New downtown trashcans celebrate neighborhoods!

New trashcans are being rolled out by the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Clean and Safe program. And these cans celebrate the neighborhoods in which they’re placed!

I saw the first such trashcan a few weeks ago on the corner of C Street and Sixth Avenue, next to the Clean and Safe headquarters. Today, as I walked down from the top of Cortez Hill, I noticed multiple cans have recently been installed that celebrate the Cortez neighborhood, with images of the landmark El Cortez building.

The next two images are different sides of the above trashcan. I love the fact they are relatively mess proof and foot activated. No touching a dirty, germy handle!

The next two photos are of that first can by the Clean and Safe headquarters. It celebrates the “Business District”–an area of downtown sometimes referred to as the City Center or Core–with images of skyscrapers and the interior of historic Symphony Hall.

I’ll keep my eyes open for new cans in additional neighborhoods. Watch for updates 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!

Downtown’s Jacarandas begin their Spring bloom!

Do you know why there are so many Jacaranda trees in San Diego? A century ago, horticulturist Kate Sessions, the Mother of Balboa Park, planted hundreds of these colorful trees in the heart of our city. They are native to South America.

Twice a year–in Spring and Autumn–the striking lilac-blue blooms appear along city streets, adding their unique hue to sunny San Diego. Of course, they’re very messy trees, and you don’t want to park under them when the sticky flowers are dropping!

In 2000, Jacaranda mimosifolia was designated the official non-native tree of San Diego.

I walked from Cortez Hill to Little Italy this morning, and these photos represent a little of what I saw!

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!

Walking down from Cortez Hill on a shining morning.

The light early this morning was magical.

A few minutes after sunrise, I walked from the top of Cortez Hill south into the heart of downtown San Diego.

Many of these photographs were taken as I turned my camera west. Look at all the golden reflections!

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!

San Diego hero beautifies our city.

An unselfish, unsung hero in San Diego has dedicated countless hours of hard work to making our city more beautiful.

I’m speaking of Joseph Ciavarella. For five years he spearheaded the improvement and beautification of Tweet Street Park, a neighborhood park atop Cortez Hill.

During my walks over the years I often saw Joe in the park spreading mulch, pruning, cleaning up debris, and planting flowers and other greenery. I would express my appreciation, and he was always modest.

Joseph Ciavarella’s quiet optimism, his effective community organizing and relentless hard work, along with the important contributions of Friends of Tweet Street volunteers and San Diego Parks and Recreation, have turned the Tweet Street linear park into the amazing lush garden that it is today.

Joe moved away from Cortez Hill not long ago. His last day at Tweet Street was Arbor Day. I noticed today that the Downtown San Diego Partnership planted a tree in his honor.

That tree will grow and become ever more beautiful over time, bringing a little joy to the lives of so many people.

That’s was Joe did.

Check out the “Friends of Tweet Street Park” Facebook page here.

Donate to the Friends of Tweet Street via a new web page provided by the Downtown San Diego Partnership here.

Thank you.

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!

Morning light and rainbow from Cortez Hill!

As I started my day at the top of Cortez Hill, I was greeted by magical morning light reflected from downtown buildings to the west and south.

Then I saw the rainbow!

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!

Riding the world’s first outdoor glass elevator!

If you’re familiar with the history of the El Cortez in downtown San Diego, you probably know it featured the world’s very first outdoor glass elevator. (Although I’ve also seen information that says it was the first such elevator in the United States, second in the world.)

Based on an idea suggested by a hotel bellboy, an outdoor glass elevator, called the Starlight Express, was installed in 1956 on the side of the El Cortez Hotel, then the highest building in San Diego. People from all around Southern California would converge on the elegant hotel to be swept dizzily skyward to the chic Starlight Room restaurant on the twelfth floor.

Today I came across a black and white 1956 newsreel that has been released by Universal City Studios into the public domain. It shows thrilled passengers going up and down what was then the brand new, incredible, jaw-dropping Starlight Express!

Check out the “futuristic” costume (uniform?) of the smiling elevator operator! And check out how downtown San Diego appeared in the 1950s. A bit different than today, right?

I snipped sequential images from the old newsreel so you can enjoy a fun look!

By the way, the El Cortez Hotel also featured the world’s first moving sidewalk! You know–the sort of thing you might stand on in an airport terminal or at an amusement park. It was called the Travolator. Both the Starlight Express and Travolator were removed many years ago.

Read much more about the El Cortez and its extraordinary history in this detailed Wikipedia article. Among other things, you’ll learn how this Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style landmark was built on property once owned by a son of President Ulysses S. Grant, how a third of San Diego’s population showed up for the hotel’s opening day, and how it had an anti-aircraft battery on its roof during World War II!

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!

Photos of Family Court building’s demolition.

Yesterday morning, as I walked down from the top of Cortez Hill, I had to pause at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Cedar Street. I noticed that the now vacant old San Diego Superior Court Family Court Building is finally being demolished!

I’ve read that an 8-story affordable housing building called “Kindred” will be built where the past courthouse stood.

When I took a little detour to walk around the block, I observed those colorful murals on the rooftop that I photographed earlier this year here are vanishing, too!

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!

Neighbor releases butterflies in San Diego park!

A neighbor in San Diego’s Cortez Hill community has released butterflies in a city park. She accomplished this with a paintbrush and stencils!

Take a look!

I learned from Joe Ciavarella of Friends of Tweet Street Park that the beautiful butterflies–and birds, flowers and dragonflies–you see in my photos were painted on planters and stones recently by Victoria Villavicencio, who periodically visits Cortez Hill.

Tweet Street Linear Park at the top of Cortez Hill becomes ever more inviting over time, thanks not only to the friendly workers of San Diego’s Parks and Recreation Department, but to unselfish community volunteers who devotedly plant, tend and clean the garden-like park.

From one who lives a few steps away: Thank You!

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Discover the Cortez Hill neighborhood loops!

A bunch of stickers were recently applied to sidewalks around the downtown San Diego neighborhood of Cortez Hill. These round purple stickers mark the locations of the Long and Short Loop, where people can walk, jog or ride in wheelchairs, to get some outdoor exercise and fresh air, or perhaps make a short trip to the store.

Today I happened to notice that a sign went up describing the neighborhood’s many Jacaranda trees. The sign provides a good map of the two loops.

I see that the Short Loop is one easy mile. The Long Loop, which passes the place where I live, is a moderate 1.5 miles, including a short but somewhat steep climb to the very top of beautiful Cortez Hill.

If you want a better look at the map, click my photo and the image will enlarge!

Satellite map shows Short and Long Loop in downtown San Diego's Cortez Hill neighborhood.
Satellite map shows the Short and Long Loop in downtown San Diego’s Cortez 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!

Mural on roof of old Family Court Building.

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Because I live nearby on Cortez Hill, I frequently see the colorful mural in the above photograph. It was painted last year at one end of the rooftop of the old, now vacant San Diego Superior Court Family Court Building. (Years ago the Family Court moved to another downtown location.)

For a while last year, during a larger than average influx of refugees, the unused building was turned into a temporary shelter for asylum-seeking families. At the time I often saw kids playing outdoors on the roof, to one side of the parking area.

One day the mural appeared. Some cheerful color to brighten the lives of children, who were experiencing a very stressful moment in their lives through no fault of their own.

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!