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Playa del Rey (Spanish for “Beach of the King” or “King’s beach”) is a community in Los Angeles. It is the section of beachfront just south of the Ballona Wetlands and Ballona Creek and Marina del Rey; thus, the beach population is divided here. This makes Playa del Rey an enclave and keeps the crowds a little smaller, virtually “dredged-off” from Marina del Rey. 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, within the bounding streets Trolley Place and Tolleyway Street on its east and west respectively, and including the streets Fowling, Rees, Sunridge and Surf. A clip in the opening sequence of one version of Gilligan’s Island shows the S.S. Minnow powering out the marina channel that divides Marina del Rey from Playa del Rey.
Playa del Rey in the 1970s 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 northermost 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. The northern part of Playa was originally wetlands, but the natural flooding has been halted by the concrete channel which contains Ballona Creek. 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.
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