that the church underwent a “modern” remodel in the 1950’s, which removed archways, windows and the beautiful glass dome. Thankfully the building was restored to its original appearance in 1998.

To my fascinated eyes, the arches, windows and tower are elegant, like notes of music. The white stucco enhances every perfect line and curve, as if a cloud were carved precisely with the architect’s pencil.

I took some photos! Read the captions for additional information.

Simple arches and lines mount skyward like a cubist painting.
Simple arches and lines mount skyward like a cubist painting.

First Church of Christ Scientist 1909. I believe the 1904 signifies the year of their first small downtown building, which stands at Third Avenue and Ash Street and is now occupied by the attorney King Aminpour.
First Church of Christ Scientist 1909. I believe the 1904 signifies the year of their first small downtown building, which stands at Third Avenue and Ash Street and is now occupied by the attorney King Aminpour.

Balloons outside the entrance indicate this church is a participant in the annual San Diego Architectural Foundation's OPEN HOUSE.
Balloons outside the entrance indicate this church is a participant in the annual San Diego Architectural Foundation OPEN HOUSE.

Arched windows inside admit light and create an impression of heavenly space.
Arched windows inside admit light and create an impression of heavenly space. I’m reminded of a jewel’s bright facets.

Like a crown of gold, organ pipes dominate the altar of a light-filled sanctuary.
Like a crown of gold, organ pipes dominate the altar of a light-filled sanctuary.

The amazing stained glass dome above the church sanctuary.
The amazing stained glass dome above the church sanctuary.

A large poster containing photographs of the building's 1950's appearance and historic restoration. (Click image to enlarge.)
A large poster containing photographs of the building’s 1950’s appearance and historic restoration. (Click image to enlarge.)

The poster's legend. The restoration brought back much of the natural light admitted by the original archways and glass dome.
The poster’s legend. The restoration brought back much of the natural light admitted by the original archways and glass dome.

Photo of the sanctuary in the 1950's. Perhaps at the time this was considered tasteful, but today it seems very drab.
Photo of the sanctuary in the 1950’s. Perhaps at the time this was considered tasteful, but today it seems very drab.

Old photo of this famous Irving Gill building, the dome just visible on the rooftop.
Old photo of this famous Irving Gill building, the dome just visible on the rooftop.

I was told these are some of the original Irving Gill blueprints. The are displayed with other documents and historical photos in a hallway near the church sanctuary.
I was told these are some of the original Irving Gill blueprints. The are displayed with other documents and historical photos in a hallway near the church sanctuary.

An architectural marvel in San Diego's Bankers Hill neighborhood.
An architectural marvel in San Diego’s Bankers Hill 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!

A quick peek inside St. Paul’s Cathedral.

View of St. Paul's Cathedral in Bankers Hill from across Fifth Avenue.
View of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral from across Fifth Avenue.

I swung by St. Paul’s Cathedral in Bankers Hill a couple weekends ago during the San Diego Architectural Foundation 2018 OPEN HOUSE event. A friendly gentleman named Bob who belongs to this Episcopal church showed me the original Great Hall which was completed in 1929, then the impressive interior of the cathedral, or “big house” as he called it, which was finally completed in 1951.

St. Paul’s Cathedral was designed by architect Philip Frohman, who is best remembered as the designer of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The building contains elements of both Gothic and Romanesque architecture. The original pipes of the historic church organ date from 1887. They were brought by ship around Cape Horn, to serve as the first organ in Old Town San Diego.

The cathedral was visited by Queen Elizabeth II in 1983 during her trip to San Diego aboard Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia. I was told that she spoke to the congregation and enjoyed listening to Evensong.

I gleaned a few odd bits of information during the informal tour and have included them in my photo captions.

Looking north at the impressive cathedral and its stained glass windows from Nutmeg Street.
Looking north at the impressive cathedral and its many stained glass windows from Nutmeg Street.

St. Paul's Cathedral in San Diego was designed by famed architect Philip Frohman.
St. Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego was designed by famed architect Philip Frohman.

Ladies exit through an arcade of elegant columns.
Ladies exit through an arcade of elegant columns.

A gentleman in the church's courtyard greeted visitors for the weekend architectural event.
A gentleman in the church’s courtyard greeted visitors during the weekend architectural event.

Construction of St. Paul's Parish House or Great Hall began in 1928.
Construction of St. Paul’s parish house or Great Hall began in 1928.

The most notable thing I saw in the Great Hall is the incredible original wooden beamed ceiling, which is showing signs of age.
The most notable thing I saw in the Great Hall is the incredible original wooden beamed ceiling, which is showing signs of age.

Turning my camera for another shot of this amazing ceiling.
Turning my camera for another shot of this amazing ceiling.

Sunlight enters through a rose window.
Sunlight enters through a rose window.

A plaque in the courtyard area between the Great Hall and cathedral. This garden commemorates the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh to this church on February 27, 1983.
A plaque in the courtyard area between the Great Hall and cathedral. This garden commemorates the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh to this church on February 27, 1983.

Inside the beautiful cathedral, looking east from the nave toward the chancel and historic pipe organ.
Inside the beautiful cathedral, looking east from the nave toward the chancel and historic Great Organ.

People have quietly entered the sacred place. The gray interior walls allow the stained glass lancet windows, created by Judson Studios in Pasadena, to fill the eyes of worshipers.
People have quietly entered the sacred place. The gray interior walls allow light from the stained glass lancet windows, created by Judson Studios in Pasadena, to fill the eyes of worshipers.

This small Lady Chapel to the east was built in 1975. It is used for weddings and other celebrations. It contains a much smaller organ.
This small Lady Chapel to the east was built in 1975. It’s used for weddings and other celebrations. It contains a smaller organ.

The cathedra, or bishop's throne, off to one side.
The cathedra, or bishop’s seat, off to one side.

More resplendent stained glass, like celestial visions shining through darkness.
More resplendent stained glass, like celestial visions shining through darkness.

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!