I grew up not far from the original Ventnor. It’s also on an island. Unlike Absecon Island, the Isle of Wight has gravely beaches and cliffs and winding roads. The weather isn’t reliable. It’s a 22-minute catamaran ride to Portsmouth on the mainland. It was the punchline to a lot of jokes where I lived.
Bill’s Gyros, a Boardwalk fixture in Atlantic City, has been closed a lot this winter. There was a sign on the door that said go to My Friend Diner, another block north along the boardwalk. Sometimes, even My Friend Diner was closed. The blue-fronted gyro spot claimed it “never closed”. But people were asking about it, worried about Bill.
“Hey!” he says. “Come and take a picture of me!” He is waving a gold microphone from his seat behind the wheel of a hospitality van. He’s stopped at a traffic light on Pacific Ave behind the looming Revel.
A lot of shore towns have beach concerts, movies on the beach and bonfires. Street fairs are pretty common too. What’s more unusual? Finding dozens of homeowners willing to host parties, all on one day and on their porch. And making it happen.
William K. Cheatham attends most of the meetings of the City Council of Atlantic City. He attends the board meetings of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. He is president of the Board of Trustees of the Atlantic City Free Public Library, a member of the Shade Tree Committee and an alternate on the board of the Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority. He was active in the First Ward Civic Association and was a regular at the meetings of the city Taxpayers Association (which reviewed the municipal budget) but those organizations no longer assemble on a regular basis. He’s a former member of the county construction board.
Heather Deegan Hires stands under some industrial lighting and looks from her phone to the wall in front of her and back to the phone again. She’s trying to show me her vision for transforming the sterile space with graying baby-blue walls and institutional floor tiles into a topsy-turvy wonderland. She first saw the room a couple of weeks ago and, at this point, she has just over a week before it will become one of the installations at Atlantic City’s third ARTeriors project.
“The whole theme of our room is an upside down, sort of Alice in Wonderland, but a dark version of it,” said Deegan Hires (@bodypaintingbyheather). “So we still – we have a lot of work to do.”
It’s more than 100 days since the Great Atlantic City Takeover began, and Jeffrey Chiesa does not have an adequate nickname. Officially, he is the “Designee of the Director of Local Government Services” but, you know, they create these strings of gobbledygook on purpose. So you won’t be able to talk about them. I’m proposing “Boardwalk Emperor” as an alternative. The Boardwalk Emperor, Jeffrey Chiesa, has not been spotted publicly in Atlantic City since November, but we have a clearer picture of his majesty’s ambitions here, in our Queen of Resorts, courtesy of his attorney Ronald Israel who casually revealed some of the details before a Superior Court Judge on Tuesday.
McKinnon Erario takes amazing pictures (here and here). A lot of them are of cars, the Pinelands and abandoned buildings. But a couple of weeks ago he started something different, using the hashtag #SaveMomandPop on a picture of Nixon’s General Store. Since then, he’s visited a few more independent food spots. The mission?
For a guerilla artist, this one is polite and well-mannered. We received an anonymous phone call at 9.30am on Monday from Atlantic City’s mysterious new photography phenomenon. Known only by the hashtag #ACANONYMOUS, this photographer has been stapling scenic images of the city in the place of boarded-up windows, worn-out planters and faded signs.This was our conversation:
What is the idea behind #ACANONYMOUS? This is just a way to get my own artwork out on display. It’s not necessarily in your typical way – like in a gallery or having an exhibit – but I guess, this is a public way to get the photos out in neighborhoods and reach people that wouldn’t necessarily get a chance to see the work.
Last December, after years of false starts, renovation began on Brown Memorial Park in Atlantic City, which had become a hang-out for drug abusers, homeless and mentally ill. Now it’s fenced off and construction crews are at work. We stopped by to ask the neighbors what they thought of the changes. You can see our original interview with Councilman Kaleem Shabazz, who spearheaded the effort to renovate the park here.