Mario Torero and team restore Civil Rights mural!

A team of local artists works to restore the Civil Rights mural at 32nd Street and Imperial Avenue in San Diego.
A team of local artists works to restore the Civil Rights mural at 32nd Street and Imperial Avenue in San Diego.

Today I headed down to 32nd Street and Imperial Avenue to see the work being done to restore an important mural by internationally recognized muralist Mario Torero. When I arrived several local artists were gathering for the day’s work, and shortly thereafter an energetic Mario Torero himself showed up!

I first posted photos of this Civil Rights mural two years ago here. You can see how it had become faded over many years. Unfortunately, since then the mural had been defaced. If you want to learn more about the history of the mural, check out my old blog post.

The restoration has been ongoing for a couple weeks now, and the Imperial Avenue side of the long mural is nearly finished. There’s still the other side on 32nd Street to finish, and once plans are made work will begin there.

The local artists helping Mario Torero are called the Southeast Art Team. The growing team includes young people who love creating art. The Southeast Art Team has garnered a lot of media attention with this project and are already planning to restore additional murals around San Diego. But they need your help!

Please visit the GoFundMe page of the Mural Restoration Project San Diego by clicking here and help them out!

I learned that a new push is underway to not only restore many old murals, but to create new ones, too! Positive people never cease working to make the world better!

Do you want to be part of this? To pitch in, click here!

Internationally known muralist Mario Torero talks to local artists before commencing work restoring portions of his mural.
Internationally known muralist Mario Torero talks to local artists before commencing work restoring portions of his mural.

A colorful mural depicting Civil Rights icons is lovingly restored by its creator Mario Torero, and other local artists!
A colorful mural depicting Civil Rights icons is lovingly restored by its creator Mario Torero, and other local artists!

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!

Demolition and redevelopment at Horton Plaza!

Parts of Horton Plaza are now being demolished. The redevelopment of a downtown shopping mall that used to be a major tourist attraction is underway!

I walked around the old shopping mall and saw several places where the exterior facade is being torn down. At the south end, the large building that used to house Nordstrom (which closed its doors 4 years ago) and 24 Hour Fitness is wrapped up in white plastic. Check out the very odd-looking photograph above!

As you can see in another photograph, I walked past the small Post Office at Horton Plaza and it’s also now closed. Everything inside was being loaded onto a postal vehicle.

Horton Plaza Mall, when it opened in 1985, quickly became a popular San Diego tourist attraction, largely due to its unusual downtown location and wildly imaginative and colorful architecture.

I remember going there as a young man and being fascinated at how ramps and escalators led every which way, as if the mall were some crazy, asymmetric, three dimensional maze. The shopping center was designed using an idea relished by science fiction author Ray Bradbury. In his essay “The Aesthetics of Lostness” he extolled the virtues of getting safely lost in the world’s great cities, and how small adventures can result.

Horton Plaza, which gradually lost its popularity, is now being redeveloped into a 10-acre office campus that hopes to draw tech companies into downtown San Diego. There will be some retail space, too, with places to shop and eat. I’ve read that some of the interior bridges that I’ve always loved will be retained.

You can see photos that I took inside brightly colorful Horton Plaza many years ago here and 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!

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!

Petco Park readies for a strange season!

Images of baseball stars Fernando Tatís Jr. and Manny Machado anticipate the 2020 season at Petco Park.
Images of Padres stars Fernando Tatís Jr. and Manny Machado anticipate the 2020 baseball season at Petco Park.

Major League Baseball will indeed have a season in 2020. The news was announced yesterday.

There will be 60 games this year, and teams will travel less and observe complicated new safety rules because of the coronavirus pandemic. There will be no roar of the crowd. No fans will fill the stands.

It’s going to be really strange.

This morning I walked by Petco Park, the home field of the San Diego Padres, to see if there are any preparations underway for the shortened season.

From atop the hill in the Park at the Park, I saw the ball field being groomed. As I passed the main box office and neared the trolley tracks, I looked up at workers on a crane who were applying the second of two huge wraps to Petco Park.

The very unusual 2020 season will begin on July 23rd or 24th.

Go Pads!

Petco Park is newly painted and empty as the grounds crew prepares the field for Padres baseball. No fans will be in attendance this shortened season.
Petco Park is newly painted and appears pristine. The grounds crew is preparing the field for Padres baseball. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, no fans will be in attendance this shortened season.
Large wrap on Petco Park celebrates Jackie Robinson. Diversity. Equality. Unity.
Large new wrap on Petco Park celebrates baseball legend and civil rights hero Jackie Robinson. Diversity. Equality. Unity.
Workers on a crane at Petco Park prepare for the unusual 2020 Major League Baseball season--which begins in July!
Workers at Petco Park prepare for a very strange Major League Baseball season–which will begin in July!

UPDATE!

I snapped this photo several days later…

Dave Winfield, Tony Gwynn, Johnny Ritchey and current Padres stars. Together As One.
Dave Winfield, Tony Gwynn, Johnny Ritchey and current Padres stars. We Are San Diego. Together As One.

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 old San Diego courthouse vanishes!

The old downtown San Diego Superior Court building has vanished! A city block that once contained the busy courthouse is empty!

Several years ago, a new 22-story Central Courthouse opened at Union Street and C Street, absorbing all of the functions of the sprawling old courthouse that was built in 1961. The demolition of the south part of the old courthouse has been ongoing for months, and when I walked by this morning, the entire block between Broadway and C Street was nothing but an empty lot!

A new high-rise building designed by Holland Partner Group is planned for this location. It will feature hundreds of apartments, plus office and commercial space.

A friendly construction worker who spoke to me through a fence said the next phase of the old courthouse demolition will be the section north of C Street. According to what I’ve read, the adjoining Old Jail, or Detention Center, will also be removed. A tunnel built beneath this property will connect the new Central Courthouse to the San Diego County Jail, which is located directly to the east across Front Street.

In my final photo you can see how a part of the old courthouse that bridged the trolley tracks is now being carefully removed. Check out the size of those steel beams! (In the background rises the sleek new Central Courthouse.)

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!

Major construction projects underway in Balboa Park!

Numerous major construction projects are now underway in Balboa Park!

It appears workers were very busy while the park was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Today the center of Balboa Park reopened to the public, and as I walked around I was surprised to see all the construction activity!

The above photo and the one that follows shows the long-planned public viewing platform being built around the park’s landmark Moreton Bay Fig tree!

I once blogged more information concerning this project here.

The next three photos show how the Mingei International Museum’s major transformation is well underway! I believe the construction you see on one side of the building is going to be the Mingei’s new theater.

If you want an idea of how things will look when finished, you can visit my blog post concerning the Mingei’s transformation here.

I was really surprised to see that the Palisades area of Balboa Park has begun it’s historic transformation!

Half the old parking lot–the side nearest the San Diego Air and Space Museum–will be turned into a pedestrian plaza featuring lawns and a monumental fountain that will recall the Firestone Singing Color Fountains of the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition!

Finally, I saw a great deal of progress has been made building the five new structures at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages! The new cottages will be the future home of nine nations.

I’ve blogged about this long delayed project on several occasions. You can see a map of the project here, and see photos I took of the groundbreaking ceremony in 2016 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!

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!

A glorious day as Balboa Park reopens!

The day that many in San Diego have anticipated for nearly three months has arrived!

Balboa Park is reopening!

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Central Mesa area of Balboa Park–the beloved center of San Diego’s cultural life–has been closed to the public. But that changes today! While most of the museums aren’t quite ready to open yet, visitors will again be able to amble down El Prado and enjoy the park’s sunshine, gardens and architectural beauty.

And a few places in the park will be open!

The world-famous San Diego Air and Space Museum will be open! So will the Visitor Center, the Prado Restaurant and the Japanese Friendship Garden’s Tea Pavilion! Visitors will notice that modifications have been made to ensure social distancing and generally increase public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can bet I’ll be heading to Balboa Park first thing after work today. And I’ll be there all weekend. I miss it so much.

Here are a few photographs from my rather inactive blog Beautiful Balboa Park. These photos were taken at sunrise on a summer day almost three years ago.

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 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!

Seaport Village suddenly turns blue!

The Pier Cafe at Seaport Village has been painted dark blue!
The Pier Cafe at Seaport Village is no longer brown. It has been painted dark blue!

Look what I noticed today during my evening walk along the Embarcadero. Seaport Village must have a brand new color scheme. Because many of its buildings along the water have recently been painted dark blue!

To me it all appeared very strange. Probably because I’m accustomed to Seaport Village’s old appearance.

Seaport Deli and Salad Bar has also been painted dark blue!
Seaport Deli and Salad Bar has also been painted dark blue! But it still has the red tile roof.
And so has the Harbor House restaurant! Seaport Village must have a new blue color scheme.
And the Harbor House restaurant has turned from brown to blue! Seaport Village must have a new color scheme.
The Seaport Village lighthouse has always been light blue. For many years you could purchase cookies here. I see a new eatery called Spill the Beans is coming.
The Seaport Village lighthouse has always been light blue. For many years you could purchase cookies here. I see a new coffee shop called Spill the Beans is coming.
And look! Buster's Beach House is now painted dark blue, too!
And look! Buster’s Beach House is now painted dark blue, too! It all appears a bit peculiar to me, but I might change my mind.

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!

After the riot, the bright green of Spring.

This morning, during my walk to work, I witnessed a strange contrast.

I began by walking through downtown, heading down the length of the Gaslamp Quarter. I saw a few broken windows, many boarded up businesses, much graffiti.

After a crowd of thousands gathered downtown on Sunday, peacefully protesting the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers, a few hundred rioters brought chaos to our city after dark. These people moved at random down streets and around corners, vandalizing businesses and looting. A peaceful and quite powerful protest had been hijacked by a relative few and made ugly.

Later this morning, as I neared work, I walked a short distance along the San Diego River. The sun was up, illuminating the bright green growths of Spring.

A thought-provoking morning experience.

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!

Help others! Join virtual Red Shoe Day online!

The 11th Annual Red Shoe Day is almost here! But this year it will be different. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the gathering of donations for Ronald McDonald House in San Diego will be entirely online!

Instead of plunking your spare change into a big red Ronald McDonald shoe held by a volunteer at a busy intersection, there’s going to be a virtual Red Shoe Day on June 4, 2020 that everyone can safely take part in and share online with others!

Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, according to their mission statement: provides a “home-away-from-home” for families with children being treated for serious, often life-threatening conditions at local hospitals.

Put yourself in the shoes of a family with a seriously ill child and imagine how important this would be. You could spend much more time with your child as they undergo super scary medical treatment at a big, scary hospital. Read more about what Ronald McDonald House Charities does here.

And here is what you can do!

Click here and join this year’s virtual Red Shoe Day!

Recruit friends, coworkers and family members! Form a winning team!

Look at all the smiling volunteers I photographed in past years, before the coronavirus pandemic…

Click here to join Red Shoe Day and make a huge difference in people’s lives!

You’ll feel good, too!