Plus links to related content in AC Weekly's second annual Then and Now special issue.
What in your opinion was A.C.’s greatest time period?
The first 10 years of the casinos. It was busy. Gaming brought people to the town. It was starting to turn into a destination. It was a town where people came to be entertained.
What do you think A.C. needs to do now to get back to its roots as a tourist attraction in the U.S.?
Atlantic City should have been the Las Vegas of the east. It should have been the number one resort in the world with the beach, the Boardwalk, and the three biggest cities in the world within driving distance. Hopefully, the state will come in and turn it around. But they have to make up their mind whether they want this to be a family destination or “Sin City.” They need to bring in attractions other than gambling, clean up the beaches, bring back security to the city, and there needs to be a focus: where are we going?
Who is your Atlantic City hero and why?
Governor Christie for sending in troops to take over Atlantic City.
Throughout your time in A.C. what’s one of the strangest things that happened to you?
I remember being dropped down to the bottom of the ocean in the Diving Bell at the Steel Pier as water leaked in from all around. There’d be about 10 people in it and the whole way down water would be pouring in, coming in from around the windows.
Do you watch Boardwalk Empire? How does it compare to real history.
Yes, I do. My grandfather was the Chief of the vice squad during that time period and the stories I heard are totally different from the way prohibition is described in the show. Most people around that time were afraid to commit crimes. Nucky Johnson was a benevolent friend of everybody, and he was very close to my grandfather.
* Entertainment in AC *
Black tells the story of the time the Beach Boys came to town: “I parked cars at the time, says, Black. When the Beach Boys made their appearance live on the beach there was not one more space in the whole city to park one more car.”
Black recalled the story of his father, who worked security for the ACCC, transporting the Beatles from the convention center to their hotel using city buses, a White House sub truck, a Bruno’s truck, and limo decoys to escape the thousands and thousands of fans.
READ RELATED THEN & NOW ARTICLES:
Click here to read a correlation between the real-life Nucky Johnson and the Nucky Thompson depicted on Boardwalk Empire.
Click here to read about a history of Atlantic City in songs.
Click here to read about Atlantic City on film, then and now.
Click here to read about Atlantic City's Inlet district, past and present.
Click here to read more about the Pine Barrens.
The Miss America Pageant is coming back home to Atlantic City in 2013, but it may not be the Miss America Pageant of old. In an exclusive interview with Atlantic City Weekly, the organization's CEO Art McMaster says a date for the pageant should be set within a week or so. Are there more changes in store for this year's pageant?
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.
Bell on opening up for Van Halen, new music and video projects, his mid-'60s band the Jazziacs, which played Atlantic City's jazz clubs at the time, and his legendary Godfather.
For past interviews, photo galleries, your favorite columns, features and more, check out the Atlantic City Weekly archives where you can read every back issue over the past 11 years!
“The Academy was founded with the intent of meeting the needs of the casino industry. And that was a pretty big investment for the college."
Seeds for the Sixers’ successful ‘66-’67 season planted in Margate
Two and half decades prior to the Atlantic City depicted in Boardwalk Empire, our region’s original dining dynasty began. Harry “Dock” Dougherty opened the doors of his eponymous seafood house, Dock’s Oyster House, at 2405 Atlantic Ave., in 1897.
From the early days of the city through the 1950s, the Inlet was a solid working-class neighborhood buttressed by summer rentals and home to many of the city’s workers.
“There was no crime in Atlantic City — they [the “organization”] took care of crime,” says local resident Richard Black, whose grandfather was a law enforcement official at the time.
Think about it — our nation was still engaged in the Civil War when Renault first opened its doors in Egg Harbor City. By 1870 he had introduced his New Jersey Champagne. Renault Winery soon won prizes for its wines and became the largest distributor of champagne in the United States.
Local History: 'Boardwalk Empire'
Old Atlantic City: Pre-Gaming Era
Atlantic City's Casino Era
Tribute to Tony Mart’s
Houdini, Sir Doyle Do AC