Photos of Little Italy’s new Piazza Giannini.

The new Piazza Giannini, at the corner of India and Cedar Street in downtown San Diego.
The new Piazza Giannini, at the corner of India and Cedar Street in downtown San Diego.

A new public space opened last month in downtown’s Little Italy neighborhood. Piazza Giannini, located at the corner of India Street and West Cedar Street, is a community gathering place that pays tribute to a famous Italian American who invented many of the conveniences of modern banking.

Born in San Jose, A.P. Giannini was a big believer in California. He started the Bank of Italy in San Francisco, and dedicated it to ordinary middle class Americans and hardworking immigrants that other banks wouldn’t serve. Believing in equal access to all, the Bank of Italy opened hundreds of branches throughout the state. Eventually it became Bank of America.

A sign at Piazza Giannini explains how donors can purchase plaques in this new public space.
A sign at Piazza Giannini explains how donors can purchase plaques in this new public space.
Amadeo P. Giannini was born in San Jose to Italian immigrants. He believed California and its citizens could lead the country to prosperity.
Amadeo P. Giannini was born in San Jose to Italian immigrants. He believed California and its citizens could lead the country to prosperity.
. . . we should bend increasing efforts to demonstrate the equality that underlies the American philosophy.
. . . we should bend increasing efforts to demonstrate the equality that underlies the American philosophy.
. . . No man actually ever owns fortune--it owns him.
. . . No man actually ever owns fortune–it owns him.
Serving the needs of others is the only legitimate business today.
Serving the needs of others is the only legitimate business today.
A streetlamp banner in San Diego's Little Italy pays tribute to Amadeo Giannini, father of modern banking.
A streetlamp banner in San Diego’s Little Italy pays tribute to Amadeo Giannini, father of modern banking.
A banker should consider himself a servant of the people, a servant of the community.
A banker should consider himself a servant of the people, a servant of the community.
The bronze bust of Amadeo Pietro Giannini at Piazza Giannini in Little Italy.
The bronze bust of Amadeo Pietro Giannini at Piazza Giannini in Little Italy.

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Tasty upgrades coming to the Gaslamp!

The large Reading Cinemas building on Fifth Avenue is being renovated. Once reopened, the interior will be radically altered.
The large Reading Cinemas building on Fifth Avenue is being renovated. Once reopened, the interior will be radically altered.

Early yesterday morning I walked through the Gaslamp Quarter. As usual, I was amazed at all the ongoing renovation of buildings and businesses up and down Fifth Avenue.

It isn’t unusual for restaurants and nightclubs to come and go, but several projects are in progress that will upgrade long-time San Diego destinations.

The two projects that I observed were a radical transformation of the building that used to be home to the now closed 15-screen Reading Cinemas, and an expansion and redesign of the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop.

The old Reading Cinemas building is being converted into a luxury movie theater and two restaurants. The developer is part owner of the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The Gaslamp’s new 8-screen Theatre Box will host film festivals, San Diego Comic-Con events, and be within steps of a tasty new Sugar Factory restaurant (which includes a candy store with superhero themes) and a Landshark Bar and Grill (part of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville food and hospitality empire).

A somewhat confined Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop down the street is being expanded and made much more roomy and inviting. When completed, it will once again welcome visitors to the Gaslamp Quarter with a tempting array of delectable, mouth-watering treats!

Fifth Avenue south of Broadway is the hub of San Diego's popular Gaslamp Quarter.
Fifth Avenue south of Broadway is the hub of San Diego’s popular Gaslamp Quarter.
Workers beautify a building that will be home to a luxury theater and two new restaurants.
Workers beautify a building that will be home to a luxury theater and two new restaurants.
One of several Gaslamp destinations undergoing renovation. Many downtown establishments strive to be attractive and upscale.
One of several Gaslamp destinations undergoing renovation. Many downtown establishments strive to be attractive and upscale.
The iconic Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop will also see various changes.
The iconic Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop will also see various changes.
Square footage is being increased and counters repositioned. The interior will be less crowded, more inviting.
Square footage is being increased and counters repositioned. The interior will be less crowded, more inviting.
A graphic on a construction fence designed to make people drool! All these Ghirardelli treats and more will be returning to the Gaslamp!
A graphic on a construction fence designed to make people drool! All these Ghirardelli treats and more will be returning to the Gaslamp!

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!

Science questions that curious kids can ask.

How was Earth made. How many skin cells do we have.
How was the Earth made? How many skin cells do we have?

Thousands of kids attended the 2018 San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering EXPO Day event today at Petco Park. The annual festival of STEM learning features all sorts of fun activities and demonstrations presented by dozens of local schools, universities, businesses and organizations.

Kids wandering from booth to booth were encouraged to ask a variety of fascinating questions. Young minds learned about physics, medical research, information technology, space exploration, environmental science . . . The number of scientific subjects seemed unlimited.

Fun experiments were performed. Conclusions resulted. More questions arose.

That’s how science works!

As I wandered about the festival I discovered some questions that curious kids might ask…

Thousands of curious kids attend EXPO Day at Petco Park during the 2018 San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering.
Thousands of curious kids attended EXPO Day at Petco Park during the 2018 San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering.
To help support STEM learning in San Diego and the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering, read this banner.
To help support STEM learning in San Diego and the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering, read this banner.
How is curiosity a driving force behind human progress and development.
How is curiosity a driving force behind human progress and development?
What is in snot. How does mucus neutralize an invading virus.
What is in snot? How does mucus neutralize an invading virus?
How does a snake move.
How does a snake move?
Why is math important. Why are puzzles so much fun.
Why is math important? Why are puzzles so stimulating?
What are amino acids.
What are amino acids?
What is symmetry. Why is it found in plants and animals.
What is symmetry? Why is it found in plants and animals?
Can creative people and scientists be superheroes
Can creative people and scientists be real superheroes?
Can science be fun. Can you make a rap song about something scientific.
Can science be entertaining? Can you invent a rap song about something scientific?
What is a molecule.
What is a molecule? What is an atom? Is anything smaller than an atom?
What is oobleck. Where did the word come from. How do you make it.
What is oobleck? What Dr. Seuss book did the word come from?
How do you make a secret code. How do you decipher a code.
How do you make a secret code? How do you decipher a code?
Can little robots destroy cancer. Why do earthquakes become so strong in some cases.
Can little robots destroy cancer? Why do earthquakes become so strong in some cases?
What is light.
What is light?
How does a flamingo become pink.
How does a flamingo become pink?
What is static electricity.
What is static electricity?
What are comets made of.
What are comets made of?
How was the first cell created. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.
How was the first cell created? How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
What is the extracellular matrix.
What is the extracellular matrix?
How does your heart work. How do you keep it healthy.
How does your heart work? How do you keep it healthy?
How do we stop pollution.
How do we stop pollution?
Is fusion the energy for the future of mankind.
Is fusion the energy for the future of mankind?
How can we remember many things like language. Why are some people so tall when their parents are so short.
How can we remember many things like language? Why are some people so tall when their parents are so short?
Why does a jellyfish glow.
Why does a jellyfish glow?
Why is this silly guy acting like a jellyfish.
Why is this silly guy acting like a jellyfish?
How does the Earth stay in orbit. How can people help the Earth stay healthy.
How does the Earth stay in orbit? How can people help the Earth stay healthy?
What is it like to be in space. How do you become an astronaut.
What does it feel like to be in outer space? How do you become an astronaut?

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!

Beautiful ferry mosaic on Coronado Walgreens.

Mosaic on Walgreens building in Coronado depicts an old ferry crossing San Diego Bay.
Mosaic on Walgreens building in Coronado depicts an old ferry crossing San Diego Bay.

Last weekend during my walk through Coronado I noticed a really beautiful work of art. A colorful mosaic, set into the travertine exterior of the Walgreens building on Orange Avenue, depicts a ferry crossing San Diego Bay crowned by a flock of seagulls.

According to my limited research, it appears that the mosaic was created in 1985 by Susan Hertel and Denis O’Connor, in collaboration with Millard Owen Sheets, who designed many Home Savings of America bank branches in California. The mosaic represents one of the historic ferryboats that once transported cars between Coronado and San Diego. Ferries for cars operated until 1969, the year the San Diego–Coronado Bridge opened.

When the artwork debuted, the building at 925 Orange Avenue was a Home Savings branch. Subsequently it became a Petco. As building occupants have come and gone, the extraordinary mosaic has been preserved.

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!

LimeBike smart bicycles arrive in San Diego!

Rows of bright new LimeBike smart bicycles have appeared in downtown San Diego.
Bright new LimeBike smart bicycles have suddenly appeared in downtown San Diego!

Look what I discovered as I walked down Cedar Street to the Little Italy trolley station this morning. A bunch of identical lime green bicycles were waiting in a row on the sidewalk!

Upon closer inspection, I saw these bikes can be rented simply by unlocking them with a smartphone. And riders pay only one dollar per half hour! Very affordable!

LimeBike has just announced the introduction of their smart pedal bikes into downtown San Diego. That must explain why I’ve never them before.

In the future, I’ve learned they intend to introduce a fleet of Lime-E electric assist bikes and Lime-S scooters. Sounds like a great idea to me!

The 1st ride of a LimeBike is free! They cost is only one dollar per half hour!
The 1st ride of a LimeBike is free! Renting one of these smart bikes costs only $1 per half hour.
Instructions on a LimeBike show how to scan the QR code to unlock the bicycle.
Instructions on a LimeBike show how to scan the QR code to unlock the bicycle.
I found more LimeBikes parked on the sidewalk near some colorful public art at the Little Italy trolley station!
I found more LimeBikes parked on the sidewalk at the Little Italy trolley station!

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!

Collecting memories from Marston’s Department Store.

Remembering Marston's Department Store. Please help the Save Our Heritage Organisation gather artifacts and memories to preserve a part of San Diego history.
Please help the Save Our Heritage Organisation gather artifacts and memories to preserve a part of San Diego history. (Click this photo to enlarge the flyer for easy reading.)

I recently tood a photo of a flyer that I spotted in the Senior Lounge in Balboa Park. Please click the above image and read it.

Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) is seeking memorabilia, ephemera, merchandise and memories from Marston’s Department Store, which for nearly a century was the most elegant place to shop in San Diego. The department store was founded by George Marston, who is often referred to as San Diego’s First Citizen. As a civic leader and philanthropist, he was instrumental in creating Balboa Park, Presidio Park and the San Diego Historical Society.

Marston began as a clerk at the Horton House Hotel and eventually built the Marston Company, which ran a department store in San Diego. When earlier locations became outgrown, the large, elegant Marston’s Department Store on C Street, between 5th and 6th Street, built in the Renaissance Revival architectural style, opened in 1912 and became a popular downtown shopping destination. In 1961 it was sold by his family to The Broadway, which has since closed.

Artifacts related to Marston’s Department Store will be used by SOHO in a permanent exhibit inside their Marston House Museum in Balboa Park. Items that you contribute can be sent or delivered to the SOHO offices in Old Town. Recorded memories are also sought. The 2018 exhibit celebrates the 140th anniversary of the store’s founding!

Do you know anyone who shopped at Marston’s Department Store those many years ago? Perhaps they can help the Save Our Heritage Organisation with this very cool project!

George Marston, circa 1907-1908, San Diego businessman, civic leader and philanthropist. Public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons.
George Marston, circa 1907-1908, San Diego businessman, civic leader and philanthropist. Public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons.
Photo of The San Diego Union newspaper from Monday Morning, January 1, 1912. Depicted is the brand new Marston Department Store. The headline reads: Modern Mercantile Emporium One of Best Three on Coast.
Photo of San Diego Union newspaper from Monday morning, January 1, 1912. Depicted is a brand new Marston Department Store. The headline reads: Modern Mercantile Emporium One of Best Three on Coast.

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!

Sea Grant California exhibit at the Dockside Market.

These friendly people with Sea Grant California showed me all sorts of fascinating creatures that reside off our coast! They encourage using locally sourced food.
These friendly people with Sea Grant California showed me all sorts of fascinating creatures that thrive off our coast! They encourage using locally sourced food.

During a walk last weekend, I headed out onto the pier just north of Seaport Village where the ever-growing Tuna Harbor Dockside Market is held on Saturday mornings. In addition to the local fishermen selling a wide variety of freshly caught seafood, I noticed one table with an interesting exhibit. Folks were demonstrating a few of the many different sea creatures that can be caught off San Diego’s coast.

I learned this display was created by Sea Grant California, an organization that connects government agencies, California universities, nonprofit organizations, local businesses and residents in our coastal community. Their mission is to conduct impartial research, disseminate knowledge, encourage best practices for environmental stewardship and optimize sustainable economic development.

Lots of people on the pier were checking out the live marine creatures on display, and learning which species are most common in the Pacific Ocean off our coast. I was told that most of San Diego’s commercial fishermen are conscientious and highly responsible. There are about 131 commercial fishing vessels licensed in the county. Many are based in Tuna Harbor, which occupies a picturesque stretch of San Diego’s Embarcadero.

In addition, I learned that the Port of San Diego is testing an aquaculture project at the end of one of Tuna Harbor’s docks. The port’s Oyster Nursery Research Project is part of an expanding effort to try out new Blue Economy technologies in San Diego Bay. The concept of a Blue Economy is to use innovative methods to maximize resources that are locally available in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

Very cool!

Fresh locally caught fish on ice for sale at San Diego's Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.
Fresh locally caught fish on ice for sale at San Diego’s Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.
The Port of San Diego's Oyster Nursery Research Project at the end of a dock inside Tuna Harbor.
The Port of San Diego’s Oyster Nursery Research Project at the end of a dock inside Tuna Harbor.
What's for dinner?
What’s for dinner?

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!