Playa Del Ray
Located in southwest Los Angeles, Playa del Rey is just to the north of Los Angeles International Airport. It is bordered to the north by the Marina del Rey community, to the east by Westchester and to the south and east by El Segundo. Appropriately named for its beautiful golden sandy beaches, Playa del Rey means “Beach of the King”. The neighborhood is in a “P” shape around the airport perimeter with the lengthy Vista del Mar bordering thePacific Ocean.
In the 1870s,the undeveloped Ballona Wetlands were intended to be the first dredged harbor in Santa Monica Bay until winter storms washed away the initial efforts. In 1921, the land was developed by Dickinson and Gillespie and Co. and was originally known as Palisades del Rey, later becoming Playa del Rey. The rolling hills were formed by compacted sand dunes. Known as “The Bluffs” these natural wind-blown formations stand up to 125 feet high. Custom-built homes sprang up for Hollywood actors and producers including Cecil B. DeMille and Charles Bickford and construction boomed as the Del Rey Hills district east of Pershing Drive was developed. Loyola Marymount University moved into Westchester and homes in the southern Surfridge area were moved or demolished to make way for the expanding airport in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Most of Playa del Rey is residential with some restaurants and offices along stretches of Manchester Blvd, Pershing Drive and Culver Blvd. The area south of Culver Blvd near the beach is known as “The Jungle” and is an area of dense 1950s apartment housing. The northernmost boundary of Playa del Rey is separated from Marina del Rey by the Ballona Creek and a pleasant recreational cycle path runs beside the natural waterway.
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