The Renaissance Woman sculpture in University City.

A marble sculpture by renowned American artist Manuel Neri stands near a sun-splashed fountain and bright colonnade in University City. The sculpture is titled The Renaissance Woman.

According to its plaque, the beautiful sculpture was placed by the corner of Shoreline Drive and Renaissance Avenue in 1990 for the enjoyment of the community and residents who live nearby.

A graceful, dignified form seems to be emerging from the block of white marble, which is encircled by flowers.

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!

Old Town State Park expansion nears completion!

This morning I walked around the north end of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. I wanted to check out the progress that has been made with the State Park’s big expansion.

Old Town’s new outdoor interpretative area is beautiful and appears to be nearing completion!

I took photos of the area under construction four months ago and posted them here. You can definitely see the progress!

This large plot of land where the old Caltrans building used to be–at the corner of Juan Street and Taylor Street–is being converted into an inviting space that is alive with native vegetation and historical exhibits. Visitors walking along various pathways will have the opportunity to learn about the life and culture of the Native American Kumeyaay people. The Kumeyaay lived here by the San Diego River long before Europeans arrived.

The California State Parks website refers to this outdoor space as Land of the First People Exhibit Area—called Iipay ~ Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok.

As I circled the construction site fence, I noticed many plaques have been installed. I’ll be eager to read them once this area opens to the public.

This is what I saw…

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!

Memorial Day at National City’s Wall of Honor.

Late this afternoon I attended a Memorial Day ceremony at National City’s Wall of Honor.

It was a special event for the South Bay community. Those who served in the United States Armed Services and have passed on were remembered.

The Wall of Honor extends on either side of the National City War Memorial, which stands overlooking a corner of Kimball Park. Plaques on the wall are dedicated to loved Veterans. Through the memorial’s arch children could be seen playing on the park’s wide green grass, and looking through that arch during the ceremony was like peering through the window of Freedom.

National City’s mayor and various dignitaries were in attendance and spoke. The Navy was represented as well. Retired vets who had served their country received handshakes from all.

I took these photographs of the beautiful and very meaningful ceremony. Memorial Day is a time to recognize sacrifices, and to seriously reflect.

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!

Faces appear in amazing new Teralta Park mural!

Dozens of faces have appeared in artwork that, when finished, will be one of San Diego’s most impressive murals. The 263-foot mural is being spray painted on a long wall at the south end of Teralta Neighborhood Park, directly over Interstate 15!

Unity in the Community is the name of the new, very colorful City Heights mural, and it’s being created by San Diego graffiti artist Sake.

In addition to important City Heights landmarks like the Euclid Tower, Silverado Ballroom, City Heights/Weingart Library and Central Elementary School, the mural depicts many faces from this diverse San Diego community.

As I walked along the mural from right to left, I saw images of children in playground swings and riding bikes, musicians playing instruments, kids playing volleyball, basketball and soccer in the park, happy dogs, smiling families, youth graduating from school, and proud neighborhood residents from all walks of life.

The mural, which is being painted in an area known for gang activity, is meant to inspire those who see it with its positive, hopeful, unifying imagery.

I took these photographs several days ago. I plan to post additional photos as the mural progresses.

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Demonstration by San Diego Korean Karate Club!

Today I watched an amazing demonstration of some hardcore martial arts!

I was walking around the North University Community Branch Library in University City when a flurry of action caught my attention. Several members of the San Diego Korean Karate Club were practicing in a space outside the building!

The super friendly guys got talking to me and when they learned I’m a San Diego blogger, they consented to do a demonstration for my camera!

The fighting style I saw was ridiculously fast, powerful, and absolutely impressive. They were demonstrating Chung Do Kwan, which, according to the San Diego Korean Karate Club website, was “taught to the Korean military by Master Won Kuk Lee and Master Duk Sung Son…” It’s some deadly serious stuff.

Of course, the San Diego Korean Karate Club, which operates at the Nobel Recreation Center and Athletic Fields, doesn’t engage in lethal moves, but they will teach you kicking, sparring and conditioning drills, plus self-defense situations and tactics. They also offer special self-defense classes for women.

I photographed 6th Degree Black Belt Master Joe Montanez sparring with 2nd Degree Black Belt Junior Instructor Santosh Jois and have selected a few pics.

Their moves and counter-moves were so fast I could barely follow the action. In combat I would have succumbed to either one of them in a matter of seconds!

Check it out!

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 park recalls East Village’s industrial history.

Back in 2014, I took photos of rusty old industrial machinery displayed on sidewalks around the Wheel Works and Broom Works buildings in East Village. I didn’t really know what I was looking at.

I now realize these were artifacts collected over many years by visionary local businessman Bob Sinclair.

A new park, located on 14th Street between G Street and Market Street, features some of these industrial artifacts, as well as historical photographs of San Diego’s East Village when the now mostly residential neighborhood was a center of industry.

This new linear park, which includes a walking path near downtown’s Albertsons grocery store, is part of a much larger 14th Street Promenade project that when completed will be eleven blocks long!

Four big steel artifacts from the Sinclair Collection are on display. See my photo captions.

Part of one sign I photographed reads: “…Entrepreneur and businessman Bob Sinclair valued the history and architecture of the East Village. During the 1970’s through the 1990’s he acquired historic buildings and collected industrial artifacts from the old workshops…His businesses were often located in historic buildings, and he filled the warehouses he bought with new industries. The Hazard, Gould, and Company Buildings at 7th Avenue and G Street, Wonder Bread Warehouse at 14th and L Streets, Rosario Hall at 13th and J Streets, and the Broom Works Factory and Wheelworks Building on J Street between Park Boulevard and 13th Street are examples of historic properties owned by Bob Sinclair…”

To learn much more about Bob Sinclair and how he worked to preserve East Village’s fascinating history, check out this great article!

Traction wheel.
Disc grinder.
Pulley wheel.
Historical photos include Fred C. Silverthorn and Sons at 15th and Market Streets, circa 1930; and Standard Iron Works.
From the time that Alonzo Horton purchased 800 acres of languishing downtown harbor front property for 30 cents an acre in the late 1800’s and laid out his “New Town,” the neighborhood now known as East Village became the economic engine for San Diego through the 1950s…
Bob Sinclair on the roof of the Wonder Bread building, 2010. (Petco Park can be seen behind him.)
Drill press.

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!

San Diego hero beautifies our city.

An unselfish, unsung hero in San Diego has dedicated countless hours of hard work to making our city more beautiful.

I’m speaking of Joseph Ciavarella. For five years he spearheaded the improvement and beautification of Tweet Street Park, a neighborhood park atop Cortez Hill.

During my walks over the years I often saw Joe in the park spreading mulch, pruning, cleaning up debris, and planting flowers and other greenery. I would express my appreciation, and he was always modest.

Joseph Ciavarella’s quiet optimism, his effective community organizing and relentless hard work, along with the important contributions of Friends of Tweet Street volunteers and San Diego Parks and Recreation, have turned the Tweet Street linear park into the amazing lush garden that it is today.

Joe moved away from Cortez Hill not long ago. His last day at Tweet Street was Arbor Day. I noticed today that the Downtown San Diego Partnership planted a tree in his honor.

That tree will grow and become ever more beautiful over time, bringing a little joy to the lives of so many people.

That’s was Joe did.

Check out the “Friends of Tweet Street Park” Facebook page here.

Donate to the Friends of Tweet Street via a new web page provided by the Downtown San Diego Partnership here.

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!

Del Mar history in a pocket park.

A pocket park near the corner of Camino Del Mar and 15th Street features a series of banners that illustrate local history.

Pedestrians coming down the sidewalk have the opportunity to rest and view photos from Del Mar’s past in this quiet nook near L’Auberge Del Mar, across 15th Street from Stratford Square’s distinctive Tudor style building.

Last weekend I enjoyed a look at these fascinating historical images and descriptions, which are provided by the Del Mar Historical Society. I took photographs of the banners, moving from left to right.

Then I spotted a friendly sea lion perched on a nearby bench!

To learn more about Del Mar’s history, including how the North County beach town got its name from a once-popular poem titled “The Fight for Paso Del Mar”, check out this website!

The history of Del Mar begins in 1885 with the new California Southern Railroad, connecting Los Angeles to San Diego. The first hotel, opened in 1886, was Casa Del Mar. The Natatorium at the end of 10th and 11th Street featured a dance pavilion on the beach and a large saltwater swimming pool.
A 1000 foot pier was built in 1912 near the end of 15th Street. When it became too damaged by the passage of time and many storms, it was demolished in 1959 by the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team!
The Hotel Del Mar (originally called the Stratford Inn) attracted the rich and famous after Bing Crosby built the Del Mar Racetrack in 1937. Parties featured entertainers such as Bob Hope, Al Jolson and Danny Thomas. Frequent guests included Buster Keaton, Mickey Rooney, Betty Grable, Lucille Ball, Jimmy Durante and many others.
Photos of celebrities at the Del Mar Racetrack, including Ava Gardner, Ronald Reagan, J. Edgar Hoover, Cary Grant and Red Skelton.
The Stratford Inn opened in 1909 and attracted Hollywood’s silent film stars. It was finally demolished in 1967. The posh L’Auberge Del Mar, which stands on the site now, was featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
This is Sally the Sea Lion!

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Cool skateboard murals at Chicano Park Skatepark!

Today I headed to Chicano Park to look for a recently painted mural. A friend that I know from work told me about it. Searching among the dozens and dozens of colorful murals in Chicano Park, I’m afraid I couldn’t find it! But I’ll ask her about it again and make another attempt in the near future. (UPDATE! Turns out she was mistaken.)

As I walked at the southwest end of Chicano Park, I circled around the popular skatepark which is located under the Coronado Bay Bridge. The Chicano Park Skatepark was created in 2015 with a little help from San Diego skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and his foundation.

And check out what I spotted! Four cool skateboarding murals that I’d never seen before!

The small murals face the various quarter pipes, ledges and rails where youthful skaters were riding back and forth and performing tricks.

I saw an Aztec performing a handplant, and indigenous peoples Día de los Muertos skeletons skating up and down the bridge’s concrete pillars, too!

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!

Nature and art at Chollas Creekside Park.

Nature’s beauty and fine public art can be enjoyed at Chollas Creekside Park, located in southeast San Diego’s Chollas View neighborhood. The curved linear park, which preserves important natural habitat in an urban setting, can be found near the northwest corner of Market Street and Euclid Avenue.

A couple weekends ago I visited this beautiful community park for the first time and, by using the pedestrian bridge over Chollas Creek, walked the pathways along both sides of the dry creek bed.

I saw spring flowers. I saw new green leaves. I saw many birds.

I also paused to admire the Chollas Realm Gateways at either end of the park. The public artwork was created by local artist Roman de Salvo and installed in the summer of 2019.

At the center of Chollas Creekside Park, I circled Visualize Biodiversity. The 10-foot Corten sculpture is shaped like a barrel cactus. Patterns of butterflies and insects around its circumference light up at night. Created by artist Deedee Morrison, it was also installed in 2019.

You’ll see in my photos that I also climbed up to a lookout point above Chollas Creek, where there’s a great view of the entire park. With a little imagination one can visualize the surrounding area as it was before the city sprang up and streets and buildings covered the landscape.

Chollas Creek and Chollas View take their name from the Cholla cactus. Cholla were numerous here, once upon a time.

Chollas Realm Gateway, by artist Roman de Salvo, 2019.
Birds of Chollas Creek include California gnatcatcher, red-tailed hawk, Bell’s vireo, and cactus wren.
Visualize Biodiversity, by artist Deedee Morrison, 2019.
Plants of Chollas Creek include California buckwheat, California sunflower, lemonadeberry, and California sycamore.
Mammals of Chollas Creek include coyote, gray fox, desert cottontail, and big brown bat.
Benefits of creek restoration include cleaner water, reduced flooding and preservation of wildlife habitat along a riparian corridor.

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!