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Atlantic City: More than just salt water taffy, the Boardwalk and casinos


By: Stuart Nulman


When you think of Atlantic City, what quickly comes to mind are the casinos, salt water taffy, Monopoly, Miss America, the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” and of course, the Boardwalk.


And these days, the people who promote tourism for Atlantic City want Montrealers to consider it once again as an ideal family tourist destination.


“The city has never looked better. It’s a destination by itself and a completely modern city. In fact, it’s like Las Vegas, but the one thing Las Vegas doesn’t have is the (Atlantic) Ocean,” said Manny Witt, who is the Canadian marketing representative for the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority.


Witt, along with representatives from three of Atlantic City’s major resort hotel/casinos (Revel, Resorts and Caesars) and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) of New Jersey, held a media reception last Monday (September 23) at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Old Montreal to promote the revitalization of Atlantic City as a destination for eastern Canadian tourists who want to consider an ideal vacation spot located not very far from home.


“This is a wonderful time for Atlantic City because there have been a great deal of recent changes and investment opportunities thanks to (New Jersey) Governor Chris Christie, who recently signed legislation to create a tourist district for Atlantic City,” said CRDA representative Karen Martin. “It will be aided by casino revenues that were previously used to subsidize horse racing in the state, and through the “Do AC’ campaign, will differentiate ourselves from other gaming destinations.”


Such new initiatives include a three-phase, $102 million renovation project of the Steel Pier, which for over 80 years was recognized as Atlantic City’s most recognized entertainment venue; the return of the Miss America pageant to its birthplace after a nine-year absence; a $35 million entertainment centre that was added to the Resorts Hotel and Casino (where legal gambling was born in Atlantic City 35 years ago), which includes a Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Café restaurant; the addition of 1900 rooms, two performance spaces, a casino, shops, two nightclubs and a spa to the Revel Hotel; and a $150 million renovation project for the Golden Nugget Hotel (formerly known as the Trump Marina), which includes a casino, restaurants, shops and an entertainment venue.


As well, Atlantic City has plenty of annual events and features to boast of, including 22 golf courses (where golfers can play from mid-March through the end of November); a Polar Bear Plunge on January 1; an annual air show (where different types of aircraft perform stunts and maneuvers over the Atlantic Ocean off the shore of the city) that attracted over 500,000 people last summer; Atlantic City Restaurant Week, in which 73 restaurants participate every year; Smithville, a village located just outside of Atlantic City, where visitors virtually step back in time to the 19th century; a winery tour; an ecological tour of several of the area’s wind farms; the Moment Factory, which offers four spectacular  2-D and 3-D laser light shows that illuminate the historic Boardwalk Hall (which was the site of the 1964 Democratic National Convention); and for those fans of “Boardwalk Empire”, there is even a special tour that tells the story of Atlantic City during the Roaring 20s, which takes participants back to the days when Nucky Thompson ran the city as his own empire based on crime and bootleg alcohol.


“Atlantic City is a place where you can go visit every month and do something different every time,” added Witt.


For more information about other Atlantic City events, attractions, dining and accommodations, checkout the Do AC website at www.doatlanticcity.com.


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This is a fact … as “Fik-Shun”, the Hip Hop dancer who was one of the co-winners of the 10th season of the popular Fox reality competition show “So You Think You Can Dance”, along with co-winner Amy Yakima, will be joining eight other fellow SYTYCD competitors from this season as part of a 42-city North American tour, which makes it stop at the Bell Centre on October 6 starting at 8 p.m.


Joining Amy and Fik-Shun on the SYTYCD tour are Hayley Erbert, Jasmine Harper, Jenna Johnson, Makenzie Dustman, Nico Greetham, Aaron Turner, Paul Karmiryan and Tucker Knox. They will be performing some of their most popular show stopping dance routines from this past season, along with several original dance numbers that have been created especially for the tour. Tickets are still available for the “So You Think You Can Dance” 2013 Tour show, and cost $41, $57 and $72. To purchase tickets, go to the Bell Centre box office or go online at www.evenko.ca.


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The West Island JCC presents a show of amazing black light puppetry based on the stories of Earle Carle on October 6 for two performances (10 a.m. and 1 p.m.) at the Salle Emile-Legault of Cegep St. Laurent, located at 613 St. Croix Avenue. Presented by the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, the show features three timeless stories in which animal characters discover how change is an important part of discovering who you really are: “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, “Little Cloud” and “The Mixed-Up Chameleon”. Tickets are $22.50 each, and proceeds will benefit the West Island JCC’s Early Childhood Literacy program. To buy your tickets, call 514-624-6750.


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If you have an event that you want publicized in the Grapevine, please send the information to my attention at bookbanter@hotmail.com


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