Hey guys, we didn't get around to a day trip this weekend like I planned, so Jim submitted this brief Atlantic City overview.
Not too, too long ago, my former boss and I headed down to AC to scope out the annual Imprinted Sportswear Show. The conference was pretty off the hook, but my companion was antsy for some real entertainment, so not long after arriving at the Convention Center (located at One Miss America Way, by the way), we hit the Borgata.
In most of the anecdotes I've heard, AC's always been derided as a low-rent dump: one friend got bit by a spider in a moderately priced hotel; another (guilty of nothing more than wearing a backpack — which is only a crime on the subway), was invited by a scruffy looking dude to check out the local soup kitchens. My friend (and this happened years before the concept of 'hipster or hobo?' became mainstream), didn't initially comprehend that the scruffy looking dude was homeless and that he (the scruffy looking dude) thought my fairly scruffy looking friend was homeless as well.
But the Borgata was magical! And not sleazy at all; kind of like Mohegan Sun. We played roulette, my gracious employer purchasing all the chips, dined at a Wolfgang Puck-branded restaurant, and we're back home before 8:30. Despite the fact that many of the guests were dressed in shorts, t-shirts and sandals, the place still maintained an upscale and just-built vibe.
I actually returned to the Sportswear Show last year with a former coworker and, I've got to say, the experience just wasn't quite the same. We left a little bit late and hit some heavy southbound traffic, which would have been fine if the iPod we were listening to hadn't kept playing really explicit R. Kelly songs — not that there's anything wring with Sex in the Kitchen or Puttin' My T-Shirt on or Ignition or Bump 'N Grind, but we just felt like the randomizing software was somehow having a joke at our expense as it continued to generate R-rated audio content we were both too comfortable to skip while we idled in stopped traffic.
By the time we reached One Miss America Way, all the adjacent parking lots were full and we had to fan out a little to find a spot. As we drove away from the Convention Center, the seamier side of this fairly seamy city (seemingly unchanged from the days of the Dernsy/Nicholson masterpiece, King of Marvin Gardens) began to reveal itself. My advice is that if you're planning on visiting Atlantic City plan, just like you would in every other metropolitan area, to stick to the inskirts of town.