Atlantic City Boardwalk: Post-Hurricane Sandy

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Just one year since images of Atlantic City’s iconic Boardwalk—splintered from the winds of Hurricane Sandy and swept out to sea—doused US media coverage, the New Jersey resort city and its renowned pomp and old-school vibe is back and better than ever.

Much has changed in a year. We now know that the section of plank sweeping across our TV sets, phones and tablets was not the beloved Boardwalk that held America’s first casinos and the steps of such infamous notables as racketeer Enoch Johnson and gangster Al Capone. It wasn’t even a fragment of the miles-long walkway that was methodically pieced together over decades by hotel owners to keep sand out of their lobbies. The floating timber was an imposter, an All About Eve, no less in need of a little TLC, but certainly not the inspirational backdrop for such marvels as Monopoly, Boardwalk Empire (which reminds me, in true 1920s fashion excuse me for a minute while I go see a man about a dog) or salt-water taffy. And thank God for that.

Fast-forward one year after Sandy’s renovation and a distinctly new rumble can be heard on the promenade. A major revitalization is occurring along the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Yes, that humming on the horizon may very well be the bee’s knees.

The Atlantic City skyline changed in 2012 with the addition of the Revel Casino Hotel on the city’s Northeast Inlet section.  The sleek and stylish resort screams fun and functional, featuring 1,100 guest rooms, 160,000-sf of indoor and 90,000-sf of outdoor meeting space. There are plenty of onsite retail, entertainment and gastronomy options for groups to check out, topping the list is the Spanish-themed Amada, an Andalusian tapas bar and restaurant. Hint: clueing the bartender in on your favorite Pedro Almodóvar film may have unexpected rewards.

Meeting planners in search of the evasive golden ticket may find relief in the Golden Nugget Atlantic City, the newly renovated former Trump Marina Hotel Casino. New lounges, nightclubs, retail outlets and restaurants were added to the $150 million renovation including the upscale Chart House and downhome Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse.

Caesars Entertainment broke ground on a new 250,000-sf conference facility at its Harrah’s Atlantic City location, potentially ushering into the city a new wave of corporate business. The facility will offer 125,000-sf of meeting space including two pillar-less 50,000 square foot ballrooms, each easily divided into as many as 27 separate breakout rooms. Additional breakout rooms, grand promenades and dedicated banquet kitchens are also in the works.

One of the Boardwalk’s most notable landmarks, the Steel Pier, is also undergoing a makeover that is set for completion in 2015. The “Amusement City at Sea” is soon to become a year-round attraction as part of a $100 million, three phase renovation that is sure to keep groups engaged through new amusement rides, retail and entertainment space, a museum, food court and arcade area. The Marine Ballroom will soon have a stage and 2,000 removable seats that allow for smooth transition into a dance hall, concert arena or wedding chapel.