Board Work: Atlantic City’s Oceanfront Upgrade

Atlantic City's boardwalk—considered the world's first—has seen significant upgrades, additions and investment.


Library of Congress.

THEN: A crew in Atlantic City clears the Boardwalk after a late-season snowstorm on Easter Sunday, 1915. Atlantic City’s Boardwalk—considered the world’s first—made its debut on June 16, 1870. Originally constructed to keep sand out of hotel lobbies, the mile-long wooden walkway was assembled in three months and cost the city about $5,000. After a hurricane destroyed most of the Boardwalk in 1889, a new version was unveiled the following year, nearly quadrupling the length of the original.


Courtesy of Kim Tyler/Revel.

NOW: In May 2012, the Boardwalk welcomed the $2.4 billion Revel Resort to its row of lavish casino hotels. But even the excitement of the Revel’s debut could not awaken Atlantic City from its current economic slumber. According to the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, revenues from gambling for the first nine months of 2012 were down 4.8 percent from the same period the previous year. It’s not a new story; the city’s gaming revenues, which totaled $3.3 billion in 2011, have fallen by about $2 billion since 2006. The decline is generally attributed to the advent of popular casinos in neighboring states like Pennsylvania and New York.

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