Happy memories, and the decline of Seaport Village.

I have many happy memories of Seaport Village.

Back in the 1980’s, when I was a young and Seaport Village was new, my family would occasionally head downtown to enjoy the place. We’d stroll around the meandering pathways, poke our noses inside the specialty shops, browse the shelves of the cool bookstore, and enjoy lunch at one of several restaurants.

I was always intrigued by the big selection of magic tricks in the magic shop. At the candy store I’d shovel dozens of different sweets into a small bag, then eat them during the rest of our walk. We’d watch kites soaring in the blue San Diego sky at the nearby grassy park, and sailboats out on the bay. We always tried to catch Kazoo, the Seaport Village mime, performing.

On Sunday I walked through Seaport Village and was saddened to see many of the old shops are now vacant. The east half of Seaport Village almost resembles a ghost town.

Yes, there are plans to redevelop this valuable part of downtown’s bayfront, to make it more attractive and dynamic. Seaport San Diego will feature an observation tower, hotels, even an aquarium. But I’ve been told that future is somewhat uncertain and is still years away.

I’ve also been told that with this uncertain future and a recent change to the Seaport Village management, many shop owners have chosen not to renew their leases.

And yet today I saw hundreds of families happily walking about Seaport Village, visiting those shops and eateries that remain open. Such is the place’s reputation.

Over the decades Seaport Village has been the source of pleasure for millions of people.

But time and progress march on…

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!

New art installed at InterContinental hotel.

This evening I was walking along Broadway past the new, almost completed InterContinental San Diego when I noticed a couple of guys installing artwork near the waterfront luxury hotel’s entrance.

I spoke briefly to one of the workers and learned they were following a general design that was provided to them. I’m not sure who the artist is, but I like what I see so far!

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!

Protruding piles pulled powerfully upward!

An old pile once used to support Anthony's Fish Grotto on San Diego's Embarcadero is removed with a large crane.
An old pile once used to support Anthony’s Fish Grotto on San Diego’s Embarcadero is removed with a large crane.

Here’s a quick, fun post . . . about posts!

I got off work early this afternoon, so I took a slow walk along the Embarcadero. By sheer chance, today happened to be the day that old piles from the now demolished Anthony’s Fish Grotto were being extracted.

After watching a large crane on a barge lift one pile skyward, I asked a nearby worker to describe what I was seeing. He explained that the long concrete piles had been installed in 1964, and had supported the old Anthony’s Fish Grotto structure for half a century. I stood for a while and watched the crane do some more heavy lifting.

My friend Carlos, who shows his cool artistic creations near the water, had watched this activity for much of the day. He told me that in the morning some powerful machinery had gripped and violently vibrated each pile for 30 seconds or so, in order to loosen them prior to extraction. I wish I had seen that!

Many extracted piles were already stacked on the barge beside the crane when I walked by.
Many extracted piles were already stacked on the barge beside the crane when I walked by.
Several construction workers were making ready for a new project. The Portside Pier will include a Brigantine restaurant, various smaller eateries and a public observation deck.
Several construction workers were making ready for a new project. The Portside Pier will include a Brigantine restaurant, several smaller eateries and a public observation deck. I believe the supporting structures you see in the water will remain.
My friend Carlos points out this fascinating activity on the bayfront. I see the Star of India and the Maritime Museum of San Diego in the distance.
My friend Carlos points toward some fascinating activity on the bayfront. I see the Star of India and the Maritime Museum of San Diego in the distance.
A gull circles overhead as a long, dripping wet pile is carefully lifted skyward!
A gull circles overhead as a long, dripping wet pile is carefully hoisted skyward!

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!

Waterfront visions and the passage of time.

A mysterious, glittering reflection of the Port Pavilion on San Diego Bay.
A mysterious, glittering reflection of the Port Pavilion on San Diego Bay.

So many new buildings are rising around downtown my head spins whenever I’m out for a walk.

In the past few years a host of gleaming high-rises has materialized near the water, and the Embarcadero has been so dramatically improved I can barely recall the way our waterfront once appeared.

This morning during a walk I captured some dreamlike visions with my camera. And my mind began to ponder the stealthy passage of time. The past can be so difficult to remember…the future can be so difficult to envision…

A gull passes over smooth water one morning, as the Coast Guard station shines in early sunlight.
Another morning. A gull glides over smooth San Diego Bay. A short distance north of downtown, the Coast Guard station shines in the early sunlight.
Reflections of buildings along San Diego's waterfront. Like fragments of dancing light, these visions change as years pass.
Reflections of buildings along San Diego’s waterfront. Like dancing fragments of light, these visions change as the years pass quickly by.
The InterContinental Hotel rising beside San Diego's Embarcadero is beginning to appear complete.
The InterContinental Hotel, under construction at the location of old Lane Field, is beginning to appear complete.
Near the Broadway Pier, early morning light invites people into a new day. The remnants of past days are quietly swept up.
Near the Broadway Pier, morning light invites people into the brand new day. Remnants of past days are quietly swept up.
A crane on a barge. The demolition of Anthony's Fish Grotto on the Embarcadero has begun.
A crane on a barge. The demolition of Anthony’s Fish Grotto on the Embarcadero has begun.
A peek into the past, and into the future.
A peek into the past, and into the future.

If you’d like to time travel on this blog, here are some links concerning past construction along the Embarcadero, in chronological order.

I myself hadn’t visited some of these old posts for years. Memories were rekindled…

San Diego’s Embarcadero made more beautiful.

San Diego’s big new waterfront park opens!

Improvements on North Embarcadero celebrated!

Timeline shows history of San Diego’s Embarcadero.

Grass grows again at historic Lane Field!

Bay Cafe makes way for new observation platform.

Fun sculptures debut at San Diego waterfront park!

Workers install engraved name pavers at Broadway Pier.

Last chance to enjoy Anthony’s at the waterfront.

Buildings rise and fall along San Diego’s waterfront.

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!

Holiday by the Bay opens in San Diego.

Holiday by the Bay in front of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront opened on Thanksgiving. There is an ice rink, Christmas-themed miniature golf and many colorful lights.
Holiday by the Bay in front of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront opened on Thanksgiving. There is an ice rink, Christmas-themed miniature golf and many colorful lights.

During my walk this evening I noticed that Holiday by the Bay has opened. It’s Thanksgiving Day.

Cheerful lights surround a small ice rink and a fun Christmas-themed miniature golf course in front of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. While just one person was skating as I walked by, it looks like a wonderful place to spend some time!

Holiday by the Bay is open until New Year’s Day. With every ticket purchased, Hilton will give $1 to USO San Diego. According to the Hilton website, one can eat breakfast outside here with Santa!

Best of all, it’s a place of innocent joy and peace. On beautiful San Diego Bay.

It's early evening. Someone enjoys the ice rink on San Diego's beautiful waterfront.
It’s early evening. Someone enjoys the ice rink on San Diego’s beautiful waterfront.
It's almost sunset on Thanksgiving. Some cheerful Christmas trees are lit.
It’s almost sunset on Thanksgiving Day. Some cheerful Christmas trees are lit.
Lights, fun and good cheer await visitors to Holiday by the Bay!
Lights, fun and good cheer await visitors to Holiday by the Bay!

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!

Searching for warmth by the water on a chilly day.

A chilly wind. And an umbrella--just in case.
A chilly wind. And an umbrella–just in case.

This afternoon I went on a long, chilly walk along San Diego Bay. The sky was mostly gray. I regretted not wearing a light jacket. But I pressed on.

You never know when the sun might burst through.

The winter ice rink is being set up in front of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Anticipating holiday cheer.
The winter ice rink is being set up in front of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Anticipating warm holiday cheer.
Few people are out walking under the gray clouds. But two can always hold hands.
Few people are out walking under the gray clouds. But two can always hold hands.
Pigeons swoop in endless searching circles, before settling somewhere far away.
Pigeons swoop in long searching circles, before settling somewhere far away.
The sun is up there. Somewhere.
The sun is up there. Somewhere.
This person moving forward refuses to retreat.
This person moving forward refuses to retreat.
Time takes a toll. The Marriott Marina is slowly being refurbished. Moving forward, looking ahead.
Time takes a toll. The Marriott Marina is slowly being refurbished. Pushing forward, looking ahead.
A worker defies gravity near the Marriott Marquis.
A worker defies gravity near the Marriott Marquis.
Surfing Santa is awaiting the perfect wave. It should arrive soon.
Surfing Santa is awaiting a perfect wave–it should arrive in Seaport Village before too long.
Who is that lifting his hat! It's Mitchell, the cool didgeridoo guy! I was reminded by Mitchell that Earth's sun is a G-type main-sequence star. Nuclear fusion is pretty warm!
Who is that lifting his hat? It’s Mitchell, the cool didgeridoo guy! I was reminded by Mitchell that Earth’s sun is a G-type main-sequence star. I had forgotten. Nuclear fusion is pretty warm!
A smile like a ray of sunshine.
A smile like a ray of sunshine.

(And here I must make an apology.

While I sat on a rail speaking to Mitchell about life, the cosmos, and whatever, two smiling ladies came on by pushing a cart full of Noosa yogurt samples. Mitchell earned his sample by summoning deep magic with his didgeridoo. For my sample, I promised to post a photo of the smiling ladies on my blog–right here–where there is no photo.

Sorry. My camera beeped as if a photo were taken. But alas. My battery went dead and it turns out I don’t have that smiling photo.

I will say, however, that my Noosa yogurt was super creamy, yummy, and scrumdiddlyumptious. I really liked the bits of chocolate. I’m a sucker for chocolate.

There. Now will you forgive me?

Thank you ladies for helping to lift my spirits–it fits this theme perfectly!)

A distant kiteboarder, harnessing the chilly wind, rises above San Diego Bay.
A distant kiteboarder, harnessing the wind, rises above San Diego Bay.
Who cares about the weather? One can always make bubbles.
Who cares about the weather? One can always make bubbles.
Even during a gloomy spell, life can be very good!
Even during a gloomy spell, life can be very good! Just 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!

Waning rays of sunlight, magically captured.

One of the metal Wind Palms in front of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront catches golden light at the end of an October day.
One of the metal Wind Palms in front of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront catches golden light at the end of an autumn day.

I walked along the Embarcadero late today. As I reached the Hilton San Diego Bayfront the sun was beginning to set. Looking up, I observed that golden rays of waning sunlight had been magically captured by some peculiar palm trees…

Sunset begins behind trees of Embarcadero Marina Park South.
Sunset begins behind the trees of Embarcadero Marina Park South.
Late sunlight on one of the rotating Wind Palms created by artist Ned Kahn in 2008.
Late sunlight on one of the rotating Wind Palms created by artist Ned Kahn in 2008.
People jog along San Diego's Embarcadero as evening approaches.
People walk and jog along San Diego’s Embarcadero as evening approaches.
Waning rays of sunlight, magically captured.
Waning rays of sunlight, magically captured.

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!