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Summer At The Shore

This might just be Atlantic City’s most exciting summer yet

By Dave Bontempo

The spectacular new Revel casino opened in May; the updated Golden Nugget has emerged from the old Trump Marina; a scaled-down Woodstock music festival is happening at Bader Field; and you can even experience a wine-tasting event that is second to none, and a breathtaking air show.

Beyond its natural vacation splendor—which features miles of beaches and the calming Atlantic Ocean –Atlantic City features more entertainment per square foot than almost anywhere else on the planet. A incredible summer agenda of events is now underway, adding more excitement to a market that has recently seen some impressive new arrivals.
The spectacular new Revel casino opened in May; the updated Golden Nugget has emerged from the old Trump Marina;  a scaled-down Woodstock music festival is happening at Bader Field; and you can even experience a wine-tasting event that is second to none, and a breathtaking air show.
Networks are flocking here with the same frenzy as customers. The Food Network will showcase the wine-tasting festival. Look for the LPGA tournament on the Golf Channel. The sparkling Revel is sure to gain significant television attention. And the concerts feature well-known performers, giants within their genre.
So splash on the sunscreen by day. Cavort here at night. This is the resort’s answer to a famous Lovin Spoonful song…In the Summer, in the City. And there may be no better city to be in this summer.

 

REVEL RAISES THE ANTE

Revel reflects a dual-edged optimism in Atlantic City.
One, the city is finally building. This is the first construction project since the Borgata opened in 2002. Beyond the magnificence of having the tallest structure in the city, 130,000 square feet of gaming space, 1400 rooms, two nightclubs, 10 pools, 14 restaurants and three live entertainment venues, Revel raises hopes.
Can this casino jump start a city that fights nearby competition and the overall gaming downturn? Expect a leapfrog effect if Revel, which opened in late May, turns out to be a success. Its competitors will look to refresh and rebuild, in order to keep up.
Revel has a number of amenities aimed at the younger generation. It has a 2-acre landscaped rooftop deck containing a few outdoor pools, cabanas, fire pits, and a “pine grove” (known as Sky Garden) with over 30,000 live trees and plants. The lobby is located on the same level as the outdoor deck, six stories above the ocean, and a three-story nightclub will overlook the lobby. All the main areas of the building are connected by a five-story glass-enclosed atrium in the center of the resort.
And that’s not all. Adjacent to the lobby, but separated by a wall, is large spa featuring an indoor/outdoor pool with a waterfall. Next to the resort is a private beach area, named Revel Beach, located at the tip of Metropolitan Avenue. The fourteen restaurants in Revel are mostly located around the casino floor, the third largest in Atlantic City. A two-story circular bar, called “The Social,” is located at the center of the casino, and one of the nightclubs is located next to the casino floor.
The complex also features a 5,050-seat arena and a 700-seat theater for smaller shows. The arena’s seating is retractable so that the space can be used for conventions or meetings.

Summer At The Shore

GOLDEN NUGGET’S NEW IDENTITY

Golden Nugget has historic significance in Atlantic City. Three decades ago, it was the first property resembling the classic Las Vegas property East Coast gamblers once flocked to. Back then, it was at the southernmost point of the Atlantic City casino district.
Now, the name sits at the north end of town at the former Trump Marina property. It was purchased last year by Landry’s restaurants and placed nicely into the market. With roughly 75,000 feet of gaming space and 740 rooms, it fits the small to mid-range identity, a formula that works well for Las Vegas “locals” casinos.
It may work here as well.  Trump Marina was always the smallest player in the heavy-hitting north end of Atlantic City. It struggled to find an identity as its free-spending neighbors, Harrah’s and Borgata, completed a billion dollars of expansion a few years back.
What the big spenders accomplished was to focus attention on the marina district. The new Nugget seeks to maximize its placement. It features a $6 million spa and salon, high-limit slots, a lounge with several flat screen TV’s, seven restaurants including the Chart House, shopping, a wine and wifi room for people to catch up on their e-mails. Then of course there’s the gorgeous exterior, and the marina.
The Nugget is large enough to satisfy all gaming appetites, but small enough to not swallow patrons up.

THE CULINARY ELITE

The Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival has become the culinary equivalent of a major boxing match inside Convention Hall. Celebrities from all walks of life converge on Caesars July 26-29 for an event which keeps growing more popular. The Festival has grown steadily since its 2007 debut and obtained major credentials two years by partnering with the Food Network as its title sponsor.

The Festival has welcomed renowned Food Network chefs including Sunny Anderson, Anne Burrell, Paula Deen, Guy Fieri, and Alex Guarnaschelli. Last year brought headlining chefs Sunny Anderson, Guy Fieri, Robert Irvine, Pat and Gina Neely, and cast members from the Next Food Network Star and the new culinary channel from the Food Network, the Cooking Channel. Hosted by Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort, Showboat and Bally’s, the 2011 festival once again benefited the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
This year, it boasts one the strongest celebrity chef  lineups ever. The talent will include Tom Colicchio of Top Chef fame, Food Network’s Tyler Florence and Anne Burrell, Robert Irvine, and Aaron Sanchez, and New Jersey’s favorite pastry chef, Buddy Valastro. Also, chef and television personality Andrew Zimmern will make his first Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival appearance.

AC’S VERSION OF WOODSTOCK

Bader Field rolls out an exceptionally high-level concert series beginning June 15-17 with Phish, a wildly talented group known for its eclectic musical styles and extended jams.
The Black Angels, a psychedelic rock band, checks in for a June 23 show. They’ll also be part of the first-ever Orion Music Festival, an affair headlined by Metallica on June 23-24. The legendary rockers will appear each night to perform its iconic albums The Black Album and Ride the Lightning. More than 20 additional groups will be showcased.
No, the venue won’t resemble upstate New York, the celebrated 1960’s home of Woodstock, but a Dave Matthews-inspired music carnival last summer brought 72,000 people to Bader Field, generating about $5 million in business. That was one of the most lucrative uses ever for this facility. Four other concerts have been approved for 2012, although the final acts have not been decided upon.

Summer At The Shore

WHO NEEDS LIGHTNING WITH THIS THUNDER?

The summer will close with another signature Atlantic City mega-event. The 10th annual Atlantic City Airshow, dubbed “Thunder over the Boardwalk,” carries a unique twist this time around: it’s been switched to Friday, August 17 at approximately noontime, abandoning its midweek format that drew nearly a million people to Absecon Island last year.
If that was the midweek response, what might a weekend bring? We expect attendance to be enormous. The airshow is a tremendous spectacle, highlighting the best of the United States’ fighting machines.
The Atlantic City Airshow Thunder Over The Boardwalk is a community partnership between the Greater Atlantic City Chamber; the 177th Fighter Wing of the N.J. Air National Guard; South Jersey Transportation Authority; FAA William J. Hughes Tech Center; The Atlantic City International Airport; David Schultz Airshows, LLC; the City of Atlantic City; and the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority.
Bring on the Army. Bring on the Air Force. Mind-boggling aerial maneuvers, combined with ear-splitting noise, make this NASCAR in the sky. Or an armed forces aerial parade. Either way, the popularity of this event continues to, well, skyrocket. And it’s free.
The Thunderbirds, the Air Force’s official demonstration team, and the Golden Knights, the Army’s parachute team, are both set to appear. Last year, the South Jersey Transportation Authority said about 185,078 vehicles traveled on the Atlantic City Expressway, with traffic backups throughout the day, when the airshow performed in midweek.
Previous shows have included the Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron, as well as other Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and National Guard representatives, while last year’s show included the Sky Hawks, the Canadian Forces Parachute Demonstration. Last year’s performance by the Canadian Skyhawks maintained the airshow’s international status for the second year in a row.
“The Airshow has grown into an international event, with community and city-wide participation at all levels,” said Jeffrey Vasser, president of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority. “The show continues to attract more and more attendees and has become Atlantic City’s signature summer event.”
Along with performances and demonstrations by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Army Golden Knights, past airshow demonstrations and flybys have included the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, Air National Guard and civilian acts.
These are the major highlights of a star-studded summer. Check with the casinos themselves or www.atlanticcitynj.com  for more information.

 

Dave Bontempo is a multiple award-winning writer and commentator. He broadcasts many of the world’s major fights for HBO International and has covered professional sports ranging from golf to boxing.

 

 

Summer At The Shore.

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