‘Put your make up on, fix your hair up pretty, and meet me tonight in Atlantic City’

Welcome to Atlantic city

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.

View of Atlantic City from Brigantine

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.

.Summer weekend in Atlantic City

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.

Hard Rock Atlantic city

The new Hard Rock Hotel and Casino opened in June.

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.

Atlantic City boardwalk

Boardwalk pushcart, Atlantic City

The Atlantic City rolling chair, originally introduced on the boardwalk in the 1880’s

Steel Pier, Atlantic City

Steel Pier

Steel Pier 2018

1913 Steel Pier

Steel Pier, 1913

Atlantic City helicopter

Helicopter tour taking off from Steel Pier

Fralingers Salt Water Taffy

Joseph Fralinger began selling salt water taffy at his boardwalk stand in 1884.

Bankrupt Trump hotel

All that’s left of Trump is the M and the P.

Home of the Miss America pageant

Boardwalk Hall, built in 1926, began hosting the Miss America pageant in 1940

Ripley's believe it or not

New Jersey Korean War Memorial

New Jersey Korean War Memorial

And some not-so-classic Atlantic City


Atlantic City sunset

Back bay sunset


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12 Responses to ‘Put your make up on, fix your hair up pretty, and meet me tonight in Atlantic City’

  1. You’re so right … as long as there’s an ocean …

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Looks like Atlantic City has its own lure.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Donna Janke says:

    It’s interesting to hear about the ups and down of Atlantic City. I’ve never been and hadn’t realized it had such a long resort history. I also didn’t know the connection to the Monopoly game. Ocean and sandy beach are always a good attraction.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. An American icon city, for sure. Enjoyed a stroll down the boardwalk with you, Ken.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. sportsdiva64 says:

    Good post. I was in Atlantic City from July 23-26 of this year and it was my first visit in 4 years. It has changed. The Hard Rock Hotel in Atlantic City puts the one in Las Vegas to shame . It’s so wicked beautiful . I did several posts on it for my blog. I’d like to go back again to AC.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. What lure! You knew many ladies would be taken in. Hahaha haha! You had better be careful, you may end up with a string of women on your arm! The photos are also captivating. And the song–tops! It is indicated that video is not available. )-:

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Two nights ago I had dinner with a friend. He told me that he recently had walked three miles on the AC boardwalk. For some reason I’ve been to the Jersey shore only a handful of times in my adult life, even though I don’t live terribly far away. Your article, and my friend’s stories about AC, make me want to pay a visit.

    Neil S.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. pjlazos says:

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane, Ken. Not my favorite of the Jersey shore towns, but still a fun place. I think the casinos missed an opportunity to revitalize and historically preserve a lot of the actual city as opposed to just focusing on the boardwalk, but hey, that’s capitalism, right?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’ve never visited Atlantic City, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the spectacle of it all at least once.

    Liked by 2 people

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