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Manhattan Beach: a city for kings

Shades boutique hotel in Manhattan Beach had one of the larger congratulatory signs already displayed the day after the Kings' Stanley Cup win on Friday, the 13th of June, 2014.
Shades boutique hotel in Manhattan Beach had one of the larger congratulatory signs already displayed the day after the Kings' Stanley Cup win on Friday, the 13th of June, 2014.copyright 2014 Lori J Bjork

It could be 7 a.m. on just about every morning in Manhattan Beach (MB), Calif.; and it would be a perfect morning for a walk on the cement walkway (which runs parallel with the almost four miles of MB Pacific Ocean beach front) also known as "The Strand." Manhattan Beach is one of a dozen or so cities in Los Angeles (L.A.) county known as the South Bay of L.A.

One of the many GKG banners displayed in Manhattan Beach
One of the many GKG banners displayed in Manhattan Beachcopyright 2014 lori j bjork

Most days you would never guess that Manhattan Beach is a city with a population of just under 36,000 (as of 2012). That is how sparsely peppered with people the Strand is at 7 a.m. At that time it is fairly easy to find a parking spot somewhere close to Manhattan Beach Blvd., which is a great place to start your walk for the simple reason it is a great place to finish.

The five or so blocks of Manhattan Beach Blvd closest to the Strand offer a wide variety of places to stop and get your coffee or tea fix for the morning after an invigorating 5K walk. Your examiner "clocked" it. From the parking structure on North Morningside Drive down Manhattan Beach Blvd turning right onto the Strand, walking all the way to the post at El Porto, rounding it and returning is about 3.2 miles. A 5k is 3.1 miles.

On one such walk something new in Manhattan Beach was sighted by your examiner. Whether you are a hockey fan or not, the huge "Go Kings Go!" banner hanging from the Skechers (their headquarters is M.B.) building on Manhattan Beach Blvd was a little hard to miss. Maybe L.A. Kings' banners and/or their players have been hanging around Manhattan Beach for years. It's an interesting phenomenon (at least to this examiner) that you notice what you notice when you notice it.

Later while sipping coffee a conversation was overheard about an article that was in THE New York Times. The gentlemen talking about the article seemed to be impressed that their hometown of Manhattan Beach had made it into the New York City zeitgeist via this article. With the publishing of the article, "Kings Work on Ice, but Most Live on the Beach" by John Branch, these gentlemen were further impressed wondering if somehow this press might further increase their already impressive property values.

They talked a little more about the article and their Kings' neighbors, confirming the article's information that many of the Kings' players live in Manhattan Beach. The Times article quotes M.B.'s mayor, Amy Howorth,

"They're out and about -- at restaurants, in our shops, our salons, they're at our schools. They're very approachable, and people respond to that. It's like a small town pulling for the high-school team."

As Friday, the 13th of June, 2014 game 5 at Staples Center approached, it was clear Manhattan Beach (at least merchants on and close to Manhattan Beach Blvd.) had Kings' fever in spades. Just about every establishment displayed some sort of "Go Kings Go!" (GKG) sign. The roundhouse on the M.B. Pier sported three of them on its roof.

Saturday, the 14th after a monumental double overtime skirmish ultimately finding the Kings victorious, found a sprinkling of congratulatory signs sprinkled around downtown.

At some point the banners and signs will come down, especially with all the World Cup fever at the ready to dethrone the Kings' significance in the collective consciousness. However, as long as the Kings continue to practice at the Toyota Sports Center located in M.B.'s neighbor city to the north, El Segundo, chances are the possibility of sightseeing a "King" in Manhattan Beach will be present for some time to come.

To view more photos of Manhattan Beach venues displaying GKG signs, please click here for your examiner's photography tumblr presence.