A rambling Sunday walk along Morena Boulevard.

Graphic on wall of Coronado Brewing Company San Diego Tasting Room. WISH YOU WERE beer.
Graphic on wall of Coronado Brewing Company San Diego Tasting Room. WISH YOU WERE beer.

Today I took a rambling walk along Morena Boulevard. These photos start around Knoxville Street in Bay Park and proceed south to the area where Morena and West Morena split.

You might notice few people in the photos. It’s Sunday and many businesses are closed. And of course there’s the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, keeping many at home.

If you ever drive through the Morena District, you’ll probably recognize some of these sights. Many of the old shops and small businesses along the street aren’t much to look at, but there are a few that stand out!

(I took this walk in order to photograph two really great murals in particular. I’ll post those pics shortly. I also wanted to check on the status of a mysterious, possibly historical wooden tombstone by a parking lot that I’d seen years ago. The mystery has deepened, as you’ll see in another upcoming blog post!)

Now let’s walk…

Sculpture of lady tending her garden in front of the Armstrong Garden Center.
Sculpture of lady tending her garden in front of the Armstrong Garden Center.
Another look at the gardening sculpture.
Another look at the gardening sculpture.
Beautiful bloom between the Knoxville Street sidewalk and Armstrong Garden Center.
Beautiful bloom between the Knoxville Street sidewalk and Armstrong Garden Center.
The Cordova Bar. This must be the place!
The Cordova Bar. This must be the place!
Mermaid door handles at the entrance to The Cordova Bar.
Mermaid door handles at the entrance to The Cordova Bar.
Sign on fence near U.S. Karate Academy encourages people to Be Your Best!
Sign on fence near U.S. Karate Academy encourages people to Be Your Best!
Banner on lamp post invites people to Shop for Home Decor in the Morena District.
Banner on lamp post invites people to Shop for Home Decor in the Morena District.
Cool motorcycle graphic on wall of Sidecar Bar.
Cool motorcycle graphic on wall of Sidecar Bar.
There's a T. Rex on the roof of Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital! It must've escaped!
There’s a T. Rex on the roof of Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital! It must’ve escaped!
This cool graphic of a van with a surfboard is on the side of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters.
This cool graphic of a van with a surfboard is on the side of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters.
Clouds and palm trees reflected on angles of window glass.
Clouds and palm trees reflected on angles of window glass.
Now I'm walking along near the Valero gas station.
Now I’m walking along near the Valero gas station.
A colorful mural near the front door of Nico's Mexican Food.
A colorful mural near the front door of Nico’s Mexican Food.
Super cool surfboards hang out beside the front door of Bird's Surf Shed.
Super cool surfboards hang out beside the front door of Bird’s Surf Shed.
Mural at Bird's Surf Shed was painted by Skye Walker in 2014.
Mural at Bird’s Surf Shed was painted by Skye Walker in 2014. Tubular, dude!
Vintage automobile parked alone in corner of a parking lot.
Vintage automobile parked alone in corner of a parking lot.
Looks like a farm around the entrance to Bull's Smokin' BBQ. Fun sculptures greet passersby on West Morena Boulevard.
Looks like a ranch around the entrance to Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ. Fun animal sculptures greet passersby on West Morena Boulevard.
Two bulls and one pig.
Walking beside two bulls and one pig.

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!

Life slowly returns to the Gaslamp Quarter.

People gather in front of Barleymash as some restaurants reopen in the Gaslamp for dining during the coronavirus pandemic.
People wait in front of Barleymash as some restaurants reopen in the Gaslamp for dining during the coronavirus pandemic.

Life is slowly returning to the Gaslamp Quarter. Some restaurants and bars have just begun to reopen. Dining at restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic is now permitted if establishments and customers abide by strict rules.

Early this evening–the Friday of Memorial Day weekend–I walked up Fifth Avenue and observed small groups of people waiting in line on the sidewalk and seated at outdoor tables. Many Gaslamp eateries are still closed. I was told that for some it remains a wait-and-see situation.

So life downtown is becoming a little more vibrant.

It will be fascinating to watch how long it might take the Gaslamp Quarter to regain its former popularity, given the fact that COVID-19 is still among us.

I suspect there are many who remain cautious.

Much of the historic Gaslamp Quarter was still quiet early Friday evening, on Memorial Day weekend.
Much of the historic Gaslamp Quarter was still quiet early Friday evening, at the beginning of Memorial Day weekend.
A few customers sit in front of The Field Irish Pub.
A few customers sit in front of The Field Irish Pub.
El Chingon in the Gaslamp Quarter is open and ready for diners! If you love Mexican food, it's the place to go!
I learned that El Chingon in the Gaslamp Quarter is open and ready for diners! Mexican food is their specialty!

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!

And still I rise.

The pace of construction in downtown San Diego hasn’t appeared to lag during the coronavirus pandemic. The city grows and grows.

Even in times that seem dark, a human urge to press forward does not die.

I took these few photographs during my walk this morning.

And still I rise…

And still I rise.
And still I rise.

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 thousand abstract paintings on one wall.

This morning I had to hurry through downtown to catch the trolley for work. Given more time, I could’ve taken a thousand photographs of abstract paintings on one fantastic construction site wall.

(Okay, there are fragments of wood and old peeling paper. So you might say some of these “works” are mixed media collage.)

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.

Vandalism downtown during the lockdown.

This morning I saw several workers in Little Italy painting over ugly, newly scrawled graffiti.

During my walks around downtown, I’ve noticed that vandalism has increased during the current coronavirus lockdown.

The friendly guys painting over the illegal graffiti indicated that because the streets are emptier than usual, those who go about tagging buildings, walls, signs and other targets have become more active, as there are fewer eyes outside who might witness their activity. San Diego has had a substantial increase in the homeless population in recent years, and unfortunately that means gang members who move about the city selling meth and other drugs. I might be a bit naive on such matters, but I reckon at least some of this vandalism is the marking of territory.

In any case, it’s obviously a disturbing and disheartening situation.

I took some representative photographs this morning during my walk through Little Italy and along the waterfront.

Thank you to the unsung heroes–like those guys in the first and last photo–who work tirelessly to make our city not only less ugly, but safer for everyone.

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!

The fantastic graffiti of Flash Alley!

San Diego is lucky to have some very talented street artists. You’ve seen many of their incredible murals on my blog. Their diverse work appears in almost every neighborhood.

Flash Alley in Normal Heights, north of El Cajon Boulevard and east of 34th Street, is like a small outdoor gallery lined with spray painted graffiti art. As your eyes move across walls emblazoned with fantastic, colorful images, you can spot the names of several local artists.

Their work tells a complex story about human dreams and gritty reality. How unbounded imagination gets tangled up with life on the streets.

Enjoy these photos that I took yesterday…

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!

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