In the simulated world of Atlantic City casino hotels, time is fluid. Like Vegas, a conspicuous absence of clocks and windows—who needs daylight when you’ve got rose-patterned carpets and gleaming marble columns?—tricks the guest into never leaving. As a result, his experience plays out uninterrupted. He glides blissfully between elevator and lobby bar, from boutique shops to the casino floor. Chronology never enters the picture.
Some find the casinos, and the glaring absence of those recently shuttered, quite depressing. Not me. Like the setting to a Lana Del Rey music video, their seductive, 24/7 theatrics and faux opulence is a never-ending source of amusement. But recent negative publicity has deterred many from setting foot here. A Guardian profile last fall ran menacingly under the paper’s “Urban Decay” column.
Related: The Best Beaches in New Jersey
It’s true, the casinos are no longer the money machines they once were. But rather than signaling the end, some see this as merely a transition period. “Atlantic City," one optimistic local tells me, "is finally becoming what it was always meant to be: an entertainment destination for families.” Just how many families would choose this blighted Monopoly town over, say Disney World, remains to be seen.
Still, I’m a firm believer in second (and third, and fourth) chances. Could the magic really be tapped from Atlantic City? On a recent Saturday night, some friends and I hit the town to find out.