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Mid-Atlantic: “Boardwalk Empire” revives Atlantic City’s past

Courtesy Atlantic City CVA

Enoch “Nucky” Johnson has brought a bit of luck to the Atlantic City casinos. The infamous politician inspired the HBO hit “Boardwalk Empire,” which in turn has sparked interest in Prohibition-era Atlantic City.

“There will be a lot of people capitalizing on ‘Boardwalk Empire’ this summer,” said Elaine Zamansky, media relations manager at the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority. “It’s a real hot topic.”

Consider that in February, Resorts Casino Hotel featured on its website a spinning newspaper that boasted “The Roaring ‘20s are back on the Boardwalk.” The hotel from February to April is showcasing the “Moonshine Follies” review, and casino staff are donning 1920s-inspired costumes. Claridge Atlantic City, meanwhile, has restored its tower section to the building’s original 1920s appearance. (Tower rooms have also gotten a makeover.)

Other ties to the HBO show and to the 1920s are “Boardwalk Empire” tours offered by the Great American Trolley Company and swing dance contests with 1920s outfits at Bally’s Atlantic City. Either could be a fun themed event during a conference or meeting.

The purchase of Trump Marina by Landry Inc. is also big news. “They’re going to put $150 million into renovations right off the bat,” Zamansky said. Plans call for a Golden Nugget casino resort on the site.

Last year, the 502-room Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel turned the Gallery, originally built as a time-share, into space for meetings, parties and receptions. The contemporary shore theme is punctuated by a 3,000-gallon fish tank (aquarium). “It’s a lovely area — so beautifully done,” Zamansky said. The space was once the headquarters of the Miss America Organization.

Construction on Revel Casino, which stalled when the economy skidded to a halt, should continue soon. In February, New Jersey’s governor announced that Revel Entertainment had lined up $1.15 billion  in private financing. The state of New Jersey will contribute $261 million in tax-increment financing through its Economic Development Authority for infrastructure improvements in the vicinity of the casino.

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