Saturday, July 11, 2009

Atlantic City

My friend, Kiki, took me on a short trip to Atlantic City. We hopped on a Greyhound Bus here in NY with a bunch of people who looked pretty down-and-out, and exited on what felt like another planet... Many of the people who go to A.C. are incredibly obese, heavy drinkers, and I got the feeling that gambling was the least of their worries... Being in NY, I often forget about 'Middle America', that term that loosely describes traditional, conservative, middle-to-lower classes working families. The entire experience was fun, but incredibly strange...

Kitsch, all the way... Hotels often have themes, which, I suppose, are meant to make their guests impressed by an opulance by which they are not accustomed. Over-the-top mirrors, lights, glitz...

And yet all of this glitz only covers up the Atlantic City of yester-year. There are signs of older times everywhere. Many businesses along the boardwalk don't even bother to take down the signs of their predecesors, but hang new ones directly over them. Above and below, the remnants of an old concrete dock.

And a decrepid, unused billboard- it looks like it hasn't been touched for many years. Amid the hubub of the boardwalk, one barely notices the thing is there.

New construction are going up all over the place. Apparently the poor economy doesn't stop people from gambling. I wonder how many people on the verge of losing their homes make a trip to Atlantic City to try their luck at the tables?

There are three groups of people who go to Atlantic City... Young families, partiers, and the elderly. Kiki and I walked into one bathroom where there were, no joke, about thirty-five ladies over the age of 75.

Every other storefront on the boardwalk advertizes henna tattoos. If I had to choose one, perhaps it would be the Snoopy with the sunglasses? And you?

We stopped at an outdoor bar on the boardwalk that had Jagermeister and Absolute shots all ready to go. No, we did not partake.

The bar had an Anthrax cover band. It was about 2 in the afternoon, but they were playing for the small crowd as though they were playing at night to thousands of people in a mega-stadium.

The beach is rather lovely.

Wind power.

Relaxing, post hot tub, sauna, steam room, pool, and shower. About to leave for dinner...

Should a girl worry when the bathroom at the restaurant has a giant crab on it?

Below is a picture of the place we stayed. There were huge clouds in the sky, illuminated by all the lights of Atlantic City.

We ended the night at a bar inside the casino, and watched the worst band on the planet. They were so bad, I had a hard time taking my eyes off of them.

This couple seemed to really like the band.

The trip was so much fun- it was nice to get away with Kiki, have some great conversations, a few drinks, a great dinner, and pretty walks on the beach. I'm always disturbed, however, by gambling, it being an addiction my biological father dealt with (he worked at a Greyhound racing track for much of my life). I think gambling helps destroy many people's lives. I'm not talking about the uber wealthy, who have money to throw around, but people who don't have a lot of money, who dream about winning big, or winning anything at all. It makes me sad that luck is such a strange and disabling concept, which for gamblers, often does not manifest into anything besides more misery.

Anyway- big thanks to Kiki for giving me a getaway- it was fun to relax, and interesting to be so removed from my daily life.

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