Traveler's USA Notebook



AC Is  Electric

Atlantic City! The name is terribly exciting, as if it should be a gi-normous, terribly important port town, as Bremen or Philadelphia once were...gateways to other worlds, education and adventure. Or maybe it will become a happenin' Edge City of the future, a skyscraping, Dune-like behemoth, future government seat of the Eastern Region, capital of Bo-Wash. You can feel it as you walk around...Atlantic City once was all that, more than a hundred years ago, when they first brought the railroads in to connect the daytrippers from Camden and Philly. And you can feel what Atlantic City will become, because even if you aren't the littlest bit psychic, it's obvious that this is a town that ---once it gets over the cheesy second-rate casinos for amateurs image and does a little forward thinking---will be mega. Because someday everybody's going to realise that Atlantic City has something rare and beautiful that money can't buy, something even better than lying next to the beautiful Atlantic Ocean.     

Air!  Atlantic City has gorgeous air. Spend a couple of hours walking up and down the lo-o-o-o-ng Boardwalk, and when you're done, you'll feel rejeuved. There's air in that air, my friends. And all you have to do is go there and get it. The train station is an annoying, ugly walk or short taxi ride if you can find one, to the Boardwalk. But the cheapie bus will get you right up close. Yes, it's a 2 1/2 hour bus ride from New York to Atlantic City, and a 2 1/2 hour bus ride back. But you can do it. It's worth it...just for the air. And the sand. And the sea. And, all right, the Boardwalk Fries. Salt Water Taffy. Frozen Custard. Steel's fudge. And the stuff you see as you stroll.


Best massage in Atlantic City: Massage Place Back and Foot Massage, 2607-A Boardwalk,
Atlantic City, NJ 08401 
  Tel. 609 345 2222
Walk along the Boardwalk to the storefront where soft music spills out and you'll see several women, massager therapists, massaging happy customers who have flopped out in reclining chairs, and are staring google-eyed at the beautiful blue sea. Ask for the expert Ping, who does an amazing shiatsu/reflexology type of foot rub. It's a dollar a minute, minimum of twenty minutes, but you'll want more. (This is the best place on the Boardwalk...and there are several, including a disappointing one in the shopping mall, Ocean One, on the Pier near Caesar's: a rough massage from a hearty bunch of guys who seem more intent on punching your bones than doing any gifted healing work.)


The Best Things in Life (Air) are Free. Staying Overnight Will Cost You.
But sometimes you don't want a long exhausting day trip. Of course you don't.
Hotels in Atlantic City are overpriced, and the rooms aren't that pretty. They're unexceptional, not that well furnished, with shampoos harsh and nasty, no conditioners, and pools that are ugly and hard to get to. But it's still absolutely worth staying in a hotel on the Boardwalk, because you can just step out into glory, into wind or sun or mist or even rain, but there is always the beautiful blue briny stretched out for miles, as far as you can see in front of you, and they will have to hold you down to keep you from casting everything in your life aside to become a sailor, that's how fantastic the seascape is there. So do stay in a hotel on the Boardwalk. The streets behind the Boardwalk are funky at night, and you don't want to walk or worry about getting back to a non-seaside hotel,---skip the Sheraton and others not directly on the Boardwalk. Caesar's, Bally's, Trump World...they're all good and all equally a drag, and out to stick you for the little extras, like charging you an extra $10 a day just to use the jacuzzi at Caesar's (when you are already paying $200 a night!), or opening the impossible to get-to, hideous pool from only 10 am to 6 pm (also Caesar's).


Oh, yes...then there are shows. Real shows, with headliners. If you like celebs and that sort of histrionic thing, (hey, not everyone likes reading books on physics on their tropical vacations) click over to Don Klein's excellent Atlantic City Insider's Guide Pages here and see who's playing when and how to get tix. This link will give you fresh, inside information on everything you'd want in Atlantic City. Thanks, Don!

bulletNeed to check your E-Mail while you're in   Atlantic City? Go to the Atlantic City Cyber Cafe, 3105 Boardwalk (near the Tropicana) Tel 609.572.1110.
They've got food in there, too


Links to Atlantic City hotel discounters:
Accomodations Express 
Acenet 1-877-331-3560 

Vegetarians in Atlantic City: Vegetarians here will at least have better chances than most seaside towns. There's always Sbarros, well, thank heavens, at least they're not afraid of garlic or fresh fruits and vegetables, and it's sort of in, sort of right next to Bally's, and on the Boardwalk at Bally's, with a good salad bar and a hot buffet with garlicky fresh hot vegetables, broccoli rabe, pastas, fresh fruits, etc. Caesar's has a veggie burger that's A-OK, and there's plenty of vegetarian friendly food on all the ritzy hotel restaurant menus at every casino hotel Or try the Food Court in Ocean One, where you can get Mexican, Deli, Italian, Chinese, Greek and other veggie dishes. It's not worth seeking out exotic cuisines in this town yet. But if the delightful Indian flea markets and the fast-food Afghani shop on the Boardwalk are reliable indicators, in a couple of years there might be some competition to raise the bar in their taste-bud department. Hey, it's still New Jersey here, buddy. But they said Las Vegas would never break any culinary records, too. Check back here, and we'll report.

Bus rides from New York to Atlantic City:

Many buses depart for Atlantic City every 15 minutes on weekends, every 30 minutes at other times. Get there at least 30 minutes early...ticket buying lines can be long and buses fill up.

You can even choose a bus that goes to a particular casino/hotel you choose, or choose one next door to the one you want. See a map of all the Boardwalk area at Insider's Guide.

They will usually give you between $12 and $17 back upon arrival in Atlantic City, to use in that particular casino. Many buses will also leave direct from Brooklyn or Queens, so check.

(from NY Port Authority Terminal, 42nd Street) Tel. 212 442 7272
(from NY Port Authority Terminal, 42nd Street) Tel. 1 800 231 2222
(Greyhound buses always have restrooms on board. Check with other lines.)
New Jersey Transit buses and trains Uptown (from various spots around New York City) 212 288 7690 and 212 971 9054




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