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Palisades del Rey (Surfridge ghost town)
March 29, 2014 12:59 PM   Subscribe


 
People have long gone from what was once a beachfront paradise, however the lamp posts in the empty streets still light up every night.

I wonder what the reason is behind that, it seems completely unncessary and wasteful.
posted by indubitable at 1:03 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


A conflict between home owners and industry, where nature wins in the end. That's a story you don't see every day.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:25 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


"...out of fear that somebody could come in with a rocket launcher...."

That is seriously some epic-fantasy security-theater nonsense.
posted by mhoye at 1:30 PM on March 29 [6 favorites]


Considering how many housing developments seem to name their streets after the plants and animals they've displaced and whose habitat they've destroyed (for example, Mission Blue Drive in Brisbane, CA, and pretty much all of Suisun City), I love that endangered butterflies are taking over this abandoned place.
posted by rtha at 1:37 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


I would love to see a stampede of 125,000 butterflies.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:43 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


It is right under the usual takeoff flight path for LAX. I never knew it by the name "Surfridge." It was always just Playa Del Rey or Vista del Mar. But it was all condemned for the sake of LAX, as I remember.

Before it got fenced off, we used to sit there, when the wind was blowing the opposite way it usually blows, and smoke pot and see the planes come in, right at us. At some point they would turn on their landing lights, right in front of us. What a rush!
posted by Danf at 1:45 PM on March 29 [8 favorites]


Considering how many housing developments seem to name their streets after the plants and animals they've displaced and whose habitat they've destroyed

"Suburbs are places where they cut down the trees and name the streets after them."
posted by spiderskull at 2:03 PM on March 29 [5 favorites]


This neighborhood has popped up on Ask Metafilter previously: 2006, 2013.
posted by Johnny Assay at 2:34 PM on March 29



I wonder what the reason is behind that, it seems completely unncessary and wasteful.

Read the links. LAX.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:02 PM on March 29


What does LAX have to do with keeping old street lamps lit in a deserted housing tract?
posted by notyou at 3:48 PM on March 29


I've never seen the street lights lit inside the fenced area. I just believe they were never taken down.
posted by chimaera at 4:15 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


That is seriously some epic-fantasy security-theater nonsense.

When you hand out stinger missiles like candy to the Taliban in the 1980s you tend to wonder how many of them are still around
posted by Dr. Twist at 5:07 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Bombs and butterflies: One of the Regal Fritillary's only remaining habitats on the East Coast is in the middle of a National Guard training center. Butterfly tours are available for a few days in July.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:52 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Last year, the California Coastal Commission approved a plan under which LAX "remove abandoned streets, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, retaining walls, foundations and above-ground utilities from ... an approximately four-acre area. Airport crews would also repair curbs and gutters along Vista del Mar, and replace non-native, invasive plants with approximately six acres of native coastal dune and coastal prairie vegetation." See also.

I wonder what the reason is behind that, it seems completely unncessary and wasteful.

Well, most likely what happened was that the process of buying up the neighborhood was so piecemeal that there were holdouts among an increasingly empty plat of LAX-owned property, so the public services were maintained. There may have been other legal encumbrances that needed to be overcome as well. In any case, they're now going to be removing that. It's quite possible that the existence of paved streets meant that lighting was maintained for safety and/or security purposes (after all even public parks have various levels of lighting). Removing the streetlights was only economical when the entire infrastructure was to be removed.

I've never seen the street lights lit inside the fenced area.

It looks like several blog posts simply reproduced a line from Wikipedia that the lights were still working as of, get this, 2006.
posted by dhartung at 10:22 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


White flight gave way to jet flight. And insect flight!
posted by surplus at 5:04 AM on March 30


Severely lacking in butterfly pictures.
posted by maryr at 7:58 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Atlas Obscura article with loads of butterfly pics here.
posted by pernoctalian at 9:55 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Fascinating! I've poked around this area several times on Google Maps, and always wondered about the full story but not really dug into it. Except for LAX next door, it looked like prime real estate, and seeing the dilapidated street layouts really gave hints at the story.

The "whites only" aspect was not something that I would have guessed, but at least it makes it a little less sad to see the empty streets. A little bit of native beach habitat untouched by humans for decades, right in the middle of LA's sprawl, is a great treasure.
posted by Llama-Lime at 3:30 PM on March 30


Home exteriors were required to be brick, stone or stucco — no frame structures allowed. And no one "not entirely that of the Caucasian race," according to the development's deed restrictions "except such as are in the employ of the resident owners."

So, karma, eh?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:46 AM on March 31


Until about two months ago I lived at the edge of this space, just off of Trolleyway on the beach in Playa Del Rey. We grew masses of the coast buckwheat that serves as food and safe harbor to the blues. In all the years we lived there, I spotted perhaps five or six blues--they're very small and not as easy to spot against the area's perpetually blue sky as larger, flashier butterflies like the monarchs that throng to any available milkweed. You're better off walking up to one of the huge murals in the area for a good view of them.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 11:49 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


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