You’ve probably driven or walked by Princeton Antiques Book Shop on Atlantic Ave in Atlantic City. It’s a tall, colorful and eye-catching building with hundreds of books in cases outside. Maybe you’ve even thought about going inside. Apparently, a smattering of locals each week stop in to tell owner Robert Ruffolo just that – that they’ve always wondered what it looks like inside. It is an above-ground catacomb lined with books.
How Seedy is Too Seedy? In public relations, there’s an idea that all publicity is good publicity. A new TV series that will revive an investigation into an Atlantic City cold case – four dead prostitutes found behind a motel on our very own Route 40 – could test that PR adage, New Jersey 101.5 FM reports. Just recently, someone from the county was telling us that “kids these days” like the seedier side of Atlantic City – you know, slumming it is the new killing it – and it’s even a draw to a certain kind of blight-enamored tourist. Is this really a good thing for Atlantic City? Who knows, but I bet more people watch that show than watched the Miss America pageant.
It started out warm and sunny and then it got cold, fast, this week. We went from snapping sunbathing mantises to wrapped-up jetskis. The Atlantic City boardwalk also took a turn for the wintry this week, with the boarding up of the Trump Taj Mahal. Take a look at the pictures.
Perpetual Crisis for Perpetual Salvation The Associated Press says the likely failure of the vote to expand legal gambling to the Meadowlands might, just might, be a “boon” for Atlantic City, whose casinos have failed to save it for forty years. There was a rally yesterday. We attended it. It was a little depressing. I Never Liked this ‘Debate’ The Sporkful podcast this week addresses the long debate over the proper name for pan-fried processed ham slices: Is it porkroll or Taylor Ham?
Everything gets rusty so quickly by the sea – and have you thought about how that affects the bridges you drive over, multiple times a day around here? Yeah, maybe you don’t want to think too long about that. The Gazette of Cape May has a look at a drawbridge that is causing problems for local fisheries and the cost of bridge improvements. There are a couple of interesting local election battles heating up around here. In Northfield, a pair of Republican men are facing challenges from a duo of Democratic women for city council. The challengers are saying that taxes need to be brought under control – while the incumbents focus on Northfield’s schools and city spending.
Someone asked me the other day whether the state will just let Atlantic City get on with things now, since the city somehow on Monday pulled the rabbit out of the hat and produced a recovery plan, as demanded by state officials and ahead of their schedule. Who knows. As Jitney Guy noted on Twitter (see below), it depends in large part on the winds in Trenton, which we know have changed, but you’d need some kind of hyperactive weather vane to have a clue what direction they’re pointing in now. All we know is summed up in this infographic: basically, there are still a few questions. Firstly, as Amy Rosenberg noted on Tuesday, no one knows whether Borgata will come through on its commitment to consider reducing the size of the settlement it is owed from previously overpaid taxes.
This morning, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian and a support team of lawyers are testifying before the Assembly Judiciary Committee in Trenton to try and win support for the city’s recovery plan. The Press of Atlantic City’s Christian Hetrick is providing a rundown on Twitter (@_hetrick) and the deal – which includes agreements on city union contracts, significant cost cuts and no tax increases for five years – seems pretty impressive. The one question hanging over it, as Amy Rosenberg raised in the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday, is the extent to which the city’s biggest taxpayer, the Borgata casino, is on board. The Borgata said yesterday it had no agreement with the city – but the casino is prepared to discuss a reduction of the amount the city owes it in taxes it overpaid in previous years. The Borgata, as the city’s advisors well know, doesn’t really trust Atlantic City after long-running litigation over its taxes, and it is apparently waiting for the state’s ruling on the recovery plan.
The local weather institution that is Dan Skeldon has a piece that (SPOILER!) won’t surprise you by accurately predicting, day-by-day, the winter weather, but you’ll want to read it anyway just so can talk about the weather in an informed kind of way with friends, relations and Wawa cashiers. Skeldon says that other forecasters believe it will be an ‘average’ winter and that maybe the warm ocean temperature could cause more coastal storms and coastal flooding. The No North Jersey Casinos coalition is holding a rally on Thursday – on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. Right now, SNJ Today says polls show that 70 percent of voters are against the idea of gaming in the north of the state. And most people you speak to in AC think it’s just another way to kick South Jersey while it’s down.
The stars seem to be aligning around here, meaning that a whole lot of people with deep pockets as well as some politicians have agreed on something: Atlantic County needs jobs and maybe aviation and technology could be a better bet (sorry) than the casino industry. Leaving aside the fact that it would be hard to do much worse than being a gambling economy centered around closing casinos, aeronautics really does sound like a great future for our youth of today. The Press of Atlantic City looked at this issue last week and New Jersey 101.5 has the details today of a New York-based college that focuses on aeronautics and technology and could open a branch at the Atlantic City International Airport. Every time I read about District 2, I think of the Hunger Games. But democratic hopeful David Cole seems to be thinking of how to beat his big-spending incumbent rival Frank LoBiondo.
The Miss America Organization is getting 1,800 square feet of prime Atlantic City real estate from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority for $1,500 a month, according to CRDA, but the nonprofit pageant says it’s not a done deal. “We are currently in discussions, and there is no further information at this time,” said a spokesperson for the Miss America Organization in an email, after we sent them a copy of a CRDA press release announcing their new office-space arrangement. Miss America Organization currently has office space at The Claridge and it was not immediately clear what would happen to that space. CRDA said the lease, which will start in April, was signed between the organization and Spectra Venue Management, which operates Boardwalk Hall and The Convention Center. When we questioned the price of the lease, they told us that the office space is “not upscale or highly visible and it features no windows.”