Captain Carl Wants a Parking Lot
Buried in the middle of the Press of AC’s story on why redevelopment of the Trump Plaza is “critical” to the future of Atlantic City, comes an announcement from Nick Talvacchia on plans for the vacant lot that will be created when the casino is torn down.
Nicky T. is serving as attorney for billionaire Carl (“Friend of Donald”) Icahn who wants his $5.6 million back, so he can do site work on his moldering casino. He should get that money, the Press of AC reports, citing “industry watchers” who note that while Captain Carl may be unpopular, knocking down the Plaza is in the best interest of the city.
So what’s Carl going to build on the old Plaza? 160-space parking lot!
I’m told Millennials love parking lots. They love the low-density, pedestrian unfriendly urban moonscapes that represent the cutting edge of city planning, but I still haven’t met a Millennial.
For the record, my count of the industry watchers surveyed: Two were for giving Carl his money. One was against. On the other hand, Carl’s a vindictive billionaire so he can afford to sit on the site and pay lawyers to fight over it forever. He’ll be 82 in February.
Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but there’s already a great big parking structure on Pacific Avenue between Missouri and Mississippi. It was built by Donald Trump and considered “an architectural and urban planning atrocity” even back in 1992 (and that was before Millennials), the inimitable David Cay Johnston wrote . DCJ reported that Trump executive Steven Hyde tried to claim the structure was a work of art and it’s “entire $30 million cost” should be credited to Trump against a “city ordinance requiring investments in public art.” Hyde’s actually pictured in the Press story.
Elsewhere in old-timey urban planning, the reliably uninformed Paul Mulshine at the Star-Ledger ruminated on an impossible proposal to legalize marijuana in Atlantic City for a trial period before taking the initiative statewide. I know a few vape shop guys who would love that. Ditto my high school friends who think Bader Field should be turned into a Phish concert from May to October. But Mulshine’s argument is sort of the inverse. He says “pot tourism” has been a “nightmare” in Colorado, due to the influx of “sketchy characters” drawn to the state.
The situation would be different in A.C., Mulshine posits, because “Gambling already draws sketchy characters.”
“The potheads,” he writes, “would probably be an improvement.”
Full disclosure, I don’t spend a ton of time in casinos, but the last time I was in Resorts I met a busload of retirees from Connecticut who were eating at the Sbarro. I’d say the median age was 70. Being suburbanites, they were horrified at the bits of Atlantic City they’d seen on the walk between the bus station and the food court. Are these the sketchy characters Mulshine’s talking about?
Atlantic City already has loads of drug tourism, but those visitors tend to go in for the harder stuff–heroin, opioids, etc. As Mulshine would know if he read Route 40, the largest needle exchange in New Jersey is on Tennessee Avenue, right in the middle of the–wait for it–Tourism District. “Potheads” might indeed be an upgrade. For one thing, legalization seems to lower the rate of fatal opioid overdoses (see here, here, here). And being a first-responder in A.C. seems to entail a lot of Narcan work. There’s also the violence, incarceration and abuse that follows the illegal drug trade.
I don’t mean to be glib, but seriously what century is this.
‘It’s always on the victim.’
Claire Lowe, Nicole Leonard and Erin Serpico at the Press of AC teamed up for a story on survivors of domestic violence, and you should read it.
Route 40 Original
Check out Scott Yunker’s piece on Gary and Michelle Lubaczewski, who operate the River Road Clam House in Lower Bank. Scott was our intern this summer and edit’s the student paper at Ramapo College. Thank you, Scott, for all your hard work.
In sportsball news, Carson Wentz went down with what looked like a serious knee injury, making that Nick Foles jersey in your closet suddenly feel way more relevant. Longport’s #9 on NJ.com’s list of “smallest towns with their own police department. And there’s a Chuck Close exhibit in Philly.
For the rest of the new’s that’s fit to print, see our Route 40 Roundup: