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Atlantic City is a city in Atlantic County, New Jersey, United States, and a nationally renowned resort city for gambling, shopping and fine dining. The city also served as the inspiration for the board game Monopoly. Atlantic City is located on Absecon Island on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city has a population of 39,558.[1] There were 274,549 people living in the Atlantic City–Hammonton metropolitan statistical area.

Atlantic City officially became a city in 1854. The new city contained portions of Egg Harbor Township and Galloway Township.[2]

The three routes into Atlantic City are the Black Horse Pike/Harding Highway (US 322/40), White Horse Pike (US 30) and the Atlantic City Expressway. Atlantic City is roughly 120 miles south of New York City by road, 62 miles southeast of Philadelphia, and borders Absecon, Brigantine, Pleasantville, Ventnor and West Atlantic City (part of Egg Harbor Township).

HistoryEdit

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Because of its location in South Jersey, hugging the Atlantic Ocean between marshlands and islands, Atlantic City presented itself as prime real estate and a potential resort town for developers. In 1853, the first commercial hotel, The Belloe House, located at Massachusetts and Atlantic Avenue, was built. The city was incorporated in 1854, the same year in which the Camden and Atlantic Railroad train service began. Built on the edge of the bay, this served as the direct link of this remote parcel of land with Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By 1874, almost 500,000 passengers a year were coming to Atlantic City by rail. The first boardwalk was built in 1870, along a portion of the beach to help hotel owners keep sand out of their lobbies. Because of its effectiveness and popularity the boardwalk was expanded and modified several times in the following years. The historic length of the boardwalk, before the 1944 hurricane, was about Template:Convert and it extended from Atlantic City to Longport, through Ventnor and Margate.

The first official road from the mainland to the island was completed in 1870, after 17 years of construction. The road, which ran from Pleasantville, had a $0.30 toll. The first free road was Albany Avenue, constructed over the meadows from Pleasantville.

By 1878 because of the growing popularity of the city, one railroad line could no longer keep up with demand. Soon, the Philadelphia-Atlantic City railroad and the Reading railroad were constructed to transport tourists to Atlantic City. At this point massive hotels like The United States and the Surf House, as well as smaller rooming houses, had sprung up all over town. The United States Hotel took up a full city block between Atlantic, Pacific, Delaware, and Maryland Avenues. These hotels were not only impressive in size, but featured the most updated amenities, and were considered quite luxurious for their time. On Wednesday June 16, 1880, Atlantic City was formally opened.

In the 1920s, with tourism at its peak, many historians consider this decade Atlantic City's golden age. During prohibition, liquor flowed freely and gambling regularly took place in the back rooms of nightclubs and restaurants. This era in the city's history has inspired the HBO Original Series Boardwalk Empire.

Historic hotelsEdit

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During the early part of the 20th century, Atlantic City went through a radical building boom. Many of the modest boarding houses that dotted the boardwalk were replaced with large hotels. Two of the city’s most distinctive hotels were the Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel and the Traymore Hotel.

In 1903, Josiah White III bought a parcel of land near Ohio Avenue and the boardwalk and built the Queen Anne style Marlborough House. The hotel was a hit and, in 1905–06, he chose to expand the hotel and bought another parcel of land next door to his Marlborough House. In an effort to make his new hotel a source of conversation, White hired the architectural firm of Price and McLanahan. The firm made use of reinforced concrete, a new building material invented by Jean-Louis Lambot in 1848 (Joseph Monier received the patent in 1867). The hotel’s Spanish and Moorish themes, capped off with its signature dome and chimneys, represented a step forward from other hotels that had a classically designed influence. White named the new hotel the Blenheim and merged the two hotels into the Marlborough-Blenheim. Bally's Atlantic City was later constructed at this location.

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The Traymore Hotel was located at the corner of Illinois Avenue and the boardwalk. Begun in 1879 as a small boarding house, the hotel grew through a series of uncoordinated expansions. By 1914, the hotel’s owner, Daniel White, taking a hint from the Marlborough-Blenheim, commissioned the firm of Price and McLanahan to build an even bigger hotel. Sixteen stories high, the tan brick and gold-capped hotel would become one of the city’s best-known landmarks. The hotel made use of ocean-facing hotel rooms by jutting its wings farther from the main portion of the hotel along Pacific Avenue.

One by one, additional large hotels were constructed along the boardwalk, including the Brighton, Chelsea, Shelburne, Ambassador, Ritz Carlton, Mayflower, Madison House, and the Breakers. The Quaker-owned Chalfonte House, opened in 1868, and Haddon House, opened in 1869, flanked North Carolina Avenue at the beach end. Their original wood-frame structures would be enlarged, and even moved closer to the beach, over the years. The modern Chalfonte Hotel, eight stories tall, opened in 1904. The modern Haddon Hall was built in stages and was completed in 1929, at eleven stories. By this time, they were under the same ownership and merged into the Chalfonte-Haddon Hall Hotel, becoming the city's largest hotel with nearly 1,000 rooms. By 1930, the Claridge, the city's last large hotel before the casinos, opened its doors. The 400-room Claridge was built by a partnership that included renowned Philadelphia contractor John McShain. At 24 stories, it would become known as the "Skyscraper By The Sea." The city became known as the "The World's Playground.[3][4]



PiersEdit

Piers played a large part of Atlantic City's history. The first pier, Ocean Pier, was built in Atlantic City in 1882.[5] Another famous pier built during that time was Steel Pier, opened in 1898, which once billed itself as "The Showplace of the Nation." It is now located opposite Trump Taj Mahal and is used as an amusement pier. The Million Dollar Pier opened in 1906 and is now opposite Caesars Casino and houses the Pier Shops at Caesars. The final pier that still exists today is Garden Pier, located opposite Revel Casino, which once housed a movie theater, and is now home to the Atlantic City Historical Society and Arts Center. Steeplechase Pier, another amusement pier, once existed just west of Steel Pier. Heinz Pier, located just east of the Garden Pier, was famous for its Pickle Pins, but was destroyed in the Hurricane of 1944.

Decline and resurgenceEdit

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Like many older east coast cities after World War II, Atlantic City became plagued with poverty, crime, corruption, and disinvestment in the mid-to-late 20th century. The neighborhood known as the "Inlet" became particularly impoverished. The reasons for the resort's decline were multi-layered. First of all, the automobile easily available to many Americans after the war. Atlantic City had initially relied upon visitors coming by train and staying for a couple of weeks. The car allowed them to come and go as they pleased, and many people would spend only a few days, rather than weeks. Also, the advent of suburbia played a huge role. With many families moving to their own private houses, luxuries such as home air conditioning and swimming pools diminished their interest in flocking to the luxury beach resorts during the hot summer. But perhaps the biggest factor in the decline in Atlantic City's popularity came from cheap, fast jet service to other premiere resorts, such as Miami Beach and the Bahamas.

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The city hosted the 1964 Democratic National Convention which nominated Lyndon Johnson for President and Hubert Humphrey as Vice President. The convention and the press coverage it generated, however, cast a harsh light on Atlantic City, which by then was in the midst of a long period of economic decline. Many felt that the friendship between Johnson and the Governor of New Jersey at that time, Richard J. Hughes, led Atlantic City to host the Democratic Convention.

By the late 1960s, many of the resort's once great hotels were suffering from embarrassing vacancy rates. Most of them were either shut down, converted to cheap apartments, or converted to nursing home facilities by the end of the decade. Prior to and during the advent of legalized gaming, many of these hotels were demolished. The Breakers, the Chelsea, the Brighton, the Shelburne, the Mayflower, the Traymore, and the Marlborough-Blenheim were demolished in the 1970s and 1980s. Of the many pre-casino resorts that bordered the boardwalk, only the Claridge, the Dennis, the Ritz-Carlton, and the Haddon Hall survive to this day as parts of Bally's Atlantic City, a condo complex, and Resorts Atlantic City. The old Ambassador Hotel was gutted to become the Tropicana Casino and Resort Atlantic City, only reusing the steelwork of the original building. Smaller hotels off the boardwalk, such as the Madison also survived.

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Legalized gamblingEdit

In an effort at revitalizing the city, New Jersey voters in 1976 approved casino gambling for Atlantic City; this came after a 1974 referendum on legalized gambling failed to pass. Immediately after the legislation passed, the owners of the Chalfonte-Haddon Hall Hotel began converting it into the Resorts International. It was the first legal casino in the eastern United States when it opened on May 26, 1978.[6] Other casinos were soon constructed along the Boardwalk and, later, in the marina district for a total of eleven today. The introduction of gambling did not, however, quickly eliminate many of the urban problems that plagued Atlantic City. Many have argued that it only served to magnify those problems, as evidenced in the stark contrast between tourism-intensive areas and the adjacent impoverished working-class neighborhoods.[7] In addition, Atlantic City has played second-fiddle to Las Vegas, as a gambling city in the United States, although in the late 1970s and 1980s, when Las Vegas was experiencing a massive drop in tourism due to crime, particularly the Mafia's role, and other economic factors, Atlantic City was favored over Las Vegas. The rise of Mike Tyson in boxing, having most of his fights in Atlantic City in the '80s, also helped Atlantic City burst into the national spotlight as a gambling resort. Numerous highrise condominiums were built for use as permanent residences or second homes.[8] By end of the decade it was was the most popular tourist desination in the States.[9]

Modern day Atlantic City Edit

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With the redevelopment of Las Vegas and the opening of two casinos in Connecticut in the early 1990s, Atlantic City's tourism began to slide. Determined to expand, in 1999 the Atlantic City Redevelopment Authority partnered with Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn to develop a new roadway to a barren section of the city near the Marina. Nicknamed "The Tunnel Project", Steve Wynn planned the proposed 'Mirage Atlantic City' around the idea that he would connect the $330 million, 2.5-mile (4.0 km) tunnel from the Atlantic City Expressway to his new resort. The roadway was later officially named the Atlantic City-Brigantine Connector. The highway funnels incoming traffic off the expressway into the city's marina district and Brigantine, New Jersey.

Although Wynn's plans for development in the city were scrapped in 2002, the tunnel opened in 2001. The new roadway prompted MGM Mirage to build Atlantic City's newest casino. The Borgata opened in July 2003, and its success brought an influx of developers to Atlantic City with plans on building grand Las Vegas style mega casinos to revitalize the aging city.[10]

Due to economic conditions and the late-2000s recession, many proposed mega casinos never moved further than the initial planning stages. One of these developers Pinnacle Entertainment, who purchased the Sands Atlantic City, permanently closing it on November 11, 2006. The following year, the resort was demolished in a dramatic, Las Vegas styled implosion, the first of its kind in Atlantic City. While Pinnacle Entertainment intended to replace it with a $1.5–2 billion casino resort, the company canceled its construction plans and plans to sell the land. The biggest disappointment was when MGM Resorts International announced that it would pull out of all development for Atlantic City, effectively killing their plans for the MGM Grand Atlantic City.[11][12]

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In 2006, Morgan Stanley purchased 20 acres directly north of the Showboat Atlantic City Hotel and Casino for a new $2 billion-plus casino resort.[13] Revel Entertainment Group was named as the project's developer for the Revel Casino. Revel was hit with many problems, with the biggest blow to the company being in April 2010 when Morgan Stanley, the owner of 90% of Revel Entertainment Group, decided to discontinue funding for continued construction and put its stake in Revel up for sale. Early in 2010 the N.J. state legislature passed a bill offering tax incentives to attract new investors and complete the job, but a poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind released in March 2010 showed that three of five voters (60%) opposed the legislation, and two of three of those who opposed it "strongly" opposed it.[14] Ultimately, Governor Chris Christie offered Revel $261 million in state tax credits to assist the casino once it opens.[15] As of March 2011, Revel has completed all of the exterior work and has continued work on the interior after finally receiving the funding necessary to complete construction. It is scheduled to be opened for summer 2012.

Tourism districtEdit

In July 2010, Governor Chris Christie announced that a state take over of the city and local government "was imminent". Comparing regulations in Atlantic City to an "antique car", Atlantic City regulatory reform is a key piece of Gov. Chris Christie's plan, unveiled on July 22, to reinvigorate an industry mired in a four-year slump in revenue and hammered by fresh competition from casinos in the surrounding states of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and more recently, Maryland. In January 2011, Chris Christie announced the Atlantic City Tourism District, a state-run district encompassing the boardwalk casinos, the marina casinos, the Atlantic City Outlets, and Bader Field.[16][17] Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind poll surveyed N.J. voters' attitudes on the takeover. The February 16th, 2011 survey showed that 43% opposed the measure while 29% favored direct state oversight.[18] Interestingly, the poll also found that even South Jersey voters expressed opposition to the plan; 40% reported they opposed the measure and 37% reported they were in favor of it.[18]

On April 29, 2011, the boundaries for the state-run tourism district were set. The district would include heavier police presence, as well as beautification and infrastructure improvements. The CRDA would oversee all functions of the district and will make changes to attract new businesses and attractions. New construction would be ambitious and may resort to eminent domain.[19][20]

The tourism district would comprise several key areas in the city; the Marina District, Ducktown, Chelsea, South Inlet, Bader Field, and Gardner's Basin. Also included are 10 roadways that lead into the district, including several in the city's northern end, or North Beach. Gardner's Basin, which is home to the Atlantic City Aquarium, was initially left out of the tourism district, while a residential neighborhood in the Chelsea section was removed from the final boundaries due to complaints from the city. Also, the inclusion of Bader Field in the district was controversial and received much scrutiny from mayor Lorenzo Langford, who cast the lone "no" vote on the creation of the district citing its inclusion.[21]

Birthplace of Offshore Wind Energy in the AmericasEdit

The Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm, opened in 2005, is the first onshore coastal wind farm in the United States.[22]


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