The colors of one weekend walk downtown.

Flower vendor at the Saturday Little Italy Mercato Farmers' Market.
Flower vendor at the Saturday Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market.

Several walks today.

This morning it was around downtown, mostly near the water. I saw many colors, much life, and even a little bit of history.

Banner at Civic Center Plaza celebrates Office of the City Clerk's Archives Month. Images include glimpses of San Diego history. (Click to enlarge.)
Banner at Civic Center Plaza celebrates Office of the City Clerk’s Archives Month. Images include glimpses of San Diego history. (Click to enlarge.)

The above Archives Month banner is hanging from the City Administration Building. It shows interesting bits of San Diego History, including the 1887 Circus Parade, construction of Balboa Park for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, and aircraft over downtown celebrating the end of World War I.

Members of Navy Band Southwest entertain visitors to the Broadway Pier during Fleet Week San Diego 2017.
Members of Navy Band Southwest entertain visitors to the Broadway Pier during Fleet Week San Diego 2017.
People fill the Embarcadero near the Broadway Pier during Fleet Week.
People fill the Embarcadero near the Broadway Pier during Fleet Week.
Waiting in line for the weekend Fleet Week event, which includes a ship tour of the amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage.
Waiting in line for the weekend Fleet Week event, which includes a ship tour of the amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage.
Banner along the Embarcadero promote the Breeders' Cup, which is coming to Del Mar in November.
Banner along the Embarcadero promote the Breeders’ Cup, which is coming to Del Mar in November.
A sailboat out on San Diego Bay.
A sailboat out on San Diego Bay.
Relaxing at the Waterfront Park on a beautiful October Saturday in San Diego.
Relaxing at the Waterfront Park on a beautiful October Saturday in San Diego.
Lots of yummy food is found at the Little Italy Mercato Farmers' Market.
Lots of yummy food is found at the Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market.

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 around the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.

The beautiful Old Point Loma Lighthouse and the nearby Assistant Keepers Quarters building at Cabrillo National Monument.
The beautiful Old Point Loma Lighthouse and the nearby Assistant Keepers Quarters building at Cabrillo National Monument.

I’ve visited Cabrillo National Monument many times over the years. I’ve blogged about it on several occasions. It’s one of the most wonderful places in San Diego.

Today, September 30, is National Public Lands Day, so admission to Cabrillo National Monument was free all day.

I grabbed my camera, jumped into my car and drove this morning to the tip of the Point Loma peninsula. Once again, I wanted to enjoy some amazing views and a pleasant walk above the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. Most of my time was spent around the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.

To see and learn more about the lighthouse, including its interior and the adjacent museum, and to enjoy other fascinating aspects of Cabrillo National Monument, please feel free to explore Cool San Diego Sights.

The historic Old Point Loma Lighthouse is a major attraction at Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego.
The historic Old Point Loma Lighthouse is a major attraction at Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego.
Visitor to Cabrillo National Monument looks up at the lighthouse.
Visitor to Cabrillo National Monument looks up at the lighthouse.
Built in 1855 at the end of the Point Loma peninsula, above the entrance to San Diego Bay, the old lighthouse used to guide sailors to safety with a powerful fresnel lens.
Built in 1855 at the end of the Point Loma peninsula, above the entrance to San Diego Bay, the old lighthouse used to guide sailors to safety with a powerful fresnel lens.
Walking around the old lighthouse is a wonderful experience, with amazing views in all directions.
Walking around the old lighthouse is a wonderful experience, with amazing views in all directions.
The cluster of trees near the Old Point Loma Lighthouse are rare Torrey pines, which are native to this region.
The cluster of trees near the Old Point Loma Lighthouse are rare Torrey pines, which are native to this region.
Walking along the cliffside trail north of the lighthouse.
Walking along the cliffside trail north of the lighthouse.
Someone sits high above the blue Pacific Ocean enjoying the cool breeze and natural beauty.
Someone sits high above the blue Pacific Ocean enjoying the cool breeze and natural beauty.
South of the lighthouse, people walk toward the gray whale migration overlook.
South of the lighthouse, people walk toward the gray whale migration overlook.
Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument scan the watery horizon for ships and whales.
Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument scan the watery horizon for ships and whales.
A park ranger and volunteers were removing non-native plants. Invasive species can crowd out native species.
A park ranger and volunteers were removing non-native plants among dry stalks of California sunflower and buckwheat. Invasive species can crowd out native species.
People approach the handsome lighthouse from the south.
People approach the handsome lighthouse from the south.
Photo of Old Point Loma Lighthouse, the small museum beside it and the large Rain Catchment Basin.
Photo of Old Point Loma Lighthouse, the small museum beside it and the large Rain Catchment Basin.
Visitors to San Diego are strongly encouraged to enjoy some time at Cabrillo National Monument. A very special place.
Visitors to San Diego are strongly encouraged to enjoy some time at Cabrillo National Monument. It’s a very special place, with many paths to walk.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Bells ring in San Diego for Constitution Day!

Fred Grand, President of the Old Town Chamber of Commerce, reads a proclamation during a special Constitution Day ceremony.
Fred Grand, President of the Old Town Chamber of Commerce, reads a proclamation during a special Constitution Day ceremony.

Bells rang in San Diego at exactly one o’clock this Sunday afternoon to celebrate Constitution Day. A special ceremony took place on the steps of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Old Town, where a gathering of people rang bells they had brought for the occasion.

The patriotic ceremony was organized by the San Diego Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and featured a proclamation by Fred Grand, President of the Old Town Chamber of Commerce. Attendees also sang the Star-Spangled Banner, America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee), America the Beautiful, and God Bless America.

To celebrate the United States Constitution and the freedoms the document guarantees all citizens, many bells rang today simultaneously all across America. Bells pealed in Pennsylvania, where the United States Constitution was signed by delegates to the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787.

The Daughters of the American Revolution supports Old Town and have for almost 100 years. You can see their historical markers on the big rock in the southeast corner of the grassy Plaza de las Armas, at the Casa de Estudillo, the Cosmopolitan Hotel, the San Diego Union print shop, the Rockin Baja restaurant (over their front doorway), and another on Taylor Street near Presidio Drive. The DAR will soon be placing another marker at the site of the First San Diego Courthouse.

Priest of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Old Town talks to people in front of the historic church after Sunday Mass.
Priest of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Old Town talks to people in front of the historic church after Sunday Mass.
At one'o'clock, people of many backgrounds and beliefs gather on the church steps to celebrate the United States Constitution, which enshrines human liberty.
At one o’clock, people of many backgrounds and beliefs gather on the church steps to celebrate the United States Constitution, which enshrines individual human liberty.
This old bell of the Daughters of the American Revolution features an inscription from the United States Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
This old bell of the Daughters of the American Revolution features an inscription from the United States Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
One historical plaque, which marks the end of the Kearney Trail in Old Town San Diego, was placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1920.
One historical plaque, which marks the end of the Kearney Trail in Old Town San Diego, was placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1920.
Another historical marker placed by the DAR can be found in Old Town's Casa de Estudillo.
Another historical marker placed by the DAR can be found inside Old Town’s Casa de Estudillo.
Kathleen Winchester, historian of the San Diego Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, is presented with an official proclamation on Constitution Day.
Kathleen Winchester, historian of the San Diego Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, is presented with an official proclamation on Constitution Day.
The patriotic gathering sings The Star-Spangled Banner.
The patriotic gathering sings The Star-Spangled Banner.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Festive culture and tradition at Fiestas Patrias!

Every year, Fiestas Patrias, which celebrates Mexican independence from Spain in 1821, includes traditional entertainment for the entire family.
Every year, Fiestas Patrias, which celebrates Mexican independence from Spain in 1821, includes traditional entertainment for the entire family.

This morning I missed a bus to Ocean Beach at the Old Town Transit Center, so to pass the time I walked the short distance over to the State Park to see if anything was going on. And I discovered that Fiestas Patrias was being celebrated today!

I lingered for a few minutes and took some photos, headed over to OB (as you will see), then returned to Old Town a couple hours later to really soak in the event. Fiestas Patrias is a yearly celebration of Mexican independence from Spain in 1821. San Diego, a small town founded near a Spanish presidio in Alta California, thereafter became a part of Mexico until 1848.

Many diverse traditions have intermingled during San Diego’s history to make our city what it is today. The rich and colorful culture of Mexico has remained an essential part of life in San Diego!

A mariachi welcomes visitors to the historic Casa de Estudillo in Old Town San Diego.
A mariachi welcomes visitors to the historic Casa de Estudillo in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
A friendly horse came for a visit as I took some photos outside the Casa de Estudillo during Fiestas Patrias.
A friendly horse came for a visit as I took some photos outside the Casa de Estudillo during Fiestas Patrias.
Traditional dances were being performed on the central plaza's main stage. Las damas y los caballeros took turns being el toro and el matador!
Traditional dances were being performed on the central plaza’s main stage. Las damas y los caballeros took turns being el toro and el matador!
The annual event features authentic costumes from a time when San Diego was a small Mexican town in Alta California.
The annual event features authentic costumes from a time when San Diego was a small Mexican town in Alta California.
Kids were decorating traditional cascarones eggshells.
Kids were decorating traditional cascarones eggshells.
A demonstration inside the Casa de Estudillo of yarn being spun. During the Spanish period, sheep were first introduced along with cattle and horses at the Mission San Diego de Alcalá.
A demonstration inside the Casa de Estudillo of yarn being spun. During the Spanish period, sheep were first introduced along with cattle and horses at the Mission San Diego de Alcalá.
Nearby, ladies were demonstrating Colcha Spanish Colonial embroidery, which was typical in San Diego in the early 1800s.
Nearby, ladies were demonstrating Colcha Spanish Colonial embroidery, which was typical in San Diego in the early 1800s.
At the same table, another lady was cutting out festive Mexican papel picado.
At the same table, another lady was cutting out festive Mexican papel picado.
The historically authentic musical group Los Californios wait for their turn on the stage at Fiestas Patrias in Old Town San Diego!
The historically authentic musical group Los Californios wait for their turn on the stage at Fiestas Patrias in Old Town San Diego!

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

I support restoring the Palisades in Balboa Park.

Some supporters of Balboa Park, including The Committee of One Hundred, would like to restore the Palisades area of the park to its former glory. I learned about this visionary effort on Labor Day while grabbing some napkins at the cafe inside the Casa de Balboa. A stack of postcards had been placed nearby. I picked one up. Here’s a photo:

Photos on a postcard created by The Committee of One Hundred shows Balboa Park's Palisades area in 1935 and 2017.
A postcard created by The Committee of One Hundred shows Balboa Park’s Palisades area in 1935 and 2017.

As you can see, in 1935, during the California Pacific International Exposition, the Palisades contained spacious lawns, flowers and benches where today you’ll find a large ugly parking lot.

Sounds familiar? For decades the Plaza de Panama on El Prado contained a similarly ugly parking lot. But after that parking lot’s removal and replacement with tables, umbrellas, potted greenery and public art, the Plaza de Panama has become a bustling hub of activity full of people enjoying the sunny San Diego outdoors, as was originally intended.

Now back to the Palisades area. After a little more research, I’ve learned The Committee of One Hundred is already working to replace the four long-lost murals that used to be above the entrance of the 1935 California State Building, which is home to the San Diego Automotive Museum. To see more about that project, check out The Committee of One Hundred’s 2017 newsletter.

Given what I’ve read and know, I must say I’m in full agreement with the idea of restoring the Palisades. The parking lot is an absolute eyesore and many of the surrounding buildings appear bare and decayed. Most people who park here don’t linger. They immediately head in the direction of El Prado.

The Palisades parking lot seems completely unnecessary. Today, without spending a penny in construction, it appears to me there’s already plenty of parking across Park Boulevard south of the Veterans Museum–that huge lower lot is usually mostly empty. Simply add signage and one or two more stops for the parking shuttle.

When San Diego Comic-Con opens their new museum in the Federal Building next year, I imagine many more visitors will be drawn into the Palisades area. It seems to me the energetic people at Comic-Con International and other museums who would greatly benefit from a revitalization of the Palisades–the San Diego Air and Space Museum in particular–could use their considerable combined influence to help speed a beautiful restoration.

And why must it be an exact restoration? Why not add more flowers, some new outdoor art, and even a lively, splashing fountain? Why not both restore history and make history? Balboa Park should be forward-looking, optimistic, alive! San Diego’s world-renowned gem could shine even more brightly! Just imagine!

9/11 Firefighter’s legacy: Two Sons and Stickball.

Tampa Chargers huddle up during the 2017 Labor Day Stickball Tournament in Little Italy. Photo by Margie Jones.
Tampa Chargers huddle up during the 2017 Labor Day Stickball Tournament in Little Italy. Photo by Margie Jones.

An important event in San Diego history took place over the Labor Day weekend. It involved a firefighter hero who saved lives during 9/11, his two sons, and the game of stickball.

The following inspirational article is contributed by Margie Jones of 4 Heroes 4 Life:

The 2017 Labor Day Stickball Tournament in Little Italy was one of the largest in its 19 year history with a field of 16 teams, four from New York and one from Tampa Bay, Florida. New York transplant Bob Ortiz and a group of players brought the Bronx-style tradition of street baseball to California in the early 1990s, later passing the torch to brothers Louie and Joey Centanni.

This year’s tournament held a special meaning for the San Diego and New York stickball communities, bringing the return of Skylar and Austin Mercado, sons of former Emperor’s Stickball League President Steve Mercado. Mercado and his family brought the team to San Diego from the Bronx in 2001 when the boys were 6 and 2 years old. The Mercado family made a lasting impression on many San Diegans, including SD City Firefighter and Stickball League Commissioner Willie Blas and Fire Marshal Mark George. After saying their goodbyes, Steve returned to NYC and went straight to work on 9/11, courageously saving lives. He was one of 12 of 13 from Engine 40 and Ladder 35 to lose their lives on that day, along with over 400 NYC first responders.

This weekend, Skylar and Austin Mercado brought the legacy of their Dad and Grandfather to Stickball in San Diego. Their team, the Tampa Chargers, was undefeated going into the Championship Game on Monday but could not best the local Sultans of Swat, who took home the trophy this year. We hope the Mercados experienced the outpouring of love and support for these two fine young men, their family, and the entire NYC community of heroes.

So that Steve and all heroes on that day will be NEVER FORGOTTEN, Mark and Willie as sponsored by 4 Heroes 4 Life and Veteran Adventures will be hosting a 9/11 NEVER FORGOTTEN Charity Golf Tournament and Community Extravaganza on September 11. Proceeds of the event will benefit the Steven Mercado Foundation, and funds for Engine 40 and Ladder 35, and the NYC Emergency Fund. This is the first of an annual event on 9/11 as an opportunity to bring community together in support of our fallen heroes and for our nation’s healing. Please join us. Register or donate here.

Commemorative bat honoring 9/11 firefighter Steve Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Commemorative bat honoring 9/11 firefighter Steve Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Tampa Chargers' Austin Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Tampa Chargers’ Austin Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Tampa Chargers' Skylar Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Tampa Chargers’ Skylar Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Power hitting. Photo by Margie Jones.
Swinging with heart on a San Diego street. Photo by Margie Jones.
2017 Championship Game final score. Photo by Margie Jones.
2017 Championship Game final score. Photo by Margie Jones.
Stickball family. Photo by Margie Jones.
Stickball brings many together. Photo by Margie Jones.

Mysteries and wonders on a walk in Balboa Park.

I spied this wonder in Balboa Park's Desert Garden. Why yellow?
I spied this natural wonder in Balboa Park’s Desert Garden. Why yellow?

Most of my holiday was spent in Balboa Park. Reading, jotting a few words, walking.

As I turned corners, I encountered many mysteries and wonders.

Who placed a palm frond cross and hearts on a tree in the Desert Garden?
Who placed a palm frond cross and hearts on a bare tree?
What on earth produced this bizarre, hollow, bulging tree trunk?
What on earth produced this bizarre, hollow, bulging tree trunk?
What are those wonderfully odd wicker carts? Those are Electriquettes, which first appeared in Balboa Park during the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
What are those wonderfully odd wicker carts? I know! Those are Electriquettes, which first appeared in Balboa Park during the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Why is this small sculpture of a child in the Japanese Friendship Garden? Nobody knows. Someone placed it here mysteriously many years ago.
Why is this small sculpture of a child in the Japanese Friendship Garden? Nobody knows. Someone placed it here mysteriously many years ago.
What mysterious turn of the wind arranged this, and why did I turn my eyes to see it?
What mysterious turn of the wind arranged this, and why did I turn my eyes to see it?
Should one exit stage left or stage right?
Should one exit stage left or stage right?
Will seeds planted in Balboa Park by Kate Sessions outlive us all?
Will seeds planted in Balboa Park by Kate Sessions outlive us all?
I spied this rose near a nation's closed cottage. Why is a small flower beautiful?
I happened upon this rose near a closed, locked door. Why is a flower beautiful?
When the Comic-Con Center for Popular Culture moves into the Federal Building in 2018, will visitors wear costumes?
When the Comic-Con Center for Popular Culture moves into the Federal Building in 2018, will visitors wear costumes?
Do puppets ever tug their own strings?
Do puppets ever manipulate their own strings?
People gaze into the distance. What do they wonder?
People gaze into the green distance. What do they wonder?
In the courtyard of the House of Hospitality is a Time Capsule Dedicated to the Future of Balboa Park, to be opened in 2035. What waits inside?
In the courtyard of the House of Hospitality is a Time Capsule Dedicated to the Future of Balboa Park, to be opened in 2035. What waits hidden inside?
How many photographs does it take to satisfy a photographer?
How many photographs does it take to satisfy a photographer?
Who gets to open those windows and water those flowers?
Who gets to open those windows, and water those flowers?
Spring and summer vanish. What is in their future?
Spring and summer end. What is in their future?
Why does time move only forward?
Why does time move forward?

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!