Developer Curtis Bashaw is working on a partnership between The Chelsea in Atlantic City and The Beatrice Inn in NYC. Many New Yorkers are sceptical of any attempt to transform Atlantic City’s image. Sean Kalish says in The NY Times,
Atlantic City is one of the most disgusting places in the world. … It’s like Las Vegas got drunk and slept with South Jersey and this is their bastard child.
NYC blogger, Guest of a Guest had this to say about our dear City:
Also, the one time I’ve been to AC (stayed in Borgota), it was a surprisingly good escape that made me appreciate all of what I had back home in civilization (Manhattan).
All of the negative comments on Atlantic City are exaggerated, yet well-founded. The NY Times is guilty of the typical AC hyperbole:
Atlantic City, gritty and rundown on nearly every block where the casinos are not, is not yet the East Coast Las Vegas it was supposed to become when gambling was legalized in 1976, but investors like Mr. Bashaw believe that a wave of what they say are hipster amenities will draw the same kind of young urbanites who have adopted Nevada’s Sin City as the in-place to roll.
Mr. Bashaw is exaggerating the potential. NY Times’ Allen Salkin is overboard with his description of AC. The truth lying behind these comments is that Atlantic City government has not fulfilled its many promises of a higher quality of residential life. Over the years, in fact since the inception of casino gaming, there have been many promises of lower taxes, less crime, and less corruption. In Atlantic City’s lived experience, the residents get higher and higher tax bills, more and more crime, and move from being the regional leader in corruption to a national amusement. At one time Atlantic City would develop entertainment, e.g. the refinement of swing music, and then present that to the nation. Now, we engage in the most creative corruption schemes and present them for laughs to the nation and world.
You know what? It is not funny anymore. The Chelsea will offer much for its patrons. But what about the residential areas? Atlantic City should have the lowest municipal tax rate in the state. Casino gaming has created much employment and tax revenues. City government perpetually squanders the revenues. The casinos continue to deliver, when will City Hall?