Italian American baseball players on India Street.

Mike Napoli
Mike Napoli

Dozens of Major League Baseball players are hanging out on Little Italy’s India Street! I saw them yesterday! I took their pictures!

One great thing about Little Italy is there are always lots of colorful street banners.  They celebrate the neighborhood’s Italian culture and rich history. As baseball season gets underway, a bunch of banners have been hung along India Street that feature Italian American baseball players, past and present.

Joe Garagiola
Joe Garagiola
Tony Conigliaro
Tony Conigliaro
Bart Giamatti
Bart Giamatti
Phil Rizutto
Phil Rizutto
Tommy Lasorda
Tommy Lasorda
Joe Torre
Joe Torre
Anthony Rizzo
Anthony Rizzo
Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio
San Diego Little Italy's neighborhood boys who played baseball, circa 1938.
San Diego Little Italy’s neighborhood boys who played baseball, circa 1938.
Jason Grilli
Jason Grilli
Sal Maglie
Sal Maglie
Christopher Denorfia
Christopher Denorfia
Frank Torre
Frank Torre
Christopher Colabello
Christopher Colabello
John Montefusco
John Montefusco
Alessandro Liddi
Alessandro Liddi
Joey Votto
Joey Votto
Nick Punto
Nick Punto
Frank Crosetti
Frank Crosetti
Dave Giusti
Dave Giusti
Gus Mancuso
Gus Mancuso
Frank Viola
Frank Viola
Mike Piazza
Mike Piazza
Dom DiMaggio
Dom DiMaggio
Paul (Li Mandri) Lattman
Paul (Li Mandri) Lattman
Barry Zito
Barry Zito
Jason Giambi
Jason Giambi
Devin Mescoraco
Devin Mescoraco

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!

Photos behind the scenes at Copley Symphony Hall!

Old photograph in lobby of Symphony Towers shows the old downtown Fox Theatre, today's surprising home of the San Diego Symphony.
Photograph in lobby of Symphony Towers shows the old downtown Fox Theatre, today’s surprising home of the San Diego Symphony.

Today I enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of Copley Symphony Hall, home of the San Diego Symphony. The tour was part of the big OPEN HOUSE 2017 event that is being staged this weekend by the San Diego Architectural Foundation. An amazing 47 buildings featuring diverse architectural styles are being showcased around downtown, from Bankers Hill to Barrio Logan.

Copley Symphony Hall was originally built as the Fox Theatre in 1929, an excellent example of the famous chain of Fox movie palaces. Highly ornate Gothic Revival touches can be seen in the preserved lobby and inside the opulent theatre itself. Should you stand outside on the city street today, all you’d see is a tall skyscraper: Symphony Towers. The modern 34-story skyscraper was built literally over and around the historic Fox Theatre in 1989!

Stepping into Copley Symphony Hall is like being suddenly transported back in time. Take a look at some photos and read the captions for more info!

Visitors check out historical photos of the Fox Theatre movie palace on a wall near the San Diego Symphony box office.
Visitors check out historical photos of the Fox Theatre movie palace on a wall near the San Diego Symphony box office.
Guide from the San Diego Symphony provides some background before a behind-the-scenes tour of Copley Symphony Hall.
Guide from the San Diego Symphony provides some background before a behind-the-scenes tour of Copley Symphony Hall.
How the Fox Theatre appeared almost a century ago. A modern 34-story skyscraper, Symphony Towers, was built around it in 1989. The building's parking levels are directly above the theatre!
How the Fox Theatre appeared almost a century ago. A modern 34-story skyscraper, Symphony Towers, was built around it in 1989. The new building’s parking levels were constructed directly above the old theatre!
The Fox Theatre was the most elegant place to enjoy culture in San Diego for decades. Countless concerts, shows and movies have been enjoyed here by many generations.
The Fox Theatre was the most elegant place to enjoy culture in San Diego for decades. Countless concerts, shows and movies have been enjoyed here by many generations.
Our tour group has entered the theatre's elegant main lobby. Movie executive William Fox created a chain of opulent theaters in the 1920s. They featured many styles of dazzling ornamentation. At one time this was a working fountain!
Our tour group has entered the theatre’s main lobby. Movie executive William Fox developed a popular chain of theaters in the 1920s. They featured many styles of dazzling ornamentation. At one time this was a working fountain!
I learned the central face above the old fountain represents William Fox himself. Fox was born in Hungary and his parents emigrated to America. He eventually created a vast entertainment empire.
I learned the central face above the old fountain represents William Fox himself. Fox was born in Hungary and his parents emigrated to America. He eventually created a vast entertainment empire.
A look at one amazing corner of the dramatic ceiling.
A look at one amazing corner of the lobby’s dramatic ceiling.
The elegant main lobby of Copley Symphony Hall in San Diego.
The elegant main lobby of Copley Symphony Hall in San Diego.
A bust at one end of the main lobby is of the beloved German composer Beethoven.
A bust at one end of the main lobby is of the beloved German composer Beethoven.
We step into Symphony Hall to see what few see. We will file down through the empty theatre and through a door that connects to backstage.
We step through a door to see what few see. We will file down through the empty theatre and through another door that connects to backstage.
Heading toward backstage. I believe those stairs lead up to the rear stage door on Eighth Avenue.
Heading toward backstage. I believe those stairs lead up to the rear stage door on Eighth Avenue.
Behind the scenes! All sorts of interesting equipment could be glimpsed in the darkness behind the stage.
Behind the scenes! All sorts of interesting equipment could be glimpsed in the darkness behind the stage.
I believe I see a xylophone tucked in this closet-like space!
I believe I see a xylophone tucked in this closet-like space!
Through that rather ordinary-looking door is the San Diego Symphony's elegant stage! Beautiful music requires hard work done by those who toil unseen.
Through that rather unimpressive door is the San Diego Symphony’s elegant stage! Beautiful music requires hard work done by those who toil unseen.
This is part of a comfortable rest area behind the stage for the San Diego Symphony musicians. Visiting entertainers also enjoy the peace and moments of relaxation.
This is part of a comfortable rest area behind the stage for San Diego Symphony musicians. Visiting entertainers also enjoy an opportunity for relaxation.
We've left backstage and are heading up some stairs to Copley Symphony Hall's upper level, whose entrance is on hilly Seventh Avenue.
We’ve left backstage and are heading up some stairs to Copley Symphony Hall’s upper level, whose entrance is on hilly Seventh Avenue.
Some rather fancy decorative artwork can be seen above the doorway that leads to Aisle 5.
Some rather fancy decorative artwork can be seen above the doorway that leads to Aisle 5.
The interior of the theatre was too dark for my old camera to capture many good photographs. After listening to a brief organ concert, our tour group prepares to exit Copley Symphony Hall's upper seating level.
The interior of the theatre was too dark for my old camera to capture many good photos. After listening to a brief organ concert, our tour group prepares to exit Copley Symphony Hall’s upper seating level.
One of several smaller chandeliers in the spectacular ceiling.
One of several smaller chandeliers in the spectacular ceiling.
The huge, resplendent central chandelier and those around it can be lowered on cables. This is helpful when about a thousand light bulbs need replacement! In the olden days, dancing girls performed for the audience from atop this chandelier!
The huge, resplendent central chandelier and those around it can be lowered on cables. This is helpful when a thousand light bulbs need replacement! In the olden days, dancing girls performed for the audience from atop this chandelier!
One last glimpse. Some fun detail near the ceiling of the historic Fox Theatre, now home to the San Diego Symphony.
One last glimpse. Some fun detail near the ceiling of the historic Fox Theatre, now home to the world-class San Diego Symphony.

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San Diego Air and Space Museum’s PT-22 hits the road!

A shiny PT-22 military trainer aircraft from the World War II era is about to be towed from the San Diego Air and Space Museum to their annex at Gillespie Field.
A shiny PT-22 military trainer aircraft from the World War II era is about to be towed from the San Diego Air and Space Museum to their annex at Gillespie Field!

Another unexpected cool sight! I was walking around the San Diego Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park this morning when I spied a mysterious airplane wing being carried into the rear of the museum’s historic Ford Building! What was it?

I spoke to a nice guy overseeing the movement of two museum aircraft and found out!

The museum’s Boeing P-26 “Peashooter” had just returned from a year-long stint in Seattle, where it was featured in the Boeing Centennial. And to make room, a vintage PT-22 military trainer was being sent to Gillespie Field. The San Diego Air and Space Museum has an annex at Gillespie Field, which I suppose I’ll have to visit someday. (Yes, it was a PT-22 that Harrison Ford was flying when he crashed a couple years ago at a golf course!)

As I walked through Balboa Park, I spied a wing vanishing into the San Diego Air and Space Museum. It belongs to a Boeing P-26 Peashooter, which was on loan for a year in Seattle for the Boeing Centennial.
As I walked through Balboa Park, I spied a wing vanishing into the San Diego Air and Space Museum. It belongs to a Boeing P-26 “Peashooter”, which was on loan for a year in Seattle for the Boeing Centennial.
These yellow wings in the San Diego Air and Space Museum truck are heading to Gillespie Field in East County. They are part of a PT-22 airplane.
These yellow wings in the San Diego Air and Space Museum truck are heading to Gillespie Field in East County. In preparation for land transport, they have been detached from a PT-22 airplane.
The PT-22 was gleaming in the sunlight and I had to take a closer look.
The PT-22 is almost ready to be towed.  The plane was gleaming in the sunlight and I had to take a closer look.
Photo of the cockpit of the Air and Space Museum's PT-22.
Photo of the cockpit of the San Diego Air and Space Museum’s PT-22.
A cool, unexpected sight in the parking lot behind the San Diego Air and Space Museum!
A cool, unexpected sight in the parking lot behind the San Diego Air and Space Museum!

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!

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Photos of amazing model train layout in Old Town!

A jaw-dropping night scene in a huge model train layout in Old Town San Diego!
The jaw-dropping night scene of a gigantic model train layout in Old Town San Diego!

During my walk through Old Town San Diego today, I stepped through an ordinary door into a fantastic dream! Before me stretched a positively enormous model train layout!

The Old Town Model Railroad Depot is a truly amazing attraction that anyone would enjoy seeing. The gigantic layout features O-Scale model trains, and as you can see in these photos, just lots of fun buildings, landscapes, moving figures and special effects.

I must say, in my opinion this layout even beats the two awesome O-Scale layouts at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park. Now that really took some doing!

And the two guys I spoke to at the Old Town Model Railroad Depot were really friendly! Next time I walk past, you can be sure I’ll venture inside again!

The Old Town Model Railroad Depot is a cool attraction featuring a gigantic 2500 square feet layout for O-Scale model trains!
The Old Town Model Railroad Depot is a cool attraction featuring a gigantic room full of working model trains!  It’s one of the largest O-Scale layouts in the country!
Fun gifts, artwork and items for model train hobbyists can also be purchased at San Diego's unique Old Town Model Railroad Depot.
Fun gifts, artwork and items for model train hobbyists can also be purchased at San Diego’s unique Old Town Model Railroad Depot.
A locomotive for sale among other fascinating stuff.
A locomotive for sale among other unique and fascinating stuff.
Lots of nostalgic railway artwork decorates the walls.
Lots of nostalgic historical railway posters decorate one wall.
The huge train layout has two halves--one represents daytime, the other night. Kids can stand on platforms to see--and hear--all the action.
The huge train layout has two halves–one represents daytime, the other night. Kids can stand on platforms to see–and hear–all of the exciting action.
Many model buildings populate the O-Scale train layout. It's the same scale used by classic Lionel Trains.
Many model buildings populate the O-Scale train layout. It’s the same scale used by classic Lionel Trains.
Tiny human figures and vehicles can be spotted everywhere one looks on the realistic layout.
Tiny human figures and vehicles can be spotted everywhere one looks on the realistic layout.
I really enjoyed the night side of the layout. It seemed even more realistic and dynamic. Special lighting effects include fireworks bursting over a stadium and lightning stabbing down from clouds!
I really enjoyed the night side of the layout. It seemed even more realistic and dynamic. Special lighting effects include fireworks bursting over a stadium and lightning stabbing down from clouds!
A tiny mechanic works in a tiny garage on a tiny truck.
A tiny mechanic works in a tiny garage at night on a tiny truck.
A detailed scene recreates firemen fighting a fire at night.
A detailed scene recreates firemen fighting a fire at night. I see miniature police, an ambulance, reporters and a small crowd of evacuated people!
Your kids will go crazy. You have to see it to believe it. And it's free! But leave a donation!
Your kids will go crazy. You have to see it to believe it. And it’s free! But leave a donation!

UPDATE!

I stepped into the Old Town Model Railroad Depot a second time! And I loved it even more than my first visit!

I met Gary Hickok, the creator of this stupendous layout, and learned he has been collecting the various pieces you see for 15 years. There are hundreds of tiny unique human figures, and they all seem to tell a story. Their unique poses are all part of a huge, bustling scene. The stories are often humorous!

Here are some more random photos that came out okay. These were all taken on the “day side” of the O-Scale model train layout. I hope you enjoy them!

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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!

History inside the William Heath Davis House.

Gaslamp Museum at the William Heath Davis House and Park, 1850. Home of the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation.
Gaslamp Museum at the William Heath Davis House and Park, 1850. Home of the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation.

These photos inside the historic William Heath Davis House Museum were taken a few months ago. I toured the fascinating house during the Fall Back Festival, which is held every year in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.

Dated 1850, the William Heath Davis House, like a number of other structures in early San Diego, was built on the East Coast and shipped around Cape Horn. At the time San Diego simply didn’t have the resources and tools required to build a fine wooden house. Various rooms inside the museum show what life was like in New Town a century and a half ago. It was a much simpler time. The small museum now sits in the middle of a gigantic, bustling metropolis.

Please read the photo captions for more info, and click the signs to read them.

Photo of the William Heath Davis House Museum taken from across Island Avenue.
Photo of the William Heath Davis House Museum taken from across Island Avenue.
Tours of the historic house are available. A museum store contains fascinating gifts.
Tours of the historic house are available. A museum store contains fascinating gifts.
The William Heath Davis House is the oldest surviving structure from San Diego's New Town. It is a prefabricated salt-box style home, shipped from Portland, Maine around Cape Horn. Dated 1850.
The William Heath Davis House, built in 1850, is the oldest surviving structure from San Diego’s New Town. It is a prefabricated “salt-box” style home, shipped from Portland, Maine around Cape Horn.
The 1850 Davis-Horton House was used as a military barracks, county hospital, and was home to Alonzo Horton and several other families.
The 1850 Davis-Horton House was used as a military barracks, county hospital, and was home to New Town’s founder Alonzo Horton and several other families over the years.
Looking down the stairs from the second floor. A lady in Victorian attire welcomes visitors to the museum during the Fall Back Festival in November.
Looking down the stairs from the second floor. A lady in Victorian attire welcomes visitors to the museum during the Fall Back Festival in November.
A look at the first floor living room where family and guests would gather.
A look at the first floor living room where family and guests would gather.
A small piano, sheet music, teacup and candle. Entertainment in the olden days was simple.
A small piano, sheet music, teacup and candle. Entertainment in the olden days was simple.
The dining table is set for a grand meal in New Town San Diego.
The dining table is set for a grand meal in what was then a sparsely populated New Town San Diego.
An old sewing machine can be found by a window upstairs.
An old sewing machine can be found by a window upstairs.
The nursery, with crib and small bed.
The nursery, with crib, chest and small bed.
Three beds for the children have colorful quilts.
Three beds for the children have colorful quilts.
A desk in the study and a cabinet full of books.
A desk in the study, framed photos, and a cabinet full of books.  No internet back then!
An old-fashioned penny-farthing bicycle reminds visitors to the William Heath Davis House Museum of what life was like a century and a half ago in San Diego.
An old-fashioned penny-farthing bicycle reminds visitors to the William Heath Davis House Museum of what life was like a century and a half ago in San Diego.

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New mural painted on Union-Tribune building.

A new mural is being painted on the north side of 600 B Street, the new home of the San Diego Union Tribune. It depicts a man sitting on a wall reading a newspaper. Loose windblown pages transform into colorful butterflies.
Mural painted on the north side of 600 B Street, home of the San Diego Union Tribune. It depicts a man sitting on an actual wall reading a newspaper. Loose windblown pages transform into colorful butterflies.

A mural is being painted on the north side of the building at 600 B Street, a high-rise that is the new home of the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper. The large mural overlooks a fenced park-like space that once was the playground for a downtown child care center.

I saw the colorful new mural behind scaffolding this morning while walking to a nearby trolley station. The artwork cleverly depicts a person reading a newspaper, while “sitting” on a wall that juts from the building. The man doesn’t seem to notice that windblown pages are rising skyward, transforming into butterflies.

The image is quaint, almost nostalgic, as if it were lifted from the pages of a treasured children’s book. I suppose the San Diego Union-Tribune is the inspiration for this mural. It’s a funny choice of images, considering the fact that physical newspapers are slowly vanishing. A few years from now, the hopeful image might provoke a bit of sadness.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

To read a few stories I’ve written, visit Short Stories by Richard.

Cool mural in North Park remembers good old days!

A super cool street mural in North Park depicts icons from three decades: the 50s, 60s and 70s.
A very cool street mural in North Park depicts icons from three decades: the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Check out this super cool street mural in North Park, on the side of a building near the corner of 30th Street and Adams Avenue! It’s titled “Remembering… 50’s 60’s 70’s” and was painted by the artist Kerry A. Moore in 2008. The mural depicts small, iconic scenes from what many might call the good old days! I searched like crazy but could find absolutely nothing about this fun street art on the internet.

How many entertainment legends and famous people from those three decades can you spot? Among others, I recognize Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, the I Love Lucy show, the Rat Pack, Martin Luther King, Jr., Neil Armstrong, the Beatles, JFK, Easy Rider, Jimi Hendrix, the original Star Wars, The Godfather, Happy Days, John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, and, of course, Rocky Balboa. I was a kid in the 70’s and remember many good times. Movies I remember fondly include Star Wars, Rocky and Superman. But most of my best old memories are probably from the 80’s, experiencing life and this great big world as a young adult.  Wow, the years have gone by quickly.

I have a dream. Make love, not war. Happy Days. Revolutionary music, cool cars, sports heroes, and a space opera that altered entertainment forever. Bits of history and popular culture from America's past.
I have a dream. Make love, not war. Happy Days. Revolutionary music, cool cars, sports heroes, and a space opera that changed entertainment forever. Bits of history and popular culture from America’s past.  Now that is one jam-packed mural!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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