Monday, July 19, 2010

Atlantic City: Not America's Favorite Playground

Atlantic City has always been the bastard child of America. It’s not even a real metropolitan center. Sidewalks and tall buildings do not make a city, it takes more than that. AC has all of the problems of a city and none of the advantages. The people running this city are not so blind that they cannot see that, or at least I would hope so. That is until I read an article in the Atlantic City Press about raids on the boardwalk.

During the July 4th holiday weekend Moisse Delgado, a councilman at-large, was in a shop on the boardwalk with his son and was disgusted with what he found there. The wide selection of samurai swords and water pipes that are for “tobacco use only” disgusted the poor man. This led to a city-wide crackdown on shops selling contraband on the boards ranging from bb guns to brass knuckles. Shops were closed and owners were arrested. There is one big flaw with this whole plan. How does a councilman from Atlantic City not know about these shops?

Everybody knows that they can find questionable products on the boardwalk; it has been that way since man laid pieces of wood next to bodies of water. Boardwalks are like Chinatown, you can find anything you want if you know where to look and the right questions to ask. Hell if you were so inclined, I bet you could find your very own Mogwai if you look right.

Aren't they adorable?

The people running AC want to improve its image, this is admirable. Setting up photo ops of inspectors holding up prop swords does not make the city any better though. These shops are in the shadow of casinos, epicenters of greed and corruption. The politicians want to make it seem like they are trying to make the city safer by getting rid of these establishments but it’s all a sham. And shop owners are now paying the price for this photo op.

This is what Atlantic City is really like, not quite as adorable.

Atlantic City’s slogan was once “America’s Favorite Playground.” Now with a slogan as gaudy and corny as “Always Turned On” the city worries about its image. It’s all a show and I’m not buying the ticket.

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