- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Gamblers return to Atlantic City, where residents had most to lose
Question of the Day
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Many gamblers never leave the multibillion-dollar row of oceanfront casinos towering over the world famous boardwalk here, but if they walked across Pacific Avenue, they would find a church that feeds homeless people.
They would see block after block of cash for gold shops. And if they walked further toward the bay on certain streets, past tiny convenience stores and strip clubs, they would find neighborhoods where poverty runs high with problems unimaginable in resort towns along much of New Jersey’s storm-battered coast.
While there are exceptions, including an upscale outlet mall near the main corridor into town, the contrast between life on opposite sides of Atlantic City’s Pacific Avenue has always been stark — but perhaps never so stark as on Friday, when New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie ordered the city and casinos reopened.
Nearly a week after Superstorm Sandy forced the evacuation of barrier island towns all along New Jersey’s coast, gamblers trickled back into town alongside people who live in neighborhoods the tourists rarely see. In flood-ravaged pockets of the city, people spent the weekend sifting through dark and moldy living rooms and kitchens.
“Everything looked fine coming in,” he said.
Off the main corridors into town, things were not fine. Soggy mattresses, backpacks, CDs, couches, VHS tapes, toys, bottles, pillows, vacuum cleaners, car parts, roofing shingles, umbrellas, rugs, siding, garbage and food wrappers lay piled up in yards and on streets for blocks in some neighborhoods Saturday afternoon.
On the 300 block of north Connecticut Avenue, Antoinette Hooper, 77, and her son, Stephen Hunter, 48, returned to their small row home Saturday morning. It was dank and dark and the floors were soaked. A brown line on the top of a now dingy, soggy floral-patterned couch showed the high water mark during the flood.
“The whole downstairs gone,” Mr. Hunter said. “All gone.”
The drywall rippled in sections and their newly tiled kitchen floor was muddy and buckled. There were trophies and framed black-and-white family photos, reminders of better days, lining the walls mostly untouched.
Ms. Hooper had spent much of the day on the phone calling a government hot line to ask what to do, but she said the person on the other end kept telling her she had the wrong Social Security number, even as she read the information directly from the card in her hand.
“My mother’s 77 years old, why is she going to lie?” Mr. Hunter said.
The mother and son, of course, had heard that the casinos were reopening. They heard officials say it was important for Atlantic City to get working again, that the storm actually could have been worse.
By then, public attention had shifted to the devastation in places up north like Staten Island. But here on Connecticut Avenue, the feeling was that things still were pretty bad, that it didn’t matter much either way whether the casinos opened.
“The casinos in this town are what sells,” Ms. Hooper said, “but we don’t get any benefit from it.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Jim McElhatton is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- EPA official sentenced for bizarre 'spy' ruse
- Independent counsel eyed in Fast and Furious
- House seeks Fast and Furious gun-walking documents
- Details emerge on bureaucrat who pretended to be CIA operative
- Stung by defeat: SEC hires trial consultants
Latest Blog Entries
By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Special ops vets slam military benefit cuts
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Southern Fried Politics from the Lens of a Persian-American Millennial
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow