Colin Bell, the candidate for the Second Legislative District in the New Jersey State Senate, stood by himself on the stage last night at what was supposed to be a debate at Dante Hall in Atlantic City, after his opponent, Chris Brown, cancelled yesterday morning.
The Dorset Avenue Wawa: Good luck navigating that parking lot, but it was an institution, so when rumors of its impending closure began trickling out on social media a month or so ago, cold fear ran with them.
From the steps of Patricia Harper’s Bungalow Park duplex you can look across the street through the gap in the houses and count three former casinos—the Revel, the Showboat, the Trump Taj Mahal—that were worth, not so long ago, well over $3 billion in total.
The great Trump Taj Mahal liquidation sale opened to the public at 10:00 a.m. on July 6, about eight months after the casino closed and 167 days after Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the president of the United States. History was very much the subtext of the Taj Mahal fire sale, which offered customers a chance at a piece of the Donald, recently assured of his own place in history. But since mid-February, the surname of the president has been scrubbed from the property under the terms of a deal between Donald and his friend and economic adviser, Carl Icahn, who until recently controlled the property. There were no TRUMP-branded artifacts for sale at the Taj.
Atlantic City’s Garden Pier, purchased earlier this year by Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein, will be reopening next month as a locals-focused entertainment venue with live music and a bar area. In the shadow of the still-shuttered mega-casino Revel and not far from Blatstein’s Showboat hotel, the newly renamed PierAC plans to draw Atlantic County residents with a reward-card program and drink specials – plus entertainment.
There were more than a hundred people gathered in Brown Park on Saturday for a double dutch competition. While kids swarmed the park’s brand-new play equipment, their parents gathered around swishing jump ropes. More than the official ribbon-cutting two weeks ago, this event marked the rebirth of a park that had become synonymous with so many of Atlantic City’s problems.
After a $1.5 million renovation, the park reopened last month and it is now being used by families. Many of the parents in the park on Saturday never played there themselves – Brown Park had that kind of a reputation for over three decades. “We’re 35 years old – no one ever played in Brown’s Park, because of the infestation of drugs and alcohol and violence,” said Indra Owens, co-founder of a girls’ mentoring group called Princess Inc. When Owens and her Princess Inc co-founder Automne Bennett learned the park was being renovated, they got together with managers of the nearby housing developments.
Nineteen teams had registered for the first annual “Past, Present and Future” flag-football tournament and fundraiser for longtime Holy Spirit High School football coach Bill Walsh Saturday—213 players, according to the organizers. It was an unseasonably cold May morning, though the wind (excessive) was pretty standard for May in South Jersey. The fundraiser was held to raise money to cover medical expenses and general life expenses for Walsh, who was recently diagnosed with ALS. There were teams of current Holy Spirit players and former Holy Spirit players. The Pleasantville Greyhounds fielded a team.
May 27: That’s the date the state’s designated overseer can start dissolving and “monetizing” Atlantic City’s water system by leasing it or selling it outright to a private corporation. In a speech in April, the executive director of the system, Bruce Ward, who is trying to keep the Municipal Utilities Authority under city control, talked about his hometown (he was born in Stanley Holmes Village) and the many assets he has seen slip away during his lifetime. Above Convention Hall, etched into the stone, was a declaration: The building was conceived as a “permanent monument” to the “ideals of Atlantic City—built by its citizens.” “But we don’t own it anymore,” Ward said. “The state does.” Ditto the city’s parking authority, airport, etc., and so on down the line. Water is the last asset the city has control over and the state’s circling that too.