October 12, 2015
Atlantic City, NJ
After the Staten Island Half Marathon, I drove down to Atlantic City. I’d never been and wanted to see what it was all about. Besides all the usual things you’d do there, I went for a short run to stretch out my legs along the boardwalk and the beach.
Atlantic City in southern New Jersey once a booming casino town on the beach. Think Coney Island with big casinos. This is where Trump took four casinos into bankruptcy not just because they ended up being bad deals, but Atlantic City is so 50 years ago. Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra and the diving horse have been replaced by red solo cup binge drinkers. I knew that Atlantic City isn’t what the popular imagination holds over from its glory days, but I wanted to see it anyway.
I started my run on the boardwalk. In the morning it wasn’t crowded, but then Columbus Day weekend didn’t seem to be a big deal for the town that’s probably already out of season. That’s fine with me.
Like many malls, there’s a lot less variety than its length would suggest. Every third shop seems to be a psychic shop. I thought briefly about going in to get a forecast for the New York Marathon, but I’d rather not know.
Another monument recognizes the long, hard trip people took from Ellis Island to southern Jersey in their covered wagons:
But Atlantic City is fighting back. They have advertising displays along the boardwalk and those poles have USB chargers. Curiously, they don’t put seating right next to the chargers so people would sit on the deck of the boardwalk.
In these sorts of runs, I stop to look at things, like a bandshell plaza that combines monuments to Miss America (I did not take a selfie of me being crowned), John F Kennedy (how many places in the world have that? I ran the Kennedy Caddesi in the 2013 İstanbul Marathon)
After a mile or so on the boardwalk I took a right through the arches that led me to the beach and went down to the water to get to the hard packed sand.
Later in the day I found a mile marker spray painted on the boardwalk. Next week is the AC Marathon; this must be the finish line. I’ll be in Idaho for a marathon though and I’ve already run my New Jersey marathon.
Despite Atlantic City’s fall from grace, I had a pleasant run and I’m happy I went even if it is a place of the past. I’m also glad I didn’t go next weekend when I might not have been allowed to run the boardwalk!