Atlantic City

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Powerful photographic record of the destruction of the USA’s most famous resort townContains commentaries by news and broadcast media, juxtaposed with contemporary tweets by Donald TrumpIntroduction by Pulitzer Prize winning author Paul Goldberger

Atlantic City was born in the mid-nineteenth century and grew so big, so fast, that it captured the American imagination. It was ‘the World’s Playground’. Its hotels were the largest and finest, its nightclubs legendary, its boardwalk an endless promenade. And then, as it began to fade, the casinos came. And instead of reviving the city they killed it. Chief among the villains in this piece is Donald J Trump, who built his casinos on dunes of debt and bled them into bankruptcy. On the presidential campaign trail Trump boasted of his ‘success’ in Atlantic City, how he had outwitted Wall Street and leveraged his own name for riches. He would do for America what he had done for Atlantic City, he said. And so it came to be. Brian Rose has documented what remains of the city in the aftermath of the casino explosion. The images are haunting. Atlantic City may never recover.


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Atlantic City, from the beginning, was a playground by the sea.

For decades the working class flocked to its beachfront hotels, boardwalk promenade, and entertainment piers, a theme park resort where a wholesome veneer thinly masked less virtuous attractions, and belied the political corruption at the heart of the enterprise.

In the growing affluence of post war America, a more mobile public discovered other vacation destinations, and Atlantic City’s sheen faded and its fantasy architecture decayed. In the 1970s city leaders and urban planners were lured by the promise of casino gambling to save the city and restore its lost glamor. And it worked – for a while.

It’s not that Atlantic City is a ghost town — far from it — but its now blank walls and parking lots have a ghostly way of hiding the humans from each other.

Photographer Brian Rose turn his lens in this photo essay to document the tales of Atlantic City’s faded luster. In fact, the biggest people you will find are the models on the walls from the advertisements for the now closed casinos.

Atlantic City still has the Boardwalk, but if Monopoly were invented today it would need a new category of property called the empty lot. Roses photography depicts these voids in the forlorn city.

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In May, Trump told the New York Times about his 25 years in Atlantic City: ‘The money I took out of there was incredible’. It’s the only thing he has to say of my now- destroyed hometown. He came, he took and he left. And I hate to break it to you, America — he’s not coming back for us.

—Arielle Brousse, The Washington Post October 6, 2016

The closure of the sprawling Boardwalk casino, with its soaring domes, minarets and towers built to mimic the famed Indian historic site, cost nearly 3,000 workers their jobs, bringing the total jobs lost by Atlantic City casino closings to 11,000 since 2014.

—Wayne Parry Associated Press October 10, 2016

As I stepped down to the beach across from the Trump Taj Mahal I encountered a half dozen stray cats lounging about as if they owned the place. And in a sense they did. The Boardwalk Cats Project feeds and tends the 150 or so spayed and neutered cats. Atlantic City may be bankrupt along with many of its casinos, but the cats are doing fine. —Brian Rose

Atlantic City is a dramatic symbol of American excess and decline. Once the most popular family vacation destination in the United States, the city has slid into a dystopian version of its former self, with beachfront property plummeting amid vacant lots and deserted high-rise hotels garishly positioned against the coastal backdrop.

—Nowness, March 7, 2017

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Publisher ‏ : ‎ Circa Press (March 18, 2019)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 128 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1911422197
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1911422198
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 2.8 pounds
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 10.48 x 0.75 x 12.15 inches

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Atlantic City
Atlantic City

$20.98

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