June 29, 2016

A Surreality Tour of Atlantic County

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Living around here can be a surreal experience at times, so we decided to photograph a few of our favorite surreal places in the county. Do you live or visit this area? Do you drive by or live near a bizarre building or abandoned lot? Do you want to know more about it? We’d love to hear from you by email, on Twitter or Instagram – we’d be surprised if we couldn’t add more to this list and we’re up for some local research. We’re pretty sure there are some crazy stories behind these crazy places.

  1. The Atlantic City Welcome Center

    It's just so...welcoming.

    Elinor Comlay

    It’s just so…welcoming.

    Built for the bargain-basement price of $3.96 million by The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), it’s smack-bang in the middle of the Atlantic City Expressway. So it kind of has ‘convenient’ going for it, just a shame about the noise. And, like so many million-dollar buildings in the AC area, it has a lot of parking. So that’s good. But, based on our three visits in three months, no one really goes there a whole lot. On the other hand, if you’ve ever wondered where to get one of those DOAC magnetic circles for your car or fridge? This is the place.

  2. Atlantic City Inlet Park

    It's on a road to nowhere.

    It’s on a road to nowhere.

    CRDA spent a mind-boggling $5 million on this park, nearly matched by Atlantic County, which provided an additional $4.2 million “for park improvements including pedestrian and bikeway infrastructure.”  Yeah. That path? It goes to the lighthouse. And that’s pretty much it. Someone did walk through the park while we were there. He said it was useful for cutting the corner. Just maybe not $9.2 million “useful”.

    Don't even ask how much the trash can cost.

    Don’t even ask how much the trash can cost.

  3. The Minor-League Baseball Stadium

    The pumpkin lives there year-round.

    The pumpkin lives there year-round.

    This stadium is now the home of Atlantic Cape Community College’s baseball team, so at least it’s being used. We have no idea about the pumpkin. CRDA has spent more than $11 million pimping this place into its current state.

  4.  Hamilton Racetrack

    Formerly known as the Atlantic City Race Course, the Greenwood Racing-owned 250 acres lies abandoned.

    Formerly known as the Atlantic City Race Course, the Greenwood Racing-owned 250 acres lies abandoned.

    A recent report commissioned by the Atlantic County Improvement Authority estimated that this site – last sold in 2001 for $11 million – could go for a mere $5-6 million now. Any takers? Unlike a whole lot of the county’s property, it has flexible zoning and comes with a liquor license. Oh, and some housing for ghost horses. The owner, Greenwood Racing (Parx Casino), reported past interest from Disney, Six Flags, Magic Sports, Ripken Sports and developers of a water park and hotel. Any of which would be a whole lot better than 250 acres of semi-abandoned land.

    Abandoned stables.

    Abandoned stables.

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