Plus DrewToonz on the Air Show, Album of the Week, and Atlantic City's Farmers Market
Late last Wednesday, Aug. 3, it was announced that Steel Pier Associates, LLC, has become the new and latest owner of Atlantic City’s famed Steel Pier, the Atlantic City Boardwalk amusement park with a rich history that includes legendary concerts, attractions such as the Diving Horse and Diving Bell, and which in recent years has catered to families as an amusement park. After years of speculation with regard to the sale of the pier, Steel Pier Associates purchased the venue from Trump Entertainment Group, Inc., “weeks before it was to be presented at a special auction,” according to release sent to the media. The 42,000 square-foot pier, its buildings, a full-scale heliport, and the rights to the name, Steel Pier, are all included in the sale, the amount of which has been reported to be $4.25 million. The principals of Steel Pier Associates include the Catanoso brothers — Anthony, Charles and William, “as well as long-standing partner, Ed Olwell, all of whom have been the leaders of the companies leasing and operating Steel Pier for the past 20 years,” states the media release. A new partner with the company is Paul Steelman, an internationally acclaimed entertainment architect, best known for designing the Sands Macao, the first Las Vegas Style casino in Asia. “This purchase means more to us than just owning the structure on which we operate an amusement park,” Anthony Catanoso, president of Steel Pier Associates, said in the news release. “For us, it’s an honor to own something that has touched and entertained so many people over the years.” Catanoso added that changes are in store for the Steel Pier in the future now that the sale is final. “As a lease holder, we were unable to make long-term plans. As the owner of Steel Pier, we now have some amazing opportunities that we will be evaluating for the future,” said Catanoso.
— Jeff Schwachter
More Than a Decade of the Atlantic City Farmers Market
As New Jersey celebrates Farmers Market Week and revels in the summer bounty of New Jersey fresh produce, it’s a good time to stop in at the Atlantic City Farmers Market, which has returned for another year at the city’s Center City Park on Atlantic Avenue between North and South Carolina aves. The market is held on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10am-4pm. In its 11th year, the market draws heavily from farms in the Atlantic County and Cumberland County areas, according to officials from the A.C. Special Improvement District, which operates the market. According to the State Department of Agriculture, there are 147 community farmers markets in the state supplying Jersey Fresh produce, most of which is picked at the peak of ripeness within 24 hours of sale to ensure the best taste and highest quality. And as any resident knows, August is the state’s peak agricultural season offering a host of produce including sweet corn, tons of fresh fruit and vegetables and, of course, the famed Jersey tomato. Indulge yourself. — Mike Pritchard
An indie-rock duo named after a centuries-old tree in their home state of Maryland, Wye Oak has released its third and finest album for the indie-rock label Merge Records. On Civilian, released in March, but growing in popularity ever since, songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Jenn Wasner and drummer Andy Stack create crisp autumnal soundscapes that stack up with the best of the melancholy Indie-rock bunch. On tunes such as the spooky opener “Two Small Deaths” and the gripping title cut, Wasner sounds a bit like Cat Power’s Chan Marshall, but with a deeper despair in her gentle voice. But don’t think the album’s all quiet and sad. Crunchy guitars open the tune “Holy Holy” and color the catchy “Hot as Day.” — Jeff Schwachter
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Pending approval by New Jersey casino regulators, the Meruelo Group of Downey, California, will purchase Trump Plaza for $20 million, and plans to close the deal by the end of May.
George Jackson opened the Steel Pier in 1898, less than 50 years after Atlantic City’s incorporation. He was followed by owner Frank P. Gravatt, a showman who realized the public’s appetite for an eclectic mix of entertainment in one location at one price, 25 cents.
The Catanoso brothers were already seasoned amusement-park veterans when they reopened Atlantic City’s Steel Pier with 14 rides in 1993, a scant 22 days after signing a five-year lease that extended to the year the famous Pier turned 100.
One year to the date Gov. Chris Christie signed landmark legislation designed to revitalize Atlantic City and set the surrounding region on a new course for economic growth, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) adopted the Atlantic City Tourism District Master Plan in a special meeting Wednesday, Feb. 1, at the A.C. Convention Center.
The governor visited a local orchard to discuss measures to help farmers, the state economy and enhance "the visibility and accessibility of Jersey Fresh produce and Made with Jersey Fresh items at food concessions in state agencies."
In its ninth year, The Atlantic City Thunder Over the Boardwalk Air Show will fill the city’s skylines with jets, stunt planes and parachuters on Wednesday, Aug. 17, all capped off by a performance from the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds precision flying team, which has become the air show’s steady headliner each year.
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