Helen, Charlie and I just spent another wonderful weekend visiting our friends Frank and Suzanne in Atlantic City. That’s right: Atlantic City. It may not be the ideal setting to try and raise a family, but it’s a completely underrated weekend spot, if you ask me.
Sure, we’re lucky; we’ve befriended a couple who invite us regularly to stay at their amazing arts and crafts home on the south end of town, far from the casinos. Need I mention it’s just a block off the beach? Yeah, we’ve got it tough, but we manage. But even if you set aside our good fortune, the Atlantic City we like to visit is a far cry from the Atlantic City most tourists see. When we visit, it’s like stepping back in time. The tree-lined streets are cool, the houses are enormous, beautiful and unique and the beach is tranquil and free.
If Helen and I are going to see a show at the Borgata, we take the Jitney, which may be one of the most amazing ways to travel in Atlantic City. You travel at about a million miles per hour through the densest traffic known to man and yet somehow end up at your destination in one piece. It’s been in use since 1912 and I hope it’s never replaced by the dull mass transit we’ve come to expect in most municipalities, unless Atlantic City ponies up for a monorail. (Yes, I’m halfway serious. It would be amazing.)
Atlantic City is hardly perfect, but it’s gotten a bad rap thanks to the desperate measures undertaken to replace the tourist economy that made it so prosperous. I’m hopeful that the upcoming series Boardwalk Empire on HBO sheds some light on what made the town the hotspot it once was and not just the gangsters who ran all the rackets under Prohibition.
Sure, I’m a sucker for the heyday of the Rust Belt, but it’s a far sight more interesting that anything the Sun Belt has to offer as far as I’m concerned.