Two weeks ago, on the last days of October, Superstorm Sandy unleashed its fury on the US east coast. Much of the devastation was in the state of New Jersey. I watched the news non-stop for a few days because my sister and her family live in nearby New York City, which was similarly hit. As I saw the pictures of destruction on TV and the internet, I try to recall the Atlantic City that I visited two years ago.
It was a weekend overnight trip to Atlantic City in early March 2010. No planning. A couple of days before our group (my sister, her husband, their two kids, and I) drove there, I booked our accommodation online.
It was cold at that time, and I was shivering most of the day and especially at night because I brought a light sweater only. It was a mistake to think that Atlantic City would be a lot less colder than New York City. It was still winter time, after all, though late in the season.
We checked-in at Days Inn Boardwalk, a small place compared to the huge casino-hotels along the famed boardwalk. Nice, convenient place to stay just right next door to the casinos and other attractions.
I thought at first that there were only a few people visiting the city. The boardwalk was almost empty when we arrived there mid morning. Then, we were shocked when we entered some of the casinos and saw lots and lots of people gambling away! The gaming areas were very spacious and all kinds of people tried their luck in the gaming tables and slot machines.
Gambling is very serious business in Atlantic City. Hotels, casinos, and other establishments go out of their way to attract the big spenders. Free accommodation, meals, transportation and tours are some of the perks given to top customers.
What to do here during the day other than gamble the day away? Walk along the boardwalk, play ball with the kids on the beach, eat, and shop, shop, shop. We didn’t know that there was an outlet mall here. But that didn’t stop us of course; we couldn’t resist the lure of outlet shopping. But mostly it was really just window shopping for us.
Frankly, I was surprised at the number of people inside the casinos. Why do people gamble? I’d like to think most of those who were there were just having fun, trying to forget about problems at home and at work, trying their luck and hoping for even a small win.
Atlantic City for me is one of those cities that you visit once in your life, just to say you’ve been there. Nice beach and boardwalk, generally nice (some garish) hotels, but not much else. Unless gambling and shopping are your main preoccupations in life.
So what now after Superstorm Sandy? Atlantic City and other parts of New Jersey are rebuilding. It may take some time before the people affected will recover from the massive storm damage.
What of the inveterate gamblers needing their fix? Well, the casinos have since reopened. But if you somehow feel not right to be going to Atlantic City to gamble at this time, fret not. The online world gives us many other options, like online gaming sites. Internet gambling sites have become popular due to technological advances that make gambling more attractive and accessible to a broader range of people. There are online lotteries, casinos, poker sites, sports betting sites and other forms of online gambling. The legality of online gambling varies per country, so make sure to check local laws first.
I have good memories of Atlantic City, and I choose now to remember those happy memories, rather than dwell on the sight of destroyed homes, businesses, and entire neighborhoods. I pray for the lost lives, and I also pray for recovery and healing for all those affected by the storm. Believing in the strength of the human spirit, I know that New Jersey will be back to its fun-loving ways in no time.