Posts tagged “Atlantic City

Atlantic City Boardwalk Heyday

Posted on July 4, 2012

The R. C. Maxwell Company photographic exhibit on Atlantic City, New Jersey’s Boardwalk, curated by the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History in the Duke University Libraries, offers an extraordinary glimpse into the excitement created by the company’s larger-than-life electric signs. One such image, taken on July 4, 1936, appears in Bryant Simon’s essay on Atlantic City in American Tourism.  

Tourists Trampling Gotham?

Posted on May 25, 2012

The latest post on the blog Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, “Attention High Line Tourists,” demonstrates well one kind of reaction to the impact of tourism in cities: signs warning tourists to tread lightly in surrounding neighborhoods. The High Line, of course, refers to one of the most decidedly “in” places to “do” in Manhattan: a former elevated railroad right of way recast as a linear green space three years ago. The High Line works as a tourist attraction not just because it affords a new perspective on the city but also because it passes through neighborhoods that promise steady use and points of interest. Yet the High Line isn’t an unalloyed success in everyone’s eyes. If artists are often the spark that ignites gentrification,…

Citifying Atlantic City and Las Vegas

Posted on May 12, 2012

In 1976 Atlantic City, New Jersey, took a fateful step in an effort to be more like Las Vegas. It legalized casino gambling in hopes that casinos would breathe new life into a city that had lost much of its appeal as a resort across the 20th century. By the 1990s, in contrast, the ever successful southern Nevada gambling mecca seemed to have wrung all it could from gaming. Its promoters recast it as a family entertainment destination to try to counter expected impacts from so many new gambling venues in other states. A decade later, Las Vegas reasserted its image as an adult playground with the now famous line “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.” Now the United States’ two most famous…

Invention and Imitation

Posted on April 22, 2012

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but it is also highly lucrative. Imitation is an ironic hallmark of an industry that on one level is predicated on destinations’ ability to offer a unique experience. Tourists seek novelty for its potential to grant a sense of discovery, but it does not take long for entrepreneurs to recognize a good idea and attempt to replicate it as nearly as possible. Along with tourists’ restlessness when the extraordinary becomes mundane, imitation is a prime reason for tourist destinations to embellish their attractions or reinvent themselves. Early railroad-age travelers hoped to see “real” Indians as a way of eluding the reach of crass, market-oriented America (symbolized by the industrial cities from which many tourists hailed), but their…

Revel Beach

Posted on April 6, 2012

Atlantic City is working hard to assure that its very name glitters, but a recent event shows how hard it can be to shape a city’s image. As reported in today’s Press of Atlantic City, the city council in the New Jersey tourist town recently discovered it had unwittingly approved rechristening part of the most famous stretch of sand on the Jersey Shore as “Revel Beach.” Revel, a new mega-resort, plans to open over Memorial Day weekend as a centerpiece in the much-awaited reinvention of a struggling seaside city. Don’t look for Parker Brothers to rename its iconic Atlantic City–based Monopoly place names anytime soon. The move has led to vows by the city never to allow another section of the municipal beachfront to be renamed…

Reinventing Atlantic City–Again

Posted on March 27, 2012

Atlantic City, as historian and American Tourism contributor Bryant Simon has argued in Boardwalk of Dreams, built its reputation with iconic, lavish hotels and the promise that tourists could reinforce their middle-class identity by taking a rolling-chair ride on the famed Boardwalk. But Atlantic City, like other American cities that enjoyed their heyday in the first half of the 20th century, began to unravel as locals left densely packed front-porch neighborhoods for suburbia and tourists traded the World’s Playground for more exclusive emerging resorts. The arrival of legalized casino gambling in 1978 promised a resumption of Atlantic City’s glory days, but in recent years the newfound luster seemed to fade as nearby states introduced gaming alternatives and the gap between the casino district and…