photo courtesy of The New Yorker, 9.7.15, Andrew Moore, photographer
First - in the category of "Please Don't Sue Me", thank you oh benevolent law team for The New Yorker for ignoring the fact that I took a photo of your photo from today's issue and posted it here in my blog. I am just a little real estate agent with nothing much worth suing for so please go on to look for other prey. Thank you.
Ok, now to my point - this photo just grabbed me this morning.
It was taken outside the Atlantic City hotel and casino, Revel.
First, have you noticed how the word "the" has fallen off many many nouns lately? When I worked downtown I referred to my office building as The Tribune Tower. Now I hear it referred to just as Tribune Tower. Concerts are announced that the artist will be playing United Center. No the. Listen closely to radio commercials and you'll hear the absence of the thes.
Anyway, back to New Jersey. Revel is New Jersey's most expensive private construction project to date. It was to have 4,000 hotel rooms and over 7,000 parking spaces. After the project was stalled for years a more scaled down version was completed. It finally opened years late with only 1,400 hotel rooms. After having its doors open for only 24 months - it closed and now sits empty.
You actually know this place if you know what TMZ is. This is the hotel where N.F.L. player Ray Rice was seen on surveillance video horribly beating his fiancee in the elevator.
I am sure some lovely things happened in this hotel for the 24 months it was open. I am sure some very nice people enjoyed themselves there at the casino. Maybe some of them got engaged there. Maybe some wed there. Maybe it was a place for a tired couple to get a little us time away from their family. But at what cost?
This impersonal behemoth clearly cost a tremendous amount of money to construct and certainly many investors will never see a return on their investments in it. What did the homeowners of Atlantic City gain from this building? Why is that building necessarily better or more important than the home that you see in the above photo?
In a space like that home I am sure at times there were very happy memories made, as well as sad ones but clearly a more scaled down version of humane living went on there. A home is reality. It is the place where diapers are changed, gutters are cleaned and homework is done. A mega hotel & casino is not designed for anything as real as that. It is a place of fantasy and escapism.
Today the escapism place sits empty throwing its shadow over the very real and very alone home in this struggling city. How real is that for you?
Sarah Rothschild, Realtor & Architectural History Nerd.