Concern regarding Jacobs plan for Balboa Park
I wanted to take a moment and express my concern about the Jacobs plan for Balboa Park. I am opposed to the bypass bridge and parking structure in Balboa Park. I love the park and agree that vehicle traffic should be removed from the park center. I believe there are alternatives that have not been fully considered that would accomplish the same objectives with far less of a negative impact on the integrity of the park. Just because a generous donor is providing money for a project doesn’t mean it should be executed without question.
—Rosemary A. Reed, Poway
I am a native San Diegan. I have enjoyed the pleasure of growing up in a spectacular city. I am so proud not only of the downtown we now have, but the ballpark, our new cleaned up riverwalk, the gaslamp revival and so many wonderful historical features our city offers its citizens and visitors.
Our crowning jewel is Balboa Park. What vision our forefathers had (and foremothers, of course. We have some remarkable ladies in our history). I marvel at the buildings, have photographed them many times [and] taken visitors to see the park. It is larger than New York’s central park, I hear, and yet it feels intimate and welcoming.
Then I took a look at the rendering of the proposed “centennial bridge” and I was stunned… horrified. It reminded me of some mutant with an unnatural arm.
What could the architect who proposed this monstrosity possibly be thinking? Is this anyone who values posterity, history [and] culture? How could you put an appendage onto the Cabrillo Bridge? Are these people San Diegans?
Then I listened and watched as the Commissioner of the Plaza de Panama seemed to fall all over himself in praise and awe of Dr. Jacobs and his money, while at the same time expressing his own reservations and distaste for the centennial bridge. It was disgusting. Those with the money should NOT have all the say in what we do with our precious Balboa Park!
I attended an event at our Museum of Art just last week and thought how wonderful that our current planners are proposing removal of cars in the Plaza. A great idea! It will be beautiful. Yet, the traffic plan is flawed. What would be so much more pleasing is either an underground parking below the Plaza, or parking in close sites with shuttle access and connected roads.
Certainly, Dr. Jacobs does not want his name forever vilified by San Diegans. Certainly he does not want to be associated with an “Onion” Award. Certainly he is a reasonable man and willing to compromise on this. Yet I have heard that there is one plan and one plan to be proposed to the City Council.
Why not a working compromise? Mr. Lewis’s plans seem very reasonable and well thought out.
I suggest we take a little time to rethink this before setting a flawed plan in stone. What would be the difficulty in pushing this decision off for a month or two to come up with a better idea?
San Diegans deserve it.
—Judy Hagar Schons
Many things to do in Leipzig
Ron Stern’s article on Leipzig in your most recent issue was quite right to say “there are many other things to do here” than those he lists [see “Leipzig, Germany,” Vol. 4, Issue 12]. Let me add a few other memories I have of that city and area on a 2000 visit to Germany during the Bach 250th celebrations.
The Thomaskirche’s justly famous Boy’s Choir does not continue during the summer months. Instead, there is an organ evensong service, which I highly recommend. I was there about a week after they had installed a new “Bach organ,” tempered to the Baroque, in the gallery, so I must have been one of the first Americans to hear it. While the regular organ is used during the service, both before and afterwards the organist plays Bach on the Bach organ. Bach’s tomb is before the altar.
In addition, one should visit the Nikolaikirche, for whose music Bach was also responsible. It has a beautiful classical interior, but is more famous as an important resistance site to the government of East Germany. Here the clergy trained people in the techniques of non-violence, using the teachings of Gandhi, Bonhoeffer and King. It was an important part of the Wende, the movement that caused the end of the communist regime.
The Leipzig railroad station is the largest in Europe. It has been renovated with a lot of shops, restaurants, snack bars and even activities for children, and it makes Leipzig a convenient base for side trips to nearby towns. I took the 40-minute train ride to Altenburg to see the palace of the former Dukes of Altenburg and its chapel, built in the 12th century. In was modified in the early 18th century, including a new organ by the organ-builder Tobias Trost, recently restored. Bach played the dedication concert in 1739. At the end of the guided palace tour (in German), the guide pushes a button and a brief selection from one of Bach’s organ works is played, recorded on the organ he inaugurated. His best pupil, Johann Ludwig Krebs, was later court organist there, and the gift shop sells a record of Krebs’s organ works, recorded on that organ.
The other Altenburg site not to be missed is the small Lindenau art museum, whose major draw is the largest collection of early Italian paintings (Botticelli, Fra Angelico etc.) north of the Alps. These were collected by a court official in the 19th century, who also gave [them to] the museum. It also has some good German expressionist paintings and a small collection of Greek black- and red-figure pottery.
Leipzig is a good base for day trips to Saxony, Thuringia and Berlin. Stern is right to call it “one destination that will not disappoint.”
—William A. Koelsch, Bankers Hill