Playa del Rey, Los Angeles
Playa del Rey
Palisades Del Rey
Playa del Rey (Spanish for "Beach of the King") is a seaside community in the Santa Monica Bay and the Westside region of Los Angeles, California. It has a ZIP code of 90293 and area codes of 310 and 424. As of 2018, the community had a population of 16,230 people.
Considered part of Silicon Beach, Playa del Rey is a coastal neighborhood and a district of the city of Los Angeles. Its location immediately north of Los Angeles International Airport exposes some residents to air and noise pollution generated at the airport. Over the years, expansions at the airport have forced more than a thousand residents to move and hundreds of houses to be demolished.
The community is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, Marina del Rey and Ballona Creek to the north, the Ballona Wetlands and Playa Vista to the northeast, Westchester to the east, and Los Angeles International Airport and El Segundo to the south.
The city of Los Angeles has three small parks in Playa del Rey: Del Rey Lagoon Park, the .5-acre (2,000 m2) Titmouse Park, and Vista Del Mar Park. Del Rey Lagoon Park, which has an area of about 14 acres (57,000 m2), also has a shallow saltwater swamp-pond known as Del Rey Lagoon. The pond has an area of about 5 acres (20,000 m2), with a maximum depth of about five ft (1.5 m). The lagoon’s depth varies over time of day, as it is partially connected with the Ballona Creek by an underground pipe. The park is bounded by Ballona Creek to the north, Convoy Street to the south, Pacific Avenue to the west, and Esplanade and an apartment complex to the east.
Playa del Rey's rolling hills and depression wetland ponds are the result of ancient, wind-blown, compacted sand dunes that rise up to 125 feet (38 m) above sea level, originally called and often referred to as The Del Rey Hills or "The Bluffs." These dunes run parallel to the coastline, from Playa del Rey, all the way south to Palos Verdes.
The neighborhood has its own street grid.
Lower Playa del Rey was originally wetlands and sand dune soil, but natural flooding was halted by levees made of earthen soil, boulders and reinforced concrete with a soft-bottom submerged soil that promotes both tidal flow in good weather and facilitated the flow of freshwater into the ocean in rainy weather, resulting in a dynamic estuarine river known as Ballona Creek.
In the 1870s, Playa Del Rey was the location of the first attempt at a dredged harbor in Santa Monica Bay. Under contract with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, Moye Wicks' syndicate spent $300,000 to dredge Port Ballona Harbor, for shipping to the Orient. Within three years, winter waves brought flooding, but what remained of man's early efforts became the Del Rey Lagoon, now a municipal public park.
In 1902, buyers interested in land at the new Playa Del Rey development were instructed to travel by streetcar to Alla Station where “tally-hos” awaited them. The new development eventually got its own streetcar stop on the Redondo Beach via Playa del Rey Line beginning from the Ivy Station.
Palisades del Rey was the name of the original 1921 neighborhood land development by Dickinson & Gillespie Co. that later came to be called Playa del Rey. The company advertised this area of sand dunes as the last stretch of coastal land in the city of Los Angeles to be developed. All of the houses in this area were custom built, many as beach homes owned by Hollywood actors and producers, including Cecil B. Demille, Charles Bickford, and others.
Construction in Playa del Rey surged in 1928 with the development of the Del Rey Hills neighborhood in the Eastern part of the community (to the East of Pershing Drive), and the move of Loyola University (now Loyola Marymount University) to the adjacent community of Westchester.
The southern portion of the original Playa del Rey development, which came to be known as Surfridge, is now vacant. Between 1966 and 1975, the houses that were once there were either moved or demolished to facilitate the expansion of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and to address concerns about the noise of increasing jet plane traffic. The noise from the flights made it less desirable to live on the dunes above the ocean under the LAX flight path. The City of Los Angeles condemned the southern section of Playa del Rey under the power of eminent domain and purchased all of the homes.[irrelevant citation] Today, one can see only barbed-wire fences protecting vacant land and old streets where houses once sat. Recent LAX rejuvenation plans call for the city to finally remove the old streets that still line the empty neighborhood. The condemned areas of the community are now a protected habitat of the endangered El Segundo blue butterfly.
Playa del Rey in the 1950s and early 1960s was known as a great Los Angeles area "surfing spot," but due to the many rock jetties that were built to prevent beach erosion, the good surf has mostly disappeared. The beach at the northernmost end of Playa del Rey is still known as Toes Over Beach, Toes Beach, or just "Toes" by the local surfing community, a name derived from the toes-over or hang ten surfing maneuver. Most surfers now flock south of Dockweiler Beach to El Porto (the northernmost part of beach in the city of Manhattan Beach) or north of Marina del Rey to Venice Beach. The lifeguard and park services are uniform across the entire 20-mile (32 km) stretch of beach.
One danger for beachgoers is the uncontrolled water runoff from the creek, and the occasional emergency overflow from the giant Hyperion treatment plant to the south. Under normal conditions, the plant discharges treated water 5 miles (8.0 km) out to sea, but a rarely used one-mile (1.6 km) outflow pipe exists for emergencies or during maintenance. Wastewater discharged from this shorter pipe is close enough to shore to severely impact beach conditions when it is in use.
Locals refer to the small area of housing closest to the beach, where Culver Boulevard joins Vista del Mar, as "The Jungle," a nickname given to a group of closely built 1956 apartments bounded by Trolley Place and Trolleyway Street on its east and west respectively, and including the streets Fowling, Rees, Sunridge and Surf. The small sidewalks between homes had/have deep green overgrowth, which added to the name.
Today, the Pacific Avenue Bridge between Playa Del Rey and the jetty between Ballona Creek and the Marina is accessible to foot traffic and bicycle traffic, but not to automobiles. Bikers, skaters and joggers can cross this bridge to continue north to Santa Monica, and to the South Bay. It is the only pedestrian crossing over Ballona Creek between the ocean and Centinela Avenue, and the Lincoln Boulevard and Marina Freeway bridges both lack sidewalks.
94.7% of employed Playa Del Rey residents work in a white-collar profession. 65.6% of all residents 25 years of age or older have at least a bachelor's degree, and 39.8% of residents have obtained a graduate-level education or more. As of 2021, the median price for a single family home in the 90293 zip code has exceeded $3 million, and the average income is $148,296, which is among the wealthiest in Los Angeles.
As Playa del Rey is located in the heart of the Silicon Beach, the economy has become largely driven by the tech sector. The neighborhood is also home to a large number of airline and aerospace employees, owing to its proximity to LAX. The vast majority of land in Playa del Rey is zoned for residential purposes only. It is known for its large ocean-view estates, but the bulk of the population lives in the eastern portion, which is densely developed with apartment and condominium complexes. Only portions of Manchester Avenue, Pershing Drive and Culver Boulevard have businesses—mainly restaurants and a pharmacy—and offices mixed in with residential buildings.
Government and infrastructure
Playa del Rey lies entirely within the 11th council district of Los Angeles, and is represented on the city council by Mike Bonin.
- Roseanne Barr, actress, comedian, former Presidential candidate
- Charles Bickford, film and TV actor, primarily in the 1940s-1950s
- Mel Blanc, voice actor, comedian, and musician. In the 1940s he resided on Ellen Avenue, now absorbed by LAX.
- Jerry Buss, former owner of the Los Angeles Lakers
- Jamaal Wilkes, UCLA and Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Famer
- Bruce Campbell, actor
- William J. Dodd, architect
- Dave Draper, bodybuilder and television host
- Sam Elliott, actor
- Anthony Michael Hall, actor
- Phil Jackson, former coach of the Los Angeles Lakers
- Anissa Jones, actress
- Noel Jones, bishop
- Laura Karpman, composer
- Jack Kruschen, actor
- Patrick Long, racing driver
- Benny Mardones, singer/songwriter
- William C. deMille, film director
- Sugar Shane Mosley, former World Champion boxer
- Lenda Murray, IFBB professional bodybuilder
- Taylour Paige, dancer and actress
- Tara Reid, actress and pop culture figure
- Dawn Robinson, original member of the group En Vogue
- Carroll Shelby, auto designer
- Carmen Twillie, actress/singer
- Donda West, late mother of hip-hop artist Kanye West
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