Atlantic City’s Bungalow Park now has a new website and several videos that showcase the residential neighborhood, thanks to a grant from a New Jersey nonprofit that seeks to resell abandoned properties and “transform at-risk communities.”
The new videos highlight the character of a neighborhood that remained resolutely residential. Named for its rows of bungalow-style houses, Bungalow Park on the Northside was historically home to the city’s middle-class African-American population. But it has not been immune to the social and economic pressures that have worn away such communities in recent decades. And after Superstorm Sandy caused flooding in the neighborhood, and more casinos closed in recent years, the neighborhood has struggled to refit its abandoned properties and find new homeowners.
Former Atlantic City Planning Director Elizabeth Terenik worked with the Bungalow Park Civic Association to win a “NeighborWorks Pride in Place” grant from New Jersey Community Capital. The videos and new website are the result of that grant and part of the goal is to promote the real estate in the neighborhood.
Janet Garraty, whose Garraty Group produced the videos and site, said she got involved after attending some of the meetings Terenik organized last year to highlight Atlantic City’s civic associations. The Bungalow Park Civic Association organizes regular events and has a closed Facebook group. Garraty said she was impressed by how tight-knit the community was when she attended the meetings.
“I think those kind of things are under-discussed in all the Atlantic City news – there’s always a bend on what’s wrong with Atlantic City and not a whole lot about what might be right,” Garraty said.
Bungalow Park, a peninsula on Absecon Island, has plenty of bayfront properties that are shown in the videos. The neighborhood’s properties have also been more stable than others in Atlantic City, and part of the goal of the grant was to promote that in a video, Garraty said.
The website (check it out here) will be used to advertize the Civic Association’s events and projects, of which there are many. At a civic association “Friends and Family” event this Sunday, neighbors and their relatives stopped by to catch up over a hot-dog or cheeseburger. Garraty said she recently took part in a booze cruise around the bay with the neighbors. “They have a lot of close-knit stuff,” she said, adding that this is what makes the neighborhood an attractive place to live. Although many of the residents that Garraty interviews in the video have lived in Bungalow Park for years – sometimes even generations – there are also residents who have moved there from other parts of the city or offshore. Those residents say that the close community of neighbors was part of the draw for them.
“They seem to have a certain connection,” Garraty said, adding, “That’s what I wanted to get across.”
Route 40 is talking with residents in the Bungalow Park neighborhood in the run up to the Nov. 7 election to hear their views on the issues that matter to them, as part of the state-wide Voting Block project. Voting Block is a New Jersey collaborative reporting effort to explore the gubernatorial election through different neighborhoods around the state. Find more reporting from the series here.
Watch some of Bungalow Park’s new videos below: