Tuesday, September 11, 2012

An Introduction to the Atlantic City Boardwalk

Edit, November 8, 2012:  I've noticed a surge of traffic to this post lately, which I assume is somehow related to Hurricane Sandy's damage to the Atlantic City boardwalk and town.  My heart goes out to the residents of my favorite vacation destination, and I look forward to visiting again very soon.

I spent the weekend introducing a poker friend to Atlantic City for the first time. I've mentioned before how much I love this grungy, somewhat depressing vacation destination, and I always enjoy exposing new people to the town.

It's impossible to visit Atlantic City without appreciating its boardwalk.

There's no better way to spend an hour with pleasant weather in AC than walking the Atlantic City boardwalk. You'll pass quite a cast of characters, along with a very hipster/instagram-ready amusement park also built on a pier (called the Steel Pier).

Along the way, pop into some of the casinos just to look around.

Bally's Wild West Casino, which is decorated like --- you guessed it --- the Wild West.

Revel, Atlantic City's newest casino. This place is just magnificent. Also, if you are looking for a good meal in AC but can't decide where to go, just take yourself to Revel and flip a coin. All of their 18-ish restaurants look amazing and are populated by satisfied-looking customers, and the one meal I've had there so far (Spanish tapas at Amada) was stellar.

I mean, just look at the way this casino reflects the sunlight!

Like I said, magnificent.

My male companions chuckled when I suggested visiting the Pier Shops, a mall on the boardwalk, which is built over a pier into the ocean. But it's a great destination if you skip the shopping and head straight for the top floor.

There, you'll be treated to beautiful views of the water, beach chairs (sitting in fake sand) along the windows in which to relax, and a water show at the very end of the mall at the top of each hour. It's no Bellagio, but it's free.

I went for a morning run along the boardwalk in the other direction and stumbled upon a bunch of benches facing the ocean.

Many were emblazoned with plaques memorializing elderly men and women who loved this town. (I prefer to imagine them sipping McDonald's coffee on the boardwalk at sunrise and not pulling the levers of slot machines in a dark casino while connected to an oxygen tank attached to their electric scooters.)

Finally, there is something beautiful about the decay on the boardwalk. So much lays unused or crumbling, despite the promise of the structures.

Is it possible to look at a skeeball place on a boardwalk without thinking of Kevin Smith's movie, Dogma?

The former AC Hilton, which has now been converted to a casino called The Atlantic Club. Although things look new on the inside, the outside still decays with the faded name of the Hilton moaning from the top.

An empty amphitheater.

Although it's not on the boardwalk, no conversation about Atlantic City would be complete without a mention of White House Subs, an institution of hoagies. If you are a beast, attempt to finish a "whole" sub, which is a hilarious two feet long. The "half" is about as much stomach space as I can muster. (What you see in the background of the photo above is a half sandwich.)

All that was left of my cheesesteak with mushrooms and marinara after a whole five minutes of ravenous eating. LOL at my feeble diet pepsi in the face of this monstrosity.
Have you ever been to Atlantic City? The jersey shore?

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