Flowers and gratitude for two fallen officers.

Flowers and messages of condolence and gratitude now surround the memorial for fallen officers by the downtown headquarters of the San Diego Police Department.

These heartfelt expressions were placed at the memorial by residents of San Diego after the tragic deaths of two married detectives in a wrong way car collision last Friday. Detectives Ryan Park and Jamie Huntley-Park attended the police academy together, and both were promoted to detective at the same time. A fund for their families has been set up here.

I was walking down Broadway early this morning to check out a mural in East Village when I saw the flowers. I had to stop and read one large message which you can see in my final photograph.

I’m certain many in San Diego share the same feelings.

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!

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!

Hopeful faces painted in Chicano Park.

During my most recent visit to Chicano Park, I passed under Interstate 5 while walking up Cesar E. Chavez Parkway. Even in the dim light under the concrete freeway, hopeful faces looked out from the mural beside me.

I saw bright hope in the faces of youth who were learning or at play. I saw hope in the faces of proud people at work, or taking flight on butterfly wings.

Back in 2016 I posted more photos of expressive faces that I’d encountered while walking among the murals of Chicano Park. See those 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!

Colorful characters gather for City Heights celebration!

This afternoon I attended an inspirational event in the heart of City Heights. Local artists, community leaders and excited residents gathered for a fun celebration in the newly opened “Characters” outdoor sculpture garden!

You might recall I posted some photos of this cool art installation a while back before it was completed. Since then, more creative sculptures have been installed! I also noticed small signs have been added to each piece, with information about the artist and artwork.

I arrived early and watched as the crowd slowly grew, mingling among the diverse Characters sculptures. And before my eyes the number of smiling characters increased!

Everyone enjoyed food and live music, and there was juggling and stilt-walking by a member of the Fern Street Circus. After a little while various community leaders spoke, including local artist Jim Bliesner, the curator of Characters.

He introduced the neighborhood artists who created each sculpture, and many of the stories were inspirational. Every piece, like every person in the life of a community, is special and unique.

During the event I also learned that in two years this now vacant lot at the corner of University Avenue and Interstate 15 will be developed into affordable housing. When finished, a five-story building, the project of Wakeland Housing & Development and the City Heights Community Development Corporation, will be located conveniently near the City Heights Transit Plaza.

What I learned above all, however, is that City Heights is becoming an ever more vibrant community, with the help of many hands and hearts.

Edwin Lohr poses beside his sculpture Covid Calamity.

The sculpture was created using scarves that belonged to Ruth, a City Heights neighbor, friend, and victim of COVID-19.
Kay Aye poses for a photo by her sculpture titled Speaking for Silent Majorities/Fruit of My Heart.
Kay Aye was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. Her art speaks of the oppression that has been going on for years in her native land.
Member of the Fern Street Circus engages in performance art! Different color paints dribble down 2020 Man, a sculpture made of tangled branches by Jim Bliesner.
Twisted, chaotic broken branches form a human shape. 2020 was a year full of twists and turns!
Art brings even more life to a vibrant City Heights community.

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!

Unusual traffic signal box memorial in Balboa Park.

You rarely find a traffic signal box with a special dedication plaque. There’s one such box in San Diego, and it’s located in Balboa Park at the corner of Park Boulevard and Presidents Way.

This traffic signal box memorializes Walter J. Sarnaw. The plaque reads:

THIS TRAFFIC SIGNAL SYSTEM
IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF
WALTER J. SARNAW
IN APPRECIATION FOR HIS
DEDICATED SERVICE TO THE
SAFETY OF THE CITIZENS OF
SAN DIEGO

I can find no biography of Walter J. Sarnaw online, apart from some basic information on this Find a Grave page. It indicates Walter Julian Sarnaw was born in 1916 in Illinois, attended San Diego State College, was a member of the campus Engineer’s Association, served in the Army at the end of World War II, and died in 1973 in San Diego.

And we know for certain that he was dedicated to the safety of the San Diego community. Which made him an important contributor to the life and history of our city.

If you know more about Walter J. Sarnaw, please leave a comment!

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!

Gravestones at Pioneer Park in Mission Hills.

Pioneer Park is a city park in Mission Hills that’s popular with neighborhood families and children. It features a playground, green grass, many shady trees . . . and well over a thousand unseen graves. If you don’t wander into the southeast corner of the park, you might never know it’s also a cemetery.

Pioneer Park was originally Calvary Cemetery. The Catholic cemetery was established in the 1870s, then converted a century later into a Mission Hills community park. According to this article: “All the 800-odd memorial markers were taken away in the 1970s except for a line of tombstones left on the park’s edge. Left as a memorial, they’re still there…” Sadly, the gravestones that had been removed were callously dumped by those then living into a ravine at distant Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Many of San Diego’s earliest residents remain buried under the grass at Pioneer Park. Even after the passage of many years, surviving gravestones show historically important names like Cave Johnson Couts and Father Antonio Ubach. But all of the names are gradually fading away. Time does that.

Six nearby plaques list the names of those who are interred in the park, and it is said there might be many more.

On any given day, life goes on cheerfully above the grass. And beneath it lie the remains of those who once lived, dreamed, toiled and loved exactly like you and me.

Here are some photographs, to provoke thought, and to help preserve a little history…

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Community sculpture at entrance to Escondido.

If you’ve ever entered or departed downtown Escondido via West Valley Parkway, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a large, quite interesting sculpture a short distance east of Interstate 15. The sculpture stands at the intersection of Valley Parkway and Tulip Street, right next to the Gateway Shopping Center.

The cast bronze sculpture is titled Community. It was created by local artist Jeff Lindeneau in 1990.

The sun’s light forms dynamic human shapes that are “cut out” of the two triangular sections of Community.

According to a City of Escondido walking tour brochure: “This bronze, copper and locally mined granite sculpture celebrates people living and building together to achieve a common goal. The dramatic sculpture’s shape is reminiscent of the mountains surrounding Escondido with a central passageway depicting the valley.”

I like how you can see trees, hillsides, signs, buildings, light posts and electrical wires inside the human shapes. They, too, are part of Community.

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!

Beautiful mural in the Arcade Building in La Jolla.

I met the creator of beautiful murals today!

I was walking through La Jolla’s scenic Ellen Browning Scripps Park, gazing at the ocean, when I came upon a friendly artist selling some prints and a decorative surfboard. I soon learned that she is also a muralist, and that she has painted a very colorful mural in La Jolla’s Arcade Building!

So afterward I guided my feet in that direction!

Melanie Sojourner-Truth Atesalp is the artist’s name. Now that I’ve read her bio, I can see why her smile is so deep.

Her unique background and life experiences can be read at her website here. She’s all about imagination and laughter, healing and wisdom. She designed the large mural at the new SDSU Healing Garden and Meditation Space. Right now she’s concentrating on creating graphic novels and writing children’s literature.

If you like the mural you’re about to see, check out her website where there is art you can purchase!

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 rush for Valentine’s Day roses!

It’s Valentine’s Day! Love is in the air! The rush was on this morning to find red roses!

Fortunately, Dave’s Flower Box in North Park had trucks full of them! Their parking lot appeared to be a bustling flower drive-thru!

This beautiful red rose on the nearby sidewalk is for anyone who finds it.

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!

Walking downtown on an ordinary day.

If you wonder why so many Cool San Diego Sights photographs are taken downtown, it’s because that’s where I live! And where I do most of my walking.

Even on an ordinary day, there’s so much activity and so many interesting things to see downtown that my small camera is constantly aiming this way or that.

The first three photos you see here were taken on ordinary days in the past few months. The images have been sitting idle in my computer.

The remaining photos were taken this morning as I walked from Cortez Hill down Seventh Avenue, then meandered a bit through the Gaslamp Quarter.

Looks like the above photo was taken around the holidays–I see a red ribbon. While I love City Pizzeria, I believe I captured this image in front of Valentine’s Mexican Food as I waited for combo number one.

Okay, here come the photos from this morning…

A second photograph that includes pizza in neon! Apparently it’s a word that grabs my attention.

The interesting combination above also caught my eye!

Every walk is different.

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!