Goodbye, Steel Pier in Atlantic City NJ.

Another Seaside park closing its doors.
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Goodbye, Steel Pier in Atlantic City NJ.

Postby Johnny Upsidedown » Mon Aug 21, 2006 10:47 am

Big T mr Trump is closing the pier.

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news ... 8474c.html
park info here http://www.rcdb.com/pd211.htm

Trump to redevelop another remnant of ‘America's Favorite Playground'
By DONALD WITTKOWSKI Staff Writer, (609) 272-7258

ATLANTIC CITY — Fifty years have passed since a 10-year-old boy named John Baker visited Atlantic City on a summer day to enjoy the amusements on the Steel Pier.

Baker's memories have faded over time, but one thing he remembers is the extraordinary sight of a horse and its rider plunging off a tower and splashing 40 feet below into the water.

“Who could possibly forget the famous diving horse?” recalled Baker, now 60, who returned to the Steel Pier this past week for the first time since his boyhood visit in 1956.

Baker, of Nazareth, Pa., brought his 10-year-old grandson, Daniel, and 5-year-old granddaughter, Brianna, with him. Unlike during Baker's childhood, the grandchildren couldn't see the diving horse performance — the iconic equine that symbolized the oddities and wonders of the Steel Pier has long since faded into history.

Soon, the Steel Pier itself will follow the diving horse, vanishing into the past after a storied century-long run as the “Showplace of the Nation.” The Boardwalk amusement park at Pennsylvania Avenue is scheduled to close for good after the summer season to make way for a redevelopment project for the neighboring Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort.

Steel Pier's demise continues Atlantic City's evolution from a family-friendly resort town to an adults-only gambling mecca. Just three years ago, the city ditched its G-rated “America's Favorite Playground” slogan for the risque “Atlantic City: Always Turned On.”
“If this city becomes nothing but a gambling town, there will be no reason to bring the children here,” Baker complained. “If they're going to redevelop Steel Pier, it will be a big mistake. Where will the children go?”

Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., which owns the Taj Mahal and the Steel Pier, is considering plans to build new retail and entertainment attractions and a luxury condominium and hotel project geared toward the well-heeled gambling crowd. Another option, though less likely, would be to add casino space to the Steel Pier, Trump Entertainment President and Chief Executive Officer James B. Perry said.

“We have a company board meeting in November, and I suspect sometime after that we might have some announcements,” Perry said of the pier's redevelopment.

David G. Schwartz, a gaming expert and historian, said the redevelopment plan could succeed with tourists if it tastefully combines the Steel Pier's older charms with its modern appeal.

“Some people want to take their kids to a log flume. Some people want to play blackjack. Some people want to take their kids on a roller coaster. Some people want to go to a nightclub,” said Schwartz, an Atlantic City native who is the director of the Gaming Studies Research Center at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

While making a publicity appearance in Atlantic City last month, Donald Trump promised a lavish makeover of the pier to complement the Taj Mahal's ongoing expansion and renovation, including a $250 million hotel tower opening in 2008.

“We will be making some exciting announcements for the pier,” Trump said. “The pier is unique. It juts out more than 900 feet into the ocean.”

At 1,000 feet long, the Steel Pier cuts into the waves like an oceanliner plying the seas. In its heyday, it was much longer. A 1969 fire shortened its size by about a third.

Opening in 1898, the Steel Pier delighted crowds for decades with big-name entertainers ranging from Al Jolson to Frank Sinatra, daredevil stunt performers and hard-to-believe animal acts that included the diving horse and Rex the Wonder Dog, a water-skiing canine in the 1930s. One memorable oddity was the diving bell, which took thrillseekers underwater in murky seas.

The Steel Pier's current incarnation, though vastly different from its glory days as the Showplace of the Nation in the early and mid-1900s, retains the feel of an old-fashioned amusement park.

Perched atop colorful horses — unlike the diving variety, these are only figurines — children smile and let out shrieks of joy while whirling around a carousel. Carnival-like games of chance offer stuffed animals and live goldfish as prizes. Kiddie cars spin around a track. A log flume and a Ferris wheel treat riders to dazzling views of the ocean.

“Our kids enjoy the beach and Boardwalk, but they also like to come here,” said Mike Kastner, a Beach Haven resident accompanied by his son, Axel, 12, and daughters Chloe, 9, and Laurel, 7.

Kastner fears Steel Pier's closing will mean the end of family entertainment in Atlantic City. He urged Trump to scrap the redevelopment plan so that the pier could be preserved for children's amusements.

“I think it would be a shame,” Kastner said. “I hope he rethinks his plans. If he doesn't, it would be a bad idea.”

Similarly angered by the redevelopment plan is Anthony Catanoso, whose family has operated the Steel Pier amusement park under contract with Trump for about 15 years.

“We're upset about it,” Catanoso said. “We're not happy to lose the pier. It's going to be a big loss to the city and the children.”

Catanoso noted the pier's place in community charity work, including days when the amusement park is opened to local children for free and to reward students for perfect attendance in school. All that, he said, will disappear when the pier closes.

“My feeling is, as long as there's a beach and Boardwalk here, there should be family entertainment. We are that family entertainment,” he said. “We will hate to go. We'll miss Atlantic City, and I think the families will miss us.”
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Postby ECZenith » Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:03 am

Absolutely unblievable. 2 jersey piers in one year. Way to go greedheads.
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Postby jamesdillaman » Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:05 am

Why are all these parks being redeveloped and the parks that should be (cough, magic mountain, cough) are still there?
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Postby Rider117 » Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:09 am

This sucks, I did hear though that Funtown Pier will be open next year.

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Postby YoshiFan » Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:09 am

I feel bad that the park is closing but I hardly went to the pier even though I go to Atlantic City a lot during the summer. The park is dirty, feels like a carnival (rigged skill games with operators asking everyone to play their games) and I don't even feel safe going on rides there (especially after the log flume incident last year)

The bad side of this is that there becoming less and less for families in Atlantic City. Tivoli Pier (indoor park inside Trop World Casino) has been closed for years, the Ocean One Mall was redesigned into a high class shopping area (no more arcade) and Trump Taj Mahal even had a rule that if you are under 18, you aren't allowed to wander the casino (not the actual casino floor but the building like going into shops).

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Postby jamesdillaman » Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:19 am

What this area needs is a nice indoor waterpark. Drop the kids off and go gamble!
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Postby YoshiFan » Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:24 am

That would be great, and would be another activity for the late fall/winter/early spring time of year (the piers at Ocean City close in early October which will now be the closest amusements) when there isn't anything to do in the area except go to a casino

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Postby jamesdillaman » Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:27 am

^That's what I mean. They built one here at PKI, a great bear lodge, which I think would be good in the winter, IF they allow locals to go, but I've heard mixed reports on that. One at a resort city, like ACY, would do quite well if you ask me.
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Postby HCOSurfer90 » Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:27 am

Wait, since when is Funtown Pier closing?

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Postby Johnny Upsidedown » Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:29 am

Its allways a shame to see a park close up. Seems its the sign of the times as people say. Hard to see where a casino atmosphere could be consdered a family atmosphere just cause it has a beach and ocean.

Looks like I am going to have to make a special trip to the pier while I am up in the area next week. I wonder when its closing the doors for good.
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