Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cut to fit the mouth

I love Atlantic City. Drawn there for the first time on a birthday several years ago, I was immediately besotted by the down-at-its-heels faded grandeur of the old hotels and casinos, as well as the special Jersey-style spunk of its residents. On that first trip I saw many notable things: 30 year old porn being sold in a 99cent store, a Nelson backpack (pink, of course, with a photo of Gunnar and Matthew prominently displayed), and a dude projectile vomiting off a pier at 7 in the morning. Things have changed there lately--it's less seedy, cleaner, and the ramshackle shops that bordered the boardwalk have given way to upscale shopping and "destination" restaurants. Although I imagine such things are desirable for the general populace, I think I prefer the Burt Lancaster era, personally.

There is still plenty lovable about AC though--the new shopping pier, which houses forebodingly expensive shops like Gucci and Judith Ripka jewelry, also has an amazing view...especially at night when the wind howls around your ears, and you can almost imagine all the pirates' skeletons clackering at the bottom of the sea:

Unfortunately, said pier also houses obnoxious upscale bars like this one:

where everyone seems to be waiting (in vain, I suspect) for something to happen.

Not all has been renovated and de-charmed, however. There are still decrepit piers:

scenic sites:

and taffy that is cut to fit your mouth:

As the previous photo evidences, there is still lots of perplexing male behavior, including "tresspassing" (this guy was using the empty lot as his own personal driving range):

and odd choices of headware:

Luckily, some of my favorite stores are still there (although I couldn't find any 99cent porn this time):

But the number of fenced off and shuttered buildings:

along with the legions of construction workers sunning themselves on boardwalk during their lunchbreaks, gives the city the stink of new money a-comin'. Does America need yet another outdoor mall? I think not--but, sadly, I bet the developers running the place don't care what I think. After all, I only spent $35 the whole time I was there!

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