Famous artwork in an unexpected place!

Works of fine art by internationally renowned artists can be found in San Diego in one very unexpected place.

Amazing pieces by the likes of Donal Hord, William Hogarth, and Alfred Mitchell are displayed in the Special Collections Center at the downtown Central Library, and in its adjoining Hervey Family Rare Book Room!

I ventured up to the Central Library’s rooftop 9th floor yesterday and gazed briefly up at the building’s nearby dome and across San Diego’s South Bay. Then I stepped through the door of the Marilyn & Gene Marx Special Collections Center and was introduced by a friendly librarian to a few of the exhibits inside.

Above shelves in one corner hung half a dozen gorgeous paintings, including several by Alfred Mitchell, whose pieces I’ve also admired in fine art museums.

In the museum-like Rare Book room, display after display celebrated the history and work of diverse artists, printers and writers.

When I saw an absolutely incredible rosewood sculpture by Donal Hord, my mouth dropped open.

On another wall were several famous engravings by William Hogarth!

Westwind, Donal Hord, 1953. Rosewood.

Morning (from the series, The Four Times of the Day), William Hogarth, ca. 1822. Engraving and etching in black ink on buff paper.

Noon (from the series, The Four Times of the Day), William Hogarth, ca. 1822. Engraving and etching in black ink on buff paper.

Spring Fields, Alfred Mitchell, ca. 1929. Oil on board.

Autumn Sunshine, Alfred Mitchell, ca. 1924. Oil on canvas.

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!

Reflections where an old courthouse stood.

The old downtown San Diego Superior Court building that once stood on Broadway was demolished over two years ago.

On the vanished courthouse’s large city block a 37-story mixed-use tower, called West, has risen. The project is now rapidly approaching completion.

New windows installed on the building’s exterior have brightened downtown with more mirror maze reflections!

I took these photographs today as I walked west on Broadway, then north up Union Street beside the Hall of Justice toward San Diego’s five-year-old Central Courthouse.

On a sunny day the blue sky seems painted on the shining glass!

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!

Additional new trashcans celebrate San Diego!

In mid-September I noted colorful new trashcans are being placed in the various neighborhoods of downtown San Diego. The one’s I photographed back then celebrate the Business District and Cortez Hill.

Today, during a downtown walk, I noticed additional new trashcans that celebrate East Village and the Columbia District!

These colorful trashcans are being placed on street corners by the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Clean and Safe program.

Here’s what I spotted today…

The East Village trashcan design features Petco Park on one side and a flowery East Village mural on the other.

(To see photographs I once took of the actual flower mural, click here.)

The Columbia District trashcans depict three prominent downtown buildings: Emerald Plaza, One America Plaza, and the Santa Fe Depot. On the other side is an image of the America Plaza trolley station at night.

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!

World’s largest single-masted yacht returns!

The world’s largest single-masted yacht has returned to San Diego!

The M5, originally called the Mirabella V, is now docked on the Embarcadero near the Maritime Museum of San Diego. You can find it directly across from the County Administration Building.

I spotted the towering mast while walking nearby, so I had to go take a look. That mind-blowing mast, over 290 feet high, is visible from many streets downtown!

I first saw the M5 in San Diego eight years ago behind the convention center and blogged about it here. Read that old blog post (including its comments) to learn more about this incredible sailboat.

It took these photographs this morning. It’s hard to depict the staggering size of this sloop-rigged super yacht. Suffice it to say, the mast rises higher than many downtown San Diego buildings!

You can see the mast from the other side of the County Administration Building in the next photo. (The exterior of the historic building is being painted.)

UPDATE!

The first weekend of October I noticed the M5 had moved to a spot behind the San Diego Convention Center–where I first saw it eight years ago…

Yes, it’s enormous!

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!

SD Art Prize 2022 Exhibition at the Central Library.

The four recipients of the 2022 San Diego Art Prize–Alida Cervantes, Angélica Escoto, Carlos Castro Arias and Cognate Collective–now have pieces of their visual artwork on display in the 9th floor Art Gallery at downtown’s Central Library.

The four artists explore aspects of our region’s history and culture. Of course, today’s border culture has been greatly cross-pollinated by thousands of residents flowing daily to and from the United States and Mexico.

As you might expect in a contemporary exhibition of this type, there is infusion of political bias. But it’s a variety of viewpoints what makes free expression in art interesting and provocative.

I was fascinated to see how art that condemns the history of colonization is displayed next to art that celebrates the fusion and evolution of cultures. On either side of the San Diego/Tijuana border crossing, many of today’s traditions have influences that can be traced back to old Spain.

Walk among the gallery pieces and perhaps you’ll see the world in new and complex ways.

The exhibition opened over the weekend. It will continue through the end of 2022.

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 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!

UPDATE!

I took photos of new East Village and Columbia District trashcans a couple weeks later and posted them 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!

A sunny Labor Day walk along the Embarcadero.

Please enjoy photographs taken today of a sunny Labor Day walk along San Diego’s Embarcadero.

Labor Day usually draws huge crowds to the waterfront. But this year the boardwalk was relatively uncrowded. I suppose the heat wave might have something to do with that, plus the fact the Embarcadero had no big Labor Day events scheduled this year.

I began with a visit to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. I then walked south to the pier at Embarcadero Marina Park South…

A sunlit sailboat on San Diego Bay, seen through the rigging of famous tall ship Star of India.

These guys were “learning the ropes” aboard Star of India. Sailors handling complicated tall ships have much to learn and remember.

Across Harbor Drive, the exterior of the County Administration Building is receiving a new paint job.

Inside the passenger deck of the Maritime Museum’s historic steam ferry Berkeley, a new drink called Aguas Frescas was being promoted by Minute Maid. Thirsty from the heat outside, I greedily guzzled two!

Walking south along the boardwalk past Portside Pier. It appears many others were also thirsty for refreshment.

Pollution Control Vessel Seaward Endeavor docked at the San Diego Cruise Ship Terminal. A multi-function ship for charter recently acquired by Hornblower, Seaward Endeavor was originally commissioned in response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

People wait in line to board either the Coronado ferry or a San Diego harbor cruise–I didn’t pay close enough attention.

A Flagship harbor cruise heads out into the bay past USS Midway.

In the distance, docked at North Island, I see two active aircraft carriers: the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Carl Vinson.

A young audience is captivated by the singing of friendly street musician Gary Reid.

Lots of vendors were set up for Labor Day near the USS Midway Museum.

All sorts of wares are displayed on tables along the boardwalk.

An artist had painted San Diego landmark statue Embracing Peace, often referred to as The Kiss.

A churro and esquites vendor pushes his food cart into place.

Embracing Peace, a sculpture based on an iconic 1945 photograph taken in Times Square at the end of World War II. The huge statue by Seward Johnson was originally called Ultimate Surrender.

Looking past a bronze service member, part of the “National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military” public artwork near The Fish Market restaurant.

Some people are partying out on the water.

Beyond the USS San Diego Memorial, construction continues on one of the new RaDD (Research and Development District) buildings.

Heading past Ruocco Park and Tuna Harbor toward Seaport Village. No huge crowds this Labor Day.

Almost to Seaport Village.

Folks pose by a Seaport Village fountain surrounded by touristy shops.

They say Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, so these Autumn-themed banners at the Alamo Flag shop should be popular.

Pink flamingos and beach lounges facing the bright blue water, however, mean summer!

Passengers get ready to board a San Diego Seal Tour. They’ll drive to Shelter Island and enter the water via a boat ramp there.

Musicians play to empty tables at Seaport Village.

Continuing my leisurely walk toward the Marriott Marina.

The silvery Marriott Marquis shines as usual.

A ladder way up there! A strange photo, right?

A perfect day to skate between the San Diego Convention Center and the Rady Shell.

And a perfect day to kayak, too!

An easy (but very warm) Labor Day walk arrives at the fishing pier at Embarcadero Marina Park South.

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!

Roaring San Diego for Annual Archives Month!

The 4th Annual Archives Month, presented by San Diego’s Office of the City Clerk, is returning in October!

The theme for 2022 is Roaring San Diego. The public will be invited to view exhibits in the lobby of the City Administration Building (202 C Street) that focus on our city’s history during the Roaring 1920s.

In addition, historical lectures by distinguished speakers will be presented at the San Diego Central Library, and there will be very special tours inside the archives!

If you’ve never stepped foot into the City Clerk Archives, in the basement of City Hall, where documents are carefully preserved for posterity, you really should sign up. The archives folks are super friendly and enthusiastic. I went on the tour three years ago and blogged about it here.

I’ve also blogged about two previous Archives Month exhibits that should interest history buffs. You can revisit those old posts here and here.

If you’d like to participate in this year’s Archives Month activities, please check out the City of San Diego webpage by clicking here. Make sure to sign up for the educational lectures that interest you and, of course, the very cool archives tour!

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 beauty inside historic Santa Fe Depot.

I believe that efforts to revive the life and beauty of historically important buildings should be celebrated. So today let me celebrate a project underway inside San Diego’s historic 1915 Santa Fe Depot.

Earlier this week, as I was waiting for Jimmy at the Santa Fe Depot concession stand to microwave a burrito, I noticed some yellow tape. The enormous Waiting Room’s wooden benches were being sanded down and newly varnished!

When I walked through the depot this morning, the work had progressed. More of the benches were richly shining! Jimmy had informed me it took about one day to complete each bench.

The interior of an amazing space in downtown San Diego is becoming even more beautiful.

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 Vintage Trolley: A Labor of Love.

Last weekend I rode the San Diego Trolley’s old PCC streetcar 530. I traveled a few stops on the Vintage Trolley’s downtown Silver Line loop.

As I looked about the interior of the restored 1940’s streetcar, I noticed a sign that I’d never seen before. Several paragraphs pay tribute to Ed Lindstrom, who was instrumental in restoring the Vintage Trolley vehicles operated by MTS.

Ed worked as a Light Rail Vehicle Project Coordinator and Electromechanic. Restoring the two streetcars that now run on the Silver Line–cars 529 and 530–required parts that are extremely difficult to find. According to the sign, Ed relentlessly sought the necessary parts from other transit agencies, collectors and museums. With some harder-to-find components, Ed got creative. He reverse-engineered and produced them specifically for the project!

To learn more about the PCC streetcar restoration, and see photos of how the old cars once looked, click here!

If you ever ride one of these nostalgic streetcars on a weekend, you can thank Ed and many others who’ve worked countless hours making a beautiful dream come true.

A LABOR OF LOVE.

Operation of the vintage streetcars in San Diego…began as a dream of Harry Mathis… A cadre of volunteers, led by our restoration manager, Dave Slater, has contributed more than 11,000 man hours of work on our fleet of PCC’s…

As a resident of downtown San Diego who loves riding the Vintage Trolley cars, 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!