Atlantic City is one of America’s oldest and grandest resorts. As far back as 1874, some 500,000 people were taking the train from Philadelphia and New York to take a stroll on America’s first boardwalk.
Tourism peaked in the early decades of the 20th century. Shortly after the turn of the century, Atlantic City experienced a building boom with numerous large beachside hotels being erected. The 1920’s was the heyday for tourism, especially amongst those who sought to find their way around Prohibition. Since then the city’s fortunes have waxed and waned.
By the 50’s and 60’s the city was in decline. As more and more Americans took to the road in their family automobiles and airline travel grew in popularity, more travel and vacation options became available. At the same time Atlantic City was suffering from the crime and poverty that plagued many east coast cities at the time.
In 1976 New Jersey decided that gambling was the answer to reviving the city’s tourism industry. The first casino opened in 1978 and several more followed. At the time, casino options for Americans were Las Vegas or Atlantic City.
But by the 2000’s, casinos opened in metro New York and Philadelphia as well as Connecticut. Those were the areas where most of Atlantic City’s visitors came from. Tourism declined, as did casino revenues and local employment. This decline reached its peak in 2014 when five of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos closed. At the time Politico headlined a story about Atlantic City “Detroit with a Boardwalk.”
But it turns out the doomsayers may have spoken too soon. A.C. is anything but the ghost town some predicted, as evidenced by the photo below taken two weekends ago.
While you can build a casino just about anywhere, what you are never going to have in Yonkers or Wilkes-Barre or Mashantucket, Conn., is the ocean and the beautiful sandy beach. And on top of that, two new casinos opened in Atlantic City this year, revenues are up and Stockton University just built on Oceanside campus that opens this fall.
If you’ve played monopoly, you know the names of many of the streets in Atlantic City since the popular board game, which was first marketed in 1935, was based on the Jersey resort. And you will also know what the most valuable property is. Here’s a virtual tour of the Atlantic City boardwalk.
And some not-so-classic Atlantic City