OK, so I admit to taking a few days off this week. It’s hard to find the time to take the time off. Sounds odd, eh?
And going for a full week to the Jersey shore just wasn’t in the cards. (It’s funny how saying Jersey shore nowadays just takes on a completely different meaning) It was going to cost a ton and I realized it wasn’t going to happen.
After striking out finding a house to rent for a few days I decided to return to the Tropicana in Atlantic City. I figured for something different for the wife and kids I would return to the Trop. The kids had never stayed at a casino and it wasn’t like the purpose was to introduce them to the world of gambling. Actually, all of the activity, the stores, the food, is kind of like being to the islands without leaving, well, New Jersey. There’s a buzz and people seem like they’re having fun. (Anti-gamblers may inject their opinions here, criticizing me for endorsing activities where people lose their shirts to the casinos)
And it’s fun to gamble a little bit. The ringing of the slots as they pay out (or not in my case), the funny people playing all sorts of casino games. I have never gone to Vegas (my wife did and actually that’s a hilarious story for another blog another time…) so the next best thing is Atlantic City.
So, off we went.
I actually enjoy Atlantic City. I think at times it gets a bad rap. Yes, there are some less than spiffy areas but let’s face it, Atlantic City is one old city. It’s South Jersey’s Philly. My great grandparents used to go to Atlantic City so it’s not like some new resort town. And there are people whose families have lived there for decades and yes, some parts have seen better days.
The argument is always how the casinos haven’t lived up to their end of the bargain of helping revitalize the place. Not sure how true or not that is but I do see a lot of bright lights, an outlet area, convention area and generally the place seems to be bustling with tourists. Perfect? Nah, but what city is?
We got there around mid-afternoon. The place was spotless. And there were workers all over the place, people sweeping, buffing up floors. The check-in people were great, no last-minute glitches where they have no clue how to spell Hachadorian, etc.
We spent time at the pool, enjoying the warm sun and relaxing to the beat of music piped out from inside the casino – or so I imagined. It may have just been someone’s radio but I didn’t care. It was just nice to listen to music, hear the sounds of the surf and the waves hitting the beach. There was the smell of popcorn, pizza, all sorts of food smells from the Boardwalk.
I think the nice thing about the casinos and especially the Trop is that you don’t have to leave to eat and play and generally have fun. We hit an Italian restaurant, found sweet desserts at a shop, saw some crazy looking hats that lit up, even found a store that caters to pets! I got the chance to watch the new Batman movie at the IMAX and totally enjoyed it. I laughed as the kids next to me applauded at the end.
Yes, it was tough to leave. When you’re a tourist people love to cater to your needs. Whether it’s the waiters, the maids, whoever, they all seem to genuinely want you to have a nice time. And a special shout out to the Trop’s Diane Spiers and Lauren Clinton whose jobs are to help media people like me. They hooked me up with some passes to the arcade in the Trop for my youngest to have some fun too. After all, it’s not just slot machines and blackjack tables. He had some fun too.
I still think the Trop’s faux blue skies ceiling makes it a treat. It’s like being in the downtown outdoor market area of an island, wicker fans twirling, music playing, vendors selling their stuff.
So as I head into the weekend, I have at least three days of summer memories. It was a short respite but a fun time nonetheless.
Don’t worry Mr. Double Diamond slot machine, I got your number…
– Andy Hachadorian