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Casino Gaming

Atlantic City Nostalgia from a Vegas Refugee

   AtlanticCityTripping.com features a reflection on Atlantic City’s thirty-year anniversary of casino gaming from Dr. Dave Schwartz:

Before you go further, you’ve got to work with me as I explain, then come to grips with, the universal Atlantic City inferiority complex. We are so used to everyone telling us that the place is a dump that we tend to circle the wagons and insist that it’s the greatest spot on earth, even when a fool can see that the city government is a joke and the place leaves a lot to be desired. When I first started doing what I do, I had the same knee-jerk reaction to any criticisms of Atlantic City, but I’ve come to see that the critics often have a point.


When I’m pointing out what I see as deficiencies here, it’s not in a mocking spirit – it’s more of an instructive one. I really want the city to get better. I just am becoming less optimistic that it will.

Still, you can have a lot of fun there, if you’re just willing to go with the flow. The gambling is gambling, but you can find a lot more there – there’s plenty of cool shops on the Walk. Seriously, if this place was on the Strip, people would be going nuts. If you’re going to spend the afternoon there, I suggest heading over to White House Subs at Mississippi and Arctic for lunch-or dinner. This is the real deal. If you’re at Harrah’s the Sack’o Subs is a permissible substitute. For dinner, don’t even think about the chain places in the Quarter: you’ve got to hit Tony’s Baltimore Grill, on Atlantic and Iowa Avenues (right behind the Trop’s garage). The service is usually awful, but the food is great, and the experience is one-of-a-kind.

   Dr. Schwartz is not a fan of the eminent domain for private gain employed by Atlantic City City Council for Pinnacle Atlantic City.

Looking NE

Looking SW

Two views of the “big hole” Pinnacle AC CEO Kim Townshend is so proud of. See my blog entry for more. This is what $400 million buys you these days, apparently.

   Dr. Schwartz has a great analogy for Atlantic City’s political and business climate:

A really, really, pathetically old guy singing off key, and hoping for money. Here’s my analogy for the city: you had this guy, then a little further down some guy banging drums, then past that a guy playing sax. If they pooled their resources, they’d be a kickass band (or not). But instead they just plug along by themselves and sound miserable.

   Dr. Schwartz – in the typically cynic-laden manner of bloggers – makes an ironic observation of Trump Taj’s recent addition.


 The new Chairman Towerand the old Taj, side by side. Notice the construction elevator still attached, 1 day before the rooms opened. It’s not a soft opening… it’s downright flaccid.

   Here is a poignant observation concerning Harrah’s.

How Harrah’s AC uses its priceless water frontage: blank walls and loading docks!

   All photographs are credited to

Dr. David Schwartz is an Atlantic City native, currently living in Las Vegas where he is the Director of the UNLV Center for Gaming Research. When not being interviewed by every media outlet in the known universe about matters relating to the gaming industry, Dr. Dave spends his time collecting photos of casino carpeting and a lot of time listening to Theolonius Monk (and Rush.) His fabulous blog is http://www.dieiscast.com


About Jesse O. Kurtz

I am committed to fulfilling the promise of Atlantic City. The town would benefit from greater political participation by average citizens. Hopefully, some of the posts herein will encourage you to get more involved in your community. This blog will also feature other topics and subjects beyond Atlantic City. I hope that you will come to love Atlantic City as much, or more than I do.


One thought on “Atlantic City Nostalgia from a Vegas Refugee

  1. Hello. I was born 1971. From 1981 to 1983, my summer/Easter vacations were spent 1st in the Pocono Mt. resorts (for a few weeks), followed by Atlantic City. (My step father played @ Resorts International Hotel Casino in a lounge band). We “lived” directly adjacent to Resorts, in the Seaside Inn mo/hotel (2 story complex, now long gone). In those days, Atlantic City/The Boardwalk, was not yet entirely built up. There was nothing past Resorts except for old, rundown/abandoned shops & even a gutted/dilapidated hotel behind The Seaside (wish I knew the name/had pics of it in it’s former splendor). The Planters Peanut store/factory was still there & the Boardwalk boasted dozens of video game arcades. Many mornings I would wake early & watch the sunrise & or, would ride me 10 speed bicycle up/down the boardwalk. The rest of the day was spent in the hotel pool (I could swim 54 laps/1 mile by summer’s end), on the beach, & in the arcades or eating @ Gino’s (fast food burger chain). On dad’s days off, we’d explore, sometimes in A.C.’s surrounding area (Lucy the Elephant, Brigantine Castle, & I remember an abandoned train yard (B & O maybe?) or sometimes we’d end up in Philly or NYC. We did our grocery shopping @ “Figmoe’s” (long gone, but I can still remember it’s TV commercial).
    Needless to say, ’81 – ’83, were the best years of my life, before or since. It is very nostalgic for me & I often think back fondly of the great times/fun that I/we had.
    When I turned 21 (legal gambling/drinking age) in 1992, naturally I just had to re-visit A.C. Without going into it in detail, I was fairly disappointed. Sure it was still “fun”, but everything has, “changed” (or gone). Even Brigantine Caste was gone (the whole reason for me renting a car). The thing I find most disappointing (& probably my reason for writing this), is that, I can find scarce/very little information online, about Atlantic City in the years 1978 to 1985 or ’86. It’s like A.C. doesn’t care about that era of it’s history. I can’t find a single picture anywhere (no, we/my family didn’t take any) in regards to the years I lived there. There is a great site dedicated to Brigantine Castle, & a nice site called A.C. Memory lane (stories only), & an abundance of pre-gambling A.C. info/pics (late 1800’s to mid 70’s), but I can find no pictures of the boardwalk/A.C., in/from the 80’s, etc. It’s probably why I love the movie “Atlantic City” (1980) & to a lesser extent, “Tempest” (1982) (for the city scenes).
    In conclusion, do you know of any websites or books that would have any of the information/pictures, from the time frame I mentioned? Thank you.

    Posted by Gerald | July 15, 2011, 1:35 am

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