tom moody

atlantic city visit - some notes

Earlier this month I took advantage of a special rate and stayed at the Revel (rhymes with "bevel") taxpayer-supported hotel and casino complex in Atlantic City, NJ. (Hat tip to family member who was the perfect sardonic traveling companion.)
My first time in that city. What a mess.
It's easy to see why Atlantic City has so many problems, when you go there. It's truly remote from anywhere, cut off from the rest of the state by the Pine Barrens and miles of swampland. No major highway or north-south train line goes through. The town was rotting as a resort destination so the revitalization effort has been pegged to these enormous slick gambling complexes. Sealed enclaves that are meant to be worlds unto themselves, where you eat, swim, see shows, get massages, and of course gamble, without ever leaving the building until you are bled dry of funds and kicked out on the street to join Romney's 47%.
The Revel squats like the Death Star on a section of artificial beach (still under construction), cutting off the nearby houses and streets from easy access to the water and Boardwalk.
The city blocks "behind" it (invisible to hotel windows aligned for maximum waterfront views) are bleak neighborhoods of vacant lots, boarded up prairie gothic houses, and probably some of the cheapest-to-rent multiplex apartment units in America (due to ultimate impoverished scariness). Beautiful in a J.G. Ballard, what-has-become-of-our-cities way.
The Revel suites are luxurious, if sterile, and the view of the ocean from 17 stories up, looking out through heavy glass, is like being in a Michael Mann movie set on the planet Solaris.
Near the elevators I was amused to see framed artwork by James Nares and my former teacher, the post-Minimalist artist Robert Stackhouse.
A printed "amenities" menu in the hotel room advises you that if you want to take the Android tablet on the bedside phone, it can be had for $800.

- tom moody

September 29th, 2012 at 6:32 pm

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