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Playa del Rey

Palisades Del Rey
Map showing the location of Playa del Rey, Los Angeles.png
Playa del Rey is located in Southern Los Angeles
Playa del Rey
Playa del Rey
Location in Southern Los Angeles
Playa del Rey is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Playa del Rey
Playa del Rey
Location in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Playa del Rey is located in California
Playa del Rey
Playa del Rey
Location in California
Playa del Rey is located in the United States
Playa del Rey
Playa del Rey
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  California
County Los Angeles
City Los Angeles

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.

Geography

Playa del Rey is a coastal neighborhood and a district of City of Los Angeles. The rolling hills are the result of ancient, wind-blown, compacted sand dunes which 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 community is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, Marina del Rey and Ballona Creek to the north, Ballona Wetlands and Playa Vista to the northeast, Westchester to the east, Los Angeles International Airport and El Segundo to the south.

History

Port Ballona, Playa del Rey CA, USGS Topo Map
USGS Topo of Port Ballona and La Ballona Rancho 1896
PlayadelRey-1902
Playa del Rey: Ballona Wetlands and Creek, 1902
PlayadelRey-1907
Beach and Lagoon, 1907

The northern part was originally wetlands, but the natural flooding was halted by the concrete channel which contains 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 Playa Del Rey Lagoon, now a regional public park.

Palisades del Rey (also, 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. 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 is mostly gone. 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. The lifeguard and park services are uniform across the entire twenty-mile stretch of beach.

One danger for beachgoers is the uncontrolled water runoff from the creek, and the occasional overflow from the giant Hyperion treatment plant to the south.

Locals refer to the small area of housing south of Culver Boulevard and closest to the beach as The Jungle, a nickname given to a group of closely built apartments built in 1956, 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 a 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 probably have the best chance of traversing the sidewalks of the beaches north to Santa Monica, and to the South Bay, here at this bridge. Both UCLA and LMU have crew teams that practice on the Ballona Creek channel and Marina del Rey.

Demographics

Breakers on The Shore at Playa del Rey
Beach at Playa del Rey
Playa del Rey jungle
Overlooking the entrance to the marina and Ballona Creek, with the tightly packed area known as The Jungle in the foreground.
Playa del rey lax
The community's proximity to LAX has made airport expansion a controversial issue to residents.

According to data from the Los Angeles Times's "Mapping L.A." project, the area's demography was 72.6% Non-Hispanic White, 7.7% Asian, 3.9% Black, 10.0% Latino and 5.8% of other backgrounds.

94.73% of employed Playa Del Rey residents work in a white collar profession. 65.56% of all residents 25 years of age or older have at least a bachelor's degree, and 39.75% 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.

Economy

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.

Education

Playa del Rey is within the Los Angeles Unified School District. The area is within Board District 4. As of 2009 Steve Zimmer represents the district.

Notable schools in the area include Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets (6–8) and St. Bernard High School is a private Roman Catholic school in the area.

As of 2014, the Wiseburn School District allows parents in Playa del Rey to send their children to Wiseburn schools on inter-district transfers.

Notable people

  • 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
  • Richard Duarte, foley mixer at Fox
  • 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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