More photos of murals around Chicano Park.

Ser humano, to be human.
Ser humano, to be human.

Here are even more pics from Barrio Logan!  These photos were taken on the north side of Chicano Park, from the basketball court to Cesar Chavez Boulevard, including a stretch under the I-5 overpass.

As I mentioned before, some of these images might be considered controversial.  To see previous photos, click the Chicano Park tag at the bottom of this post and scroll down.  I have one more batch of photos coming up.  Please feel free to share anything on this blog!

Raza mural decries Operation Gatekeeper.
Raza mural decries Operation Gatekeeper.
Cesar Chavez Blvd mural under busy freeway.
Cesar Chavez Blvd mural under busy freeway.
Arriba Mexico on I-5 underpass mural.
Arriba Mexico on I-5 underpass mural.
Painted family greets traffic in Barrio Logan.
A painted Cesar Chavez and two youth greet traffic in Barrio Logan.
Aztlan mural on Cesar Chavez Boulevard.
Aztlan mural on Cesar Chavez Boulevard.
Pedestrians near Chicano Park walk past public art.
Pedestrians near Chicano Park walk past public art.
Mural at edge of Chicano Park opposes retrofitting.
Mural at edge of Chicano Park opposes retrofitting.
Painted images on Interstate 5 north of Chicano Park.
Painted images on Interstate 5 north of Chicano Park.
Utility box painted with El Corazon.
Utility box painted with El Corazon, the heart.
Mural supports Race, opposes the Border Patrol.
Mural supports Race, opposes the Border Patrol.
Elaborate mural on handball court in Chicano Park.
Elaborate mural containing ancient symbolism on a handball court in Chicano Park.
Painted jaguar crouches near basketball court.
Painted jaguar crouches near basketball court.
A very detailed mural in Chicano Park.
A very detailed and colorful mural in Chicano Park.
Aztec mural painted near chain link fence.
Aztec mural painted near chain link fence.
Utility box with colorful figures.
Utility box with colorful figures, including a mariachi.
Classic cars depicted on a concrete pillar.
Classic cars depicted on a concrete pillar.
San Diego Lowrider Council mural in Chicano Park.
San Diego Lowrider Council mural in Chicano Park.

Bust of war hero in Little Italy’s Piazza Basilone.

Bust of World War II hero John Basilone in Little Italy.
Bust of World War II hero John Basilone in Little Italy.

This handsome bust is the central feature of Piazza Basilone, a small urban space with tables, umbrellas and a fountain at the corner of India and Fir Street in Little Italy.

A plaque beneath the bust begins with the following words:

GUNNERY SERGEANT JOHN BASILONE

NOVEMBER 4, 1916 – FEBRUARY 19, 1945

SERGEANT JOHN BASILONE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST ENLISTED MARINES TO BE AWARDED THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR OF WORLD WAR II. HE WAS ALSO POSTHUMOUSLY AWARDED THE NATIONAL CROSS.

HE WAS BORN TO ITALIAN IMMIGRANTS, SALVATORE AND DORA BASILONE, IN BUFFALO, NEW YORK. HE AND HIS TEN BROTHERS AND SISTERS GREW UP IN RARITAN, NEW JERSEY. RESTLESS AND ADVENTUROUS BY NATURE, JOHN ENLISTED IN THE ARMY AT THE AGE EIGHTEEN AND WAS ASSIGNED TO GARRISON SERVICE IN THE PHILIPPINES.

AFTER HIS HONORABLE DISCHARGE FROM THE ARMY, BASILONE RETURNED TO RARITAN. AS THE STORM CLOUDS OF WAR GATHERED, JOHN BELIEVED HIS PLACE WAS WITH THE FIGHTING FORCES. IN JULY 1940 HE ENLISTED IN THE MARINE CORPS.

IT WAS ON GUADACANAL THAT SERGEANT BASILONE ACHIEVED HIS PLACE IN MARINE CORPS HISTORY, BECOMING ONE OF THE FIRST ENLISTED MARINES TO BE AWARDED THE MEDAL OF HONOR OF WORLD WAR II; THE NATION’S HIGHEST AWARD FOR EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM AND CONSPICUOUS GALLANTRY IN ACTION.

During the Battle of Guadalcanal, Basilone held off 3,000 Japanese troops after his unit was almost entirely destroyed. He was later killed in action on the first day of the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Planet Earth globe fountain in Little Italy's Piazza Basilone.
Planet Earth globe fountain in Little Italy’s Piazza Basilone.

This unique fountain is just a few feet away.

Long mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.

01 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
01 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.

We’re back in Barrio Logan’s famous Chicano Park with more pics!

The mural featured here is a very long one.  It’s painted behind the park’s fenced basketball court, on a low wall that borders Interstate 5.  Like the other public murals in Chicano Park, it’s a colorful hodgepodge of figures and symbols that seem to share one general theme: Mexican American pride and empowerment.

The photos move along the mural from right to left.

02 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
02 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
03 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
03 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
04 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
04 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
05 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
05 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
06 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
06 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
07 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
07 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
08 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
08 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
09 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
09 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
10 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
10 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
11 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
11 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
12 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
12 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
13 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
13 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
14 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
14 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
15 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
15 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
16 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.
16 Mural behind Chicano Park basketball court.

Just another lazy day in sunny San Diego.

A tourist rental quadcycle heads down the park's pathway.
A tourist rental quadcycle heads past boats in the Marriott Marina.

A sunny Saturday afternoon in San Diego.  A perfect time to enjoy life!

Lots of people were out at Embarcadero Marina Park South making the most of the holiday weekend.  During my walk I noticed a number of Zonies (visitors from Arizona) wearing ASU gear–their team will play in the Holiday Bowl on Monday.

Here are a few more miscellaneous photos:

Basketball game at Embarcadero Marina Park South.
Basketball game at Embarcadero Marina Park South.
Boy fishes with dad on Embarcadero Marina Park South pier.
Boy fishes with dad on Embarcadero Marina Park South pier.
Heading to the pier with a bunch of fishing rods.
Heading to the pier with a bunch of fishing rods.

Scenes of people enjoying life in Balboa Park.

Lady plays harp on El Prado in Balboa Park.
Lady plays harp on El Prado in Balboa Park.

Just some photos taken in Balboa Park of people enjoying life.

Glassblower at work in Balboa Park's Spanish Village.
Glassblower at work in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village.
Folks walk past fountain near Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
Folks walk past fountain near Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
Girl tries to grab brass ring on Balboa Park carousel.
Girl tries to grab brass ring on Balboa Park carousel.
Man plays guitar in Spanish Village gazebo.
Man plays guitar in Spanish Village gazebo.
People ride the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad.
People ride the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad.
Street performer plays an Australian didgeridoo.
Street performer plays an Australian didgeridoo.
Two artists on El Prado paint colorful canvases.
Two artists on El Prado paint colorful canvases.
Two young men enjoy slacklining in Balboa Park.
Two young men enjoy slacklining in Balboa Park.
Boy plays with ball while man reads Balboa Park plaque.
Boy plays with ball while man reads Balboa Park plaque.
Man sails small boat near Balboa Park fountain.
Man sails small boat near Balboa Park fountain.
Handmade boat near Balboa Park fountain.
Handmade boat near Balboa Park fountain.

History at Horton Plaza Park construction site.

North part of the Horton Plaza Park construction site behind fence.
North part of the Horton Plaza Park construction site behind fence.

A large area between Broadway and the Horton Plaza shopping mall is fenced off for construction.  One end of the downtown mall has already been demolished and leveled to the bare ground.  The long-neglected Horton Plaza Park is being enlarged!

On the fence surrounding the construction site are a number of interesting old photographs showing the park’s history.

When real estate developer Alonzo Horton built the Horton House hotel (now the U.S. Grant Hotel) in his “New Town” in 1870, he included a small plaza on the hotel  grounds.  In 1895 he sold the half block plaza to the growing city of San Diego, stating his objective was “to provide a central, commodious and attractive place for public meetings, public announcements, public recreation and for any other proper public purposes, a place where all public questions might be discussed with comfort, where public open-air concerts might be given, where the people might rest, and where children might play in safety.”  In 1909 the first fountain in the United States to feature electric lights was installed in the park.

Over the years, the small park has seen a whole lot of history, as the following photographs at today’s construction site demonstrate.  Horton Plaza Park was designated a historical landmark by the City of San Diego in 1971.

Horton Plaza Park during 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
Horton Plaza Park during 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
Horton Plaza Park crowded for V-J Day celebration.
Horton Plaza Park crowded for V-J Day celebration.

The streets were crowded with a spontaneous celebration when World War II finally ended.

Thousands attend rally for John F. Kennedy in Horton Plaza Park.
Thousands attend rally for John F. Kennedy in Horton Plaza Park.

On November 2, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy spoke at Horton Plaza Park, seeking votes in the upcoming presidential election.  A huge crowd turned out.

How the new Horton Plaza Park will look at completion.
Sign shows how the new Horton Plaza Park will look at completion.

The beautifully renovated park will include lots of space for public events, including outdoor concerts!

A huge area has been cleared to make way for the new park.
A huge area has been cleared to make way for the new park.

Here’s a pic I took on January 31, 2015…

Construction of the new Horton Plaza Park is well underway in early 2015.
Construction of the new Horton Plaza Park is well underway in early 2015.

More photos of Chicano Park in Barrio Logan.

Painted tree trunks and picnic benches at Chicano Park.
Painted tree trunks and picnic benches at Chicano Park.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I took a whole lot of photos during my walk through Chicano Park.  Here are some images from the east side of the public park, right next to Interstate 5.  A few picnic benches and unusual features can be found in this area.

Some of these photographs might cause a strong reaction.  As I’ve mentioned before, this blog aims to be nonpolitical.  I just aim my old camera at interesting things around San Diego…and you decide what to make of it all!

Primitive frame made of bent branches.
Primitive frame made of bent branches.
Flower sculpture and cacti beside freeway.
Flower sculpture and cacti beside freeway.
Colored stones ring a painted cactus in Chicano Park.
Colored stones ring a painted cactus in Chicano Park.
Sculpture stands among the surrounding murals.
Sculpture stands among the surrounding murals.
Small mural near pedestrian walkway that crosses freeway.
Small mural near pedestrian walkway that crosses freeway.
An eyeful of bright colors everywhere you turn!
An eyeful of bright colors everywhere you turn!
A monument to the sacrifices of Hispanic veterans.
A monument to the sacrifices of Hispanic veterans.

This polished memorial stands apart from the murals, by a small patch of green grass.

A nearby mural depicts a moment in history.
A nearby mural depicts a moment in history.
Controversial mural on the east side of Chicano Park.
Controversial mural on the east side of Chicano Park.
Looking west at freeway ramp rising toward Coronado Bridge.
Looking west at freeway ramp rising toward Coronado Bridge.
Chicano Park sign and Mexican flags beside Interstate 5.
Chicano Park sign and Mexican flags beside Interstate 5.

The colorful outdoor murals of Chicano Park.

01 Artists paint image of Mexico on pillar in Chicano Park.
Artists paint image of Mexico on pillar in Chicano Park.

Chicano Park is located in Barrio Logan, a mostly Mexican American and immigrant community just south of downtown San Diego.  The eight acre park features almost a hundred murals painted on concrete pillars that support the intersection of the Coronado Bay Bridge and Interstate 5.  This colorful park, quickly glimpsed by motorists speeding down the freeway, contains the largest collection of outdoor murals in the United States.  It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places due to its unique history with the Chicano civil rights movement.

I recently took a leisurely walk through the park and captured hundreds of photographs.  I’ve got so many pics, I’ve grouped them depending upon their location in the park. This blog post includes photos of murals I enjoyed while walking under the freeway ramps that connect the Coronado Bay Bridge to southbound I-5.

You’ll see a strange mixture of images in these murals: ancient Aztecs, indigenous peoples, workers, revolutionaries, school children, pop culture icons, scientists, politicians…and almost anything else you might imagine.  The diverse and often weird combinations seem to include one overarching theme: Mexican American empowerment.

The first photograph shows what I saw as I entered the park, walking up National Avenue from the south.  These artists were painting a pillar with an image of Mexico.

02 Colorful folk depicted in art on a freeway pillar.
Colorful folk depicted in art on a freeway pillar.
03 View of painted murals under ramps to southbound I-5.
View of painted murals under ramps to southbound I-5.
04 Chicano Power represented in art.
Chicano Power represented in art.
05 Figures in diverse costumes beneath a concrete jungle.
Figures in diverse costumes beneath a concrete jungle.
06 Elongated Aztec figure adds character to Chicano Park.
Elongated Aztec figure adds character to Chicano Park.
07 Hispanic culture comes alive on one side of a freeway pillar.
Hispanic culture comes alive on one side of a freeway pillar.
08 Latina with flag and raised fist in field of flowers.
Latina with flag and raised fist in field of flowers.
09 Vivid colors on concrete pillars supporting a San Diego freeway.
Vivid colors on concrete pillars supporting a San Diego freeway.
10 Weird faces and arms high above in the shadows.
Weird faces and arms high above in the shadows.
12 Primitive and abstract forms are plentiful in Chicano Park.
Primitive and abstract forms are plentiful in Chicano Park.
14 Folk throughout history like leaves on a tree of life.
Folk throughout history like leaves on a tree of life.
15 One of dozens of painted murals in San Diego's Chicano Park.
One of dozens of painted murals in San Diego’s Chicano Park.
16 La Tierra Mia is Spanish for My Land.
La Tierra Mia is Spanish for My Land.
17 More art that shows people close to the land.
More art that shows people close to the land.
18 Wild-haired figure holds up freeway with huge hands!
Wild-haired figure holds up freeway with huge hands!
19 A painted mosaic of symbols in Chicano Park.
A painted mosaic of symbols in Chicano Park.
20 Chicano art includes children and revolutionary with gun.
Chicano art includes children and revolutionary with gun.
22 Painted pillar supports ramp from Coronado Bridge to I-5 freeway.
Painted pillar supports ramp from Coronado Bridge to I-5 freeway.
23 Chicano Park has the largest collection of outdoor murals in the country.
The largest collection of outdoor murals in the country.
24 Latino pride, identity and empowerment made public in art.
Latino pride, identity and empowerment made public in art.
21 Mixture of images includes people demanding justice.
Mixture of images includes people demanding justice.
13 Native people frolic on a peaceful blue river.
Native people frolic on a peaceful blue river.

I’ve got a ton more pics, so stayed tuned in the days ahead!

Amazing rock balancing at Seaport Village.

Amazing rock balancing at Seaport Village.
Amazing rock balancing at Seaport Village.

If you ever visit Seaport Village, there’s a good chance you’ll see the fellow on the right and his amazing gallery of balanced rocks.  He hangs out behind the wall at the water’s edge, right next to the grassy park.  (The park is called Embarcadero Marina Park North, by the way.)

People passing by are encouraged to take photos and try out their own rock balancing ability.  This lady was having a lot of trouble.  Even a small rock edgewise  on a water bottle isn’t easy.

Lady finally succeeds at balancing a rock!
Lady finally succeeds at balancing a rock!

With a little cheating she finally succeeds!

Santa and reindeer fly through Balboa Park.

santa claus rides sleigh in balboa park

Santa Claus and his magical reindeer were recently seen flying through Balboa Park. A photo was snapped as he sped from the central plaza toward the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. There he is waving at happy children and thrilled park visitors!

santa's reindeer fly through balboa park

A second photo was snapped as the reindeer lifted off into the blue San Diego sky, pulling Santa’s sleigh up and away back toward the North Pole!

Old Saint Nick has to prepare for Christmas!

UPDATE!

Santa returned the following year! Here he is!

Santa's sleigh is back again for another Christmas in Balboa Park!
Santa’s sleigh is back again for another Christmas in Balboa Park!
The flying reindeer take once more to the blue San Diego sky!
The flying reindeer take once more to the San Diego sky!