Firefighters descend pole outside fire station!

Yesterday I observed two firefighters sliding down a fire pole outside San Diego Fire-Rescue Station 44 in Mira Mesa.

Yes, I said outside!

Strangely, the two rapidly descending firefighters never reached the ground. Why? Because they’re life-size bronze figures and part of an extremely cool sculpture titled Firefighters at 44.

Firefighters at 44 debuted at the new fire station back in 2002. The monumental sculpture was created by artists T.J. Dixon and James Nelson, whose work can be enjoyed all over San Diego.

(You can see more of their amazing sculptures by checking out certain old blog posts. To do that, click 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!

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Mysterious art at Caltrans Otay Station.

Here’s another San Diego mystery to solve! I can find nothing whatsoever about this very unique public art when I search the internet.

A flock of white sculpted seagulls rises at one corner of the parking lot at the Caltrans Otay Landscape Maintenance Station. (A sign at the facility entrance reads Caltrans Otay City Landscape Station.)

This prominent artwork has three different sides and can be observed when driving along Beyer Boulevard near Dairy Mart Road, or when exiting California State Route 905 onto Beyer Boulevard. The flying gulls appear to be individually attached to canvas, plastic or some other flexible stretched material of light blue color.

What is it?

Who created it?

When was it created?

Does the art conceal an antenna (my assumption) or have some other special purpose?

If you happen to know anything that would shed light on this mystery, 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!

Cool murals in the heart of Oceanside!

Cool mural in Oceanside at Bubbles by the Beach by Nicholas Danger.
Cool surfer mural in Oceanside at Bubbles by the Beach, by Nicholas Danger.

During my walk around downtown Oceanside last weekend, I came upon a variety of great murals!

In addition to the artwork of Artist Alley, which I shared here, I found these cool murals painted on buildings within a block or two of the Oceanside Civic Center.

Because my walk was somewhat random, I probably missed other murals in the heart of Oceanside. If I did, perhaps I’ll spot them on a future adventure!

Large mural behind building at Pier View Way and North Coast Highway depicts Oceanside attractions as postcards.
Large mural behind building at Pier View Way and North Coast Highway depicts Oceanside attractions as postcards.
Oceanside Harbor and a surfboard.
Oceanside Harbor and a surfboard.
Mission San Luis Rey and a windsurfer.
Mission San Luis Rey and a windsurfer.
Oceanside Pier and a beach ball, blanket and umbrella. Wish you were here!
Oceanside Pier and a beach ball, blanket and umbrella. Wish you were here!
Mural painted at Johnny Mananas on Mission Avenue features tropical flowers and birds.
Mural painted at Johnny Mananas on Mission Avenue features tropical flowers and birds.
More of the very colorful tropical mural.
More of the very colorful tropical mural.
The beauty of Oceanside enhanced by a cool mural.
The beauty of Oceanside enhanced by a cool mural.
Large colorful mural on Civic Center Drive at the Star Theatre.
Large colorful mural on Civic Center Drive at the Star Theatre.
The beauty of the sea will always be with me. By artist Skye Walker.
The beauty of the sea will always be with me. By artist Skye Walker.

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!

The forgotten public art of a famous artist.

I received a comment this weekend on a past blog post that concerns public art at San Ysidro Park. The Tree of Life is a tile mosaic planter and bench near the center San Ysidro Park, created by internationally renowned artist Victor Ochoa (with the help of some kids, I believe). I posted photos here, where you can also read the comment.

I was informed that a second Tree of Life by Victor Ochoa can be found at Howard Lane Park off Dairy Mart Road, and that the City of San Diego lists neither works on its civic art collection website here.

The reader commented the tree planted in this second Tree of Life planter is dead. Which is quite sad, seeing how Victor Ochoa is an artist who is celebrated around the world, particularly for his murals in historic Chicano Park.

Today I decided to go down to Howard Lane Neighborhood Park in the northwest corner of San Ysidro to check it out.

This is what I discovered…

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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New mural by Carly Ealey debuts!

A wonderful, very colorful new mural by San Diego artist Carly Ealey debuted today in downtown’s East Village! I just happened to walk up early this evening as the mural was officially unveiled!

Carly Ealey is a popular local muralist whose work can be seen all over the city. And you can see why! This new mural, at the corner of Ninth Avenue and G Street, is sure to bring many smiles to those who pass by.

I briefly met Carly and her model Dot, who were busy with the mural’s debut event and very nice to pose for the final photograph.

San Diego is so alive!

San Diego artist Carly Ealey poses with her smiling model Dot in front of East Village’s newest mural at Ninth Avenue and G Street.

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!

Huge owl spotted in University Heights!

A huge owl has been spotted perched on a building in University Heights. Drive down El Cajon Boulevard just west of Texas Street and there’s a good chance you’ll spot it, too. The mysterious owl seems to have merged with a flowering tree!

This cool mural was painted by San Diego muralist Gloria Muriel. Her unique style is unmistakable!

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!

Solve a riddle at the Alvarado trolley station!

Ready to solve a San Diego riddle?

Put on your thinking cap!

At the Alvarado Station of the San Diego Trolley, a long riddle appears near the top of the wall that separates this Green Line station from Interstate 8. The very clever public art was created by Roman De Salvo in 2005. The first part of the riddle is now partially obscured by plant growth, but I’ve been able to ascertain the exact words.

Can you solve the mysterious riddle? After racking my brain and coming reasonably close, I checked out the nearby Braille answer! (And learned a little about Braille in the process.)

Leave your guess as a comment, and I’ll let you know how close you are!

(Hint #1: If you can’t make out the words in my photographs, that’s unimportant. I’ve transcribed the words for you. Hint #2: If you’re unfamiliar with this part of San Diego, it helps to look at a map.)

ARTERIES VEINS AND CAPILLARIES FOR AUTOS RAIN AND CATENARIES ALL THREE LINES ARE SIDE BY SIDE ABOVE BELOW AND STRATIFIED ONE IS NUMBERED LESS THAN NINE ANOTHER WAS HERE AT THE DAWN OF TIME THE LAST WILL BE HERE AFTER A WAIT OR RIGHT AWAY IF YOU’RE NOT TOO LATE LOOK AROUND TO SOLVE THIS RIDDLE NAME ALL THREE TOP BOTTOM AND MIDDLE IF BEWILDERED FEEL THE HANDRAIL THE ANSWER THERE IS WRIT IN BRAILLE

The above sign on the waiting platform contains a little information about the Alvarado Medical Center Station’s unique riddle:

…Each word in the riddle is inscribed on individual stone tiles. The words form a pattern along the top of the south wall visually reinforcing the rhythm of the words. In classical frieze tradition, the reader is encouraged to walk along the station platform form one end to the other…

(If these photos seem a little unnatural, I’ve increased the contrast and darkened them slightly so one can make out the words.)

Did you figure 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!

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!

Monument to a White Deer in Presidio Park.

A little known monument stands in a remote corner of San Diego’s Presidio Park. It remembers a white deer that once lived there.

From an article in the PRESIDIO PARK RANGER REPORT, QUARTERLY: SEPTEMBER 2006-NOVEMBER 2006…

WHITE DEER

This female white fallow deer roamed the hills of Mission Valley, Mission Hills, and Presidio Park. This doe escaped from the San Diego Zoo around 1965 and wandered free in Presidio Park for the next ten years.

The deer was spotted attempting to cross the I-8 freeway, and some locals reported seeing the deer get hit by a vehicle. Tragically, in the effort to catch the deer, Animal Control used a tranquilizer dart, which ultimately led to the deer’s death in December, 1975.

This treasured deer had been something of a community mascot. This incident led to an outpouring of community grief.

As a result, a citizen’s committee was formed to promote a suitable memorial for the gravesite. In 1976, a monument was placed at the top of the hill at Inspiration Point for the most cherished White deer named “Lucy”. A free standing monument of three native stones designed by San Diego Artist Charles Faust, sits on the hill top for all to remember the White Deer.

Margaret Price (1911-) a local artist involved in converting Spanish Village in Balboa Park to an artists enclave, truly worked diligently to establish the monument for the White deer. Many community members wrote to Price, hoping to have their poem or saying put onto the monument.

A bronze plaque beside the three standing stones reads: Bliss in solitude beneath this tree, formless, silent, spirit free. A Friend

About to head up the hill from the small Inspiration Point parking lot.
About to head up the hill from the small Inspiration Point parking lot.
Heading up under shady trees.
Heading up under shady trees.
Approaching a park bench, and three vertical stones near it.
Approaching a park bench, and three vertical stones near it.
Public art in Presidio Park remembers a White Dear named Lucy that escaped from the San Diego Zoo.
Public art in Presidio Park remembers a White Dear named Lucy that escaped from the San Diego Zoo.
A monument atop a green hill honors natural things.
A monument atop a green hill honors natural things.
Deer tracks approach the sculpted water hole, among the tracks of other wild animals.
Deer tracks approach the sculpted water hole, among the tracks of other wild animals.
A plaque is nearby.
A plaque is nearby.
The white deer of Mission Hills. Bliss in solitude beneath this tree, formless, silent, spirit free. A friend
The white deer of Mission Hills. Bliss in solitude beneath this tree, formless, silent, spirit free. A friend
Monument to a White Deer in San Diego's Presidio Park.
Monument to a White Deer in San Diego’s Presidio Park.

To see this simple but very beautiful monument, turn up the steep driveway off Taylor Street, just east of Presidio Park’s main entrance. The driveway leads to the Inspiration Point parking lot.

Then walk up the nearby hill.

This monument is very close to some homes in Mission Hills, so be quiet and respectful.

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Contemporary art sculptures at UTC mall.

I stopped by the UTC mall in University City last Saturday on my way from downtown San Diego to North County.

Laugh if you want, but it’s probably thirty or forty years since I last took a leisurely stroll around what used to be called University Towne Center. (When I was a young man, a friend and I would visit the arcade above the ice skating rink and play pinball, Defender, Galaga, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede…)

Over the past ten years, Westfield UTC has been renovated and enlarged. Today it’s not just a popular outdoor mall, but a major entertainment destination. (And before long the Mid-Coast Trolley extension, the construction of which appears to be making great progress, will terminate at the UTC Transit Center.)

As I wandered randomly about the mall last weekend, I noticed a number of very interesting sculptures along a stretch of its perimeter. Out came my camera. I read on some plaques that the three Beverly Pepper sculptures belong to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

After I got home and did a little research, I found out I’d missed other sculptures scattered throughout the mall. Perhaps I’ll have to make another visit in the future!

Here’s what I saw:

Three Graces (Madam in Bloom, Madam Elegance, Madam Beauty), Yuriy Akopov, 2016/2017…

Octo, Anthony Howe, 2015…

The First Amphitheater, Beverly Pepper, 1965…

West Coast School, Laddie John Dill, 2017…

Severio Column, Beverly Pepper, 1978…

Zeus Triad, Beverly Pepper, 1997-1999…

Radix, Joshua Koffman, 2017…

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 walk through Maple Street Plaza in Escondido.

Looking toward the Escondido Civic Center from the north end of Maple Street Plaza.
Looking toward the Escondido Civic Center from the north end of Maple Street Plaza.

After my weekend visit to the Museum at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, I walked south to check out Maple Street Plaza. This “festival plaza” joins the area around the Escondido Civic Center to the historic old business district along Grand Avenue.

On a Sunday afternoon the place was surprisingly empty. When I reached the plaza’s south end, I noticed that Grand Avenue, which appeared to have many vacant old storefronts, was similarly quiet.

Maple Street Plaza, built in 2012, struck me as a very handsome place, but in need of more life. There are beautiful benches, tables and seats, trees and an interactive fountain, which was off. If I had wanted to purchase a sandwich or ice cream or cup of coffee to enjoy in the plaza, I didn’t see any obvious place nearby where I might go. Perhaps I missed something.

Set in the paver blocks at my feet I discovered interesting brief descriptions of Escondido and its history.

A beautiful blue mosaic tile bench curls like a river of water in Maple Street Plaza.
A very beautiful blue mosaic tile bench curls like a river of water in Maple Street Plaza.

Another look at the sculpture that serves as a bench. You can see a fountain (that was off) beyond it, and the oak tree at the center of the plaza in the distance.
Another look at the sculpture that serves as a bench. You can see a fountain (that was off) beyond it, and the oak tree at the center of the plaza in the distance.

A 100 foot flagpole was in the middle of the street at Grand and Broadway from 1927-1944...
A 100 foot flagpole was in the middle of the street at Grand and Broadway from 1927-1944…

Excerpt from 1887 article in Escondido Times extols the virtues of the Vale of Valleys.
Excerpt from 1887 article in Escondido Times extols the virtues of the Vale of Valleys.

Escondido Creek begins above Lake Wohlford and flows to San Elijo Lagoon.
Escondido Creek begins above Lake Wohlford and flows more than 26 miles to San Elijo Lagoon.

Escondido was established as a dry town even though vineyards were plentiful.
Escondido was established as a dry town even though vineyards were plentiful.

More attractive places to sit in Maple Street Plaza.
More attractive places to sit in Maple Street Plaza.

A fine setting in Escondido on a sunny, quiet Sunday.
A fine setting in Escondido on a sunny, very quiet Sunday.

Escondido is often referred to as the Hidden Valley.
Escondido, which means “hidden” in Spanish, is often referred to as the Hidden Valley.

Standing by an oak tree at the center of Maple Street Plaza looking north.
Standing by an oak tree at the center of Maple Street Plaza looking north.

One of two interesting tables I spotted near the south end of the plaza. A cool abstract design unites the tabletop and seat.
One of two interesting tables I spotted near the south end of the plaza. A cool abstract design unites the tabletop and seat. (The other nearby table was occupied by someone who appeared to be homeless.)

Sidewalks were installed on Grand Avenue in 1905 and the street was paved in 1912.
Sidewalks were installed on Grand Avenue in 1905 and the street was paved in 1912.

A bench at the south end of Maple Street Plaza on Grand Avenue.
A bench near the south end of Maple Street Plaza on Grand Avenue.

Plaque on the bench indicates it's For the Citizens of Escondido. Escondido East Rotary.
Plaque on the bench indicates it’s For the Citizens of Escondido. Escondido East Rotary.

Landmark sign arches above the south end of Maple Street Plaza in Escondido.
A welcoming gateway sign arches above the south end of Maple Street Plaza in downtown Escondido.

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!