Given new casinos opening in Pennsylvania and Maryland, Atlantic City, New Jersey is hoping to attract two new demographics to the seaside destination: LGBT customers and foodies. And, of course, the two groups probably have their areas of overlap.
According to Jeff Guaracino, spokesman for the Atlantic City Alliance, this is just the kick in the seat that Atlantic City needs to stop being "that other, shittier Vegas" I've never considered actually visiting.
Atlantic City is getting ready for a new kind of renaissance. It needed to diversify, get younger visitors coming from nightclub and dayclub scenes, and to get foodies and gay and lesbian travelers to come to keep up with the competition.
And how are they going to do this? Well, through people like Guy Fieri! Making C. A. Pinkham rub his hands together in glee of potential stories, apparently the Food Network star is opening a steakhouse called "Chophouse at Bally's" in July, which will include more of his crazily concocted items like, "Java Rubbed Ribeye Chop and "Jersey Shore Clams Casino." I don't even know what those mean. Pinkham, sir, I demand explanations.
Bringing in these top-rated chefs and these celebrities of caliber presents visitors with something they have not seen before.
Oh and also by making specific beaches "gay."
The mayor recently rededicated the gay-friendly beach (at Park Place)and we have new gay and lesbian events coming here this year for the first time.
For the first time, sir? How long has Vegas had LGBT stuff? (No, really, when? I've never been gambling, I actually have no idea). Well, apparently Atlantic City's LGBT stuff includes "Sand Blast weekend" July 18-20, which features dance parties, a "Lez Volley" beach volleyball tournament and a "Drag Race & Hand Bag Toss" on the Boardwalk.
"Lez Volley"? Cute, Atlantic City business people. Very cute.
Honestly, I have to admit, I'm starting to want to visit. I had always heard that Atlantic City was in pretty piss poor repair, but apparently the once iconic four mile stretch of boardwalk has experienced something of a rebirth since Gov. Chris Christie invested heavily in the area to boost tourism to the Garden State. His administration earmarked nearly $200 million to clean up the beachfront, invest in the casinos, and help new eateries get established. It also includes funding for tearing down old buildings and signs and establishing a city ambassador program.
The Boardwalk looks cleaner, the Boardwalk has more lights, there's all these alfresco dining options now and beach bars. It is happening at lightning pace. Now it looks like a much better place than it has in a long time.
Atlantic City, here I come... And maybe I can finally find out what the hell the buzz about Guy Fieri is about and why he deserves to have Pinkham keep writing about him over and over and over again.
Image via Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.