Light, reflections on Lane Field hotels.

This morning I walked toward, between and around the hotels that now occupy the site of old Lane Field, where the Padres played baseball when they were a team in the Pacific Coast League.

Bright, clear light reflected from the two very different buildings: the InterContinental San Diego building and the Marriott SpringHill Suites and Residence Inn building across from it. Perfect for intriguing photos!

You might remember that I documented how the site of old Lane Field was transformed into a public park and prime waterfront location for these hotels here.

If you’re curious about the rippling façade you see above and in several other photographs, it covers the Marriott building’s parking garage and is titled California Rain. The sculptural artwork was created by artist David Franklin. I posted photos almost five years ago here. (Read that blog post’s comments to learn more about how the individual aluminum blades were assembled!)

Now on to this morning’s cool pics!

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!

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!

First look at new Town and Country river park!

The beautiful new river park in Mission Valley between the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center and the Fashion Valley Transit Center will soon be completed. Today I noticed the construction fences were down and the park was wide open to the public, so of course I had to walk around and explore.

After checking out the corner of the park next to the trolley station, I walked east following the elevated trolley tracks, turned south, passed an unfinished information kiosk, and crossed the San Diego River via the pedestrian bridge. I then walked along the winding new path on the south side of the river.

You might notice some intriguing, very unique public artwork. What appear to be tree trunks have been wrapped with bands containing words that concern the natural and human history of the San Diego River.

As I walked along the grassy green linear park, I spotted something slender and white down near the water. It was a great egret. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a good photograph.

I think I might use those park benches in the future! Looks like a perfect place to sit and read.

If you want to see a few photos I took a couple weeks ago, when this new river park was less developed, click here.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Progress at Town and Country’s new river park!

Progress continues to be made in the construction of a new linear river park in Mission Valley. The park will be located at the north edge of the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center.

Lots of workers were out this morning getting the new park ready!

I noticed more foliage has been planted, the pedestrian bridge over the San Diego River has been reinstalled, and that some more concrete pathways have been poured.

Back in June I posted a photograph of this new riverfront park under construction and provided some information concerning the project:

An ugly old parking lot of the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center is being converted into park space. And the north side of the San Diego River, directly adjacent to the Fashion Valley Transit Center, will be part of this new public park, too!

The project, which includes almost 8 acres of restored natural habitat, and beautiful new pathways along the San Diego River, is part of the Town and Country hotel’s extensive property-wide renovation.

This morning I attempted to get photos of construction near the hotel, but trees and distance were insurmountable for my little camera. Perhaps I’ll walk that way in the days ahead to see more. From the trolley I did observe a long new pathway winding along the south side of the river!

UPDATE!

A few days later, I noticed sod and benches have been installed!

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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 more sculptures on Shelter Island!

There’s a surprising abundance of public art on Shelter Island. Sculptures seem to be everywhere! I’ve already shared photos of most.

Amazing sculptures along the length of Shelter Island can be seen here and here and here and here and here and here and here!

As you might recall, yesterday’s blog post featured a few photographs from a walk in front of the Silver Gate Yacht Club. I looked skyward at a bronze sailor high on a ship’s mast holding a spyglass. During that same walk along Shelter Island Drive yesterday, I paused to admire three additional sculptures!

The first graces a parking entrance to Humphrey’s world-famous outdoor concert venue. I’m not sure who created the artwork. I could see no plaque, nor find any information. Part of the metal sculpture looks like an electric guitar. Or perhaps it’s an abstract face producing jagged sound waves! I hope someone out there knows more about it.

The next photo is of a small sculpture perched outside the lobby of the Island Palms Hotel.

It appears to have been created by Alber de Matteis, the same artist who created that very first sculpture I linked to. He has a distinctive style.

Lastly, the third sculpture is definitely by Alber de Matteis! According to a nearby plaque, it’s titled Timeless Wave.

Like a blue wave curling in to the earthy shore, the graceful artwork stands between Shelter Island Drive and a hotel parking lot, directly in front of the Island Palms Hotel’s Casa Del Mar Building. It was dedicated June 2009.

The plaque features a short but evocative poem that begins:

The Waves ebb and flow,
they are the breath of the ocean.
Like two hands reaching out for one another…

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

A new river park by Fashion Valley trolley station!

Northwest corner of Town and Country Resort and Convention Center's river park under construction. The new park will be across Riverwalk Drive from the Fashion Valley Transit Center.
The northwest corner of Town and Country’s new river park is under construction. The public park will be directly across Riverwalk Drive from the Fashion Valley Transit Center.

A new linear river park is under construction near Fashion Valley!

An ugly old parking lot of the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center is being converted into park space. And the north side of the San Diego River, directly adjacent to the Fashion Valley Transit Center, will be part of this new public park, too!

The project, which includes almost 8 acres of restored natural habitat, and beautiful new pathways along the San Diego River, is part of the Town and Country hotel’s extensive property-wide renovation.

Today I found myself standing high up on the Fashion Valley trolley station platform. I looked down to see how the northwest corner of the new park is taking shape.

Because I frequently use this station, I’ll continue to monitor developments!

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!

Oil painting the iconic Hotel del Coronado!

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One could make a convincing argument that the Hotel del Coronado is the second or third most iconic building in all of San Diego, after the California Tower in Balboa Park and perhaps the historic Mission San Diego de Alcalá.

The image of the uniquely grand and beautiful “Hotel Del” has been made famous in movies, on television, and through countless postcards sent around the world by enthralled tourists. Most people who think of Coronado immediately picture this impressive Victorian beach resort, the second largest wooden structure in the United States.

It’s said that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum used the fanciful architecture of the Hotel del Coronado as his inspiration for the Emerald City. (He wrote several Oz books at a house he rented in winter a few blocks away. To see photos of that house, click here!)

A month ago I used graphic software to change some of my photos of the California Tower into digital oil paintings. Yesterday, as I walked around Coronado, it suddenly occurred to me that I might do the same with the picturesque Hotel del Coronado!

I’ve altered some old photographs and a couple of new ones to make them appear like oil paintings! Just for fun!

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!

Signs thanking heroes during the pandemic.

Thank you to all essential personnel. You are all heroes. Grateful words on the marquee of the Spreckels Theatre in downtown San Diego.
Thank you to all essential personnel. You are all heroes. Grateful words on the marquee of the Spreckels Theatre in downtown San Diego.

Around San Diego, signs are popping up that thank healthcare workers, first responders, and other heroes who are fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

I noticed two prominent examples as I walked through downtown this morning.

I thought you might like to see.

A sign of gratitude for healthcare workers and other heroes during the coronavirus pandemic. A heart composed of windows on a tower of the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.
A sign of gratitude for healthcare workers and other heroes during the coronavirus pandemic. A heart composed of windows on a tower of the Manchester Grand Hyatt in 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!

A quiet Sunday morning walk before the parade.

Morning light and shadow on the historic Army-Navy YMCA building, now home to The Guild Hotel.
Morning light and shadow on the historic Army-Navy YMCA building, now home to The Guild Hotel.

Before the excitement of this afternoon’s MLK Day Parade, I took a quiet morning walk through downtown San Diego.

My photos begin a few blocks shy of the west end of Broadway. I headed south until I reached the water, where I found a perfect bench to sit on.

Come along and read the captions to experience a few Sunday morning sights.

A splash of light from windows across Kettner Boulevard.
A splash of light from windows of the Electra condo building across Kettner Boulevard.

Reflections in the glassy Pacific Gate building.
Downtown reflections in the glassy Pacific Gate building.

Walking south between the trolley tracks and the Pacific Gate building.
Walking south on the pathway between the trolley tracks and the Pacific Gate building.

The visually interesting entrance to the Pacific Gate building.
The visually interesting entrance to the Pacific Gate building.

Old train tracks, severed from those used today.
Old train tracks, severed from those used today.

The distinctive Park Place condo building appears through an archway.
The distinctive Park Place condo building appears through an archway of the Harborview Apartments.

Across Harbor Drive is The Headquarters and palm trees.
Across Harbor Drive is The Headquarters and palm trees.

An elegant entrance to the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.
The elegant north entrance to the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.

Looking back.
Looking back.

A cool photo as I walk past The Headquarters.
A cool photo as I walk past The Headquarters.

Ducks enjoy a swim in the Seaport Village pond.
Ducks enjoy a swim in the Seaport Village pond.

Someone performs a morning stretch on the grass at Embarcadero Marina Park North.
Someone performs a morning stretch on the grass at Embarcadero Marina Park North.

Beautiful luminous clouds above treetops.
Beautiful luminous clouds above treetops.

Someone else likes to quietly read.
Someone else likes to quietly read.

A tranquil Sunday morning beside San Diego Bay.
A tranquil Sunday morning beside San Diego Bay. The San Diego–Coronado Bridge stretches in the distance.

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!

Hotel, shops coming to Santa Fe Depot!

Today I learned a very big change is coming to downtown San Diego’s historic Santa Fe Depot!

This morning, after noticing the building’s exterior is getting a new paint job, I spoke to a gentleman outside the Amtrak office and asked if he knew whether the new owner still plans to renovate the building. I was surprised to hear that this year there will indeed be a major renovation of the building, including the opening up of an interior stairwell that will lead to a small new hotel and shops on the depot’s second floor!

I asked if there were plans to develop the depot’s old forecourt by Broadway, where there are tile benches and a broken fountain, and where streetcars picked up passengers arriving by train a century ago, but he knew nothing concerning that.

He and I agreed that it would be a amazing if the large Santa Fe sign atop the historic depot were finally lit up at night, adding more character to San Diego’s skyline. I’d heard a couple years ago during an architectural tour of the Santa Fe Depot that lighting the sign was a project that might lie in the future.

This all was news to me!

Very cool news!

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!