Atlantic City is the city where director Louis Malle portrayed Susan Sarandon smearing her arms with lemon juice before an absorbed Burt Lancaster, in a twilight drama that is as content as it is erotic. But Atlantic City is today also, Donald Trump through, the scene of a performance dynamite with the pretense of a symbol: that of turning into rubble, also physically, any trace of the former Republican president.
The announced demolition of a hotel-casino that was his property, located in the city of gambling and hotels, the rusty wheels and the diner With neon claims, this Wednesday has become a spectacle that nobody wanted to miss, to the point that many curious people have paid to park in nearby esplanades and some hotels in the area offered rooms with champagne to toast the demolition, literally speaking, of the legacy of the ex-president. A powerful, postmodern image: Trump, reduced to rubble amid a colossal, almost nuclear dust cloud. Figuratively, of course.
Of the three hotel-casinos that the New York tycoon owned in New Jersey City, a monoculture of roulette and baccarat that saw better times, the so-called Trump Plaza, with 39 floors and 600 rooms, was subjected to a controlled blasting early in the morning. in the morning. Located on the front line, it no longer belonged to the Republican since the billionaire Carl C. Icahn – who later financed his campaign – bought it, but the Trump brand remains, hence the curiosity of seeing how it faded amidst a rain of rubble. Let architectural historians have no fear: nothing is lost, just a bland and functional building, blunt and cheap.
So much expectation surrounded the demolition that the city council raised the possibility of auctioning the honor of giving the download button, but it was finally discarded after the objections of the company that owns the property. The proceeds of the auction, with a starting price of 175,000 dollars (about 145,000 euros) and an estimated bid of one million, was going to go to finance a youth organization in the city.
The establishment opened in 1984 during the boom gambling in Atlantic City, the only city to defy the Las Vegas monopoly, with slot machines failing like carnival shotguns and two women injured on opening day by the avalanche that followed a false fire threat, as recounted by the local media back in the day. At its peak, it employed 6,100 people and poured huge profits back to Trump. But the opening of other establishments in nearby states – Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and New York – marked the beginning of the city’s decline, where there were once 13 casinos, and today only nine. The generalization of online sports betting and the economic crisis of 2008 dealt a severe setback to this leisure and business model, and the old-fashioned Trump Plaza was not spared from ruin. It closed in 2014, but not without filing a bankruptcy file in 1991 among other attempts to restructure the business.
Atlantic City, of 38,000, is not looking up. Threatened with bankruptcy five years ago due to the casino crisis, the closure of the premises due to the coronavirus last year left 27,000 people on the street, before a dropper reopening. A study by the Brooking Institution analysis center on the impact of the pandemic in metropolitan areas established in March that New Jersey would be the third worst hit in the United States.
The Trump Plaza, which leaves a large lot clearly recyclable, had become a threatening and dangerous shell, from which pieces of concrete and sheet metal were detached, the mayor, Democrat Marty Small, explained in December when announcing the demolition and the charitable end of the failed auction, while he angrily recalled how Trump had mocked all his neighbors by abandoning their properties when he saw the crisis arrive. A Trumpist version of Take the money and run, Woody Allen’s first film, and fittingly much more tacky.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.