Hah! That headline made you want to read the article, didn’t it? Well, that’s the same reasoning behind a lot of the new attractions coming to Atlantic City.
Yes, that’s right. Atlantic City. I know—to many, the words “naked” and “Atlantic City” in the same sentence, given the town’s tradition of granny slot-jockeys and other assorted blue-hairs, threatens to conjure up some pretty grisly mental images.
But this is the new Atlantic City. Striving to bring back some of the, um, thrill-seekers who seem to have abandoned the town for the casinos of Pennsylvania, Atlantic City is looking to jazz things up.
Of course, as we all know, the real draw of the Pennsylvania casinos is that their customers don’t have to drive to Atlantic City. “Within Walking Distance” should be their slogan. (In Chester, make that “Within Running Distance.” Always good to present a moving target.) Atlantic City has been striving to add stuff that will make the drive worthwhile, like new shopping and entertainment venues, and of course, the Revel opening next year on the Boardwalk.
But there’s other stuff going on as well, beginning with the “naked stuff” I mentioned before. There’s a new place opening up soon on a side street not far from the casinos to be called the “Diving Horse Cabaret and Steakhouse.” If you ignore the unfortunate juxtaposition of the words “horse” and “steakhouse,” this could be a big draw. It’s going to be modeled on upscale Vegas strip joints.
And the Diving Horse is only one of many risqué attractions coming to Atlantic City. This month, the Tropicana is putting up a party pit with sexy dancers, and at Resorts, there is a “Naked Circus,” an adult show inside a tent outside the casino. According to a story in USA Today, there will be no nudity in the show, just “pasties and g-strings.” But it’s that “naked stuff” appeal again.
The USA Today article says the sexy additions to Atlantic City are meant to “induce hipsters and free-spenders, and to stand out on the increasingly crowded casino landscape.” Wow. I thought I was the only free-spending hipster left in the town.
The article quoted Jeff Vasser, the head of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, as saying, “We’ve always looked to promote Atlantic City as a sensual destination, and we started to push the envelope a little more.” Yes, that’s always the word that’s come to mind when I’ve thought of Atlantic City. Sensual. Like fanny packs and wiggling beer guts at a slot tournament.
Oh, I’m kidding. That was the old Atlantic City. Things are definitely changing. These latest developments are actually part of an evolution that’s been going on for the past year or so. Mostly at Resorts. Since longtime casino executive Dennis Gomes bought the place, the resort that once belonged to Merv Griffin has definitely been pushing the envelope. Gomes brought back Blanche the Singing Bartender, put in the city’s first gay nightclub (not that there’s anything wrong with that), dressed the cocktail waitresses up in skimpy flapper outfits, and put up a billboard showing a naked female backside to promote a show.
It’s not just naked stuff, though, that’s new in Atlantic City. Another of Resorts’ additions this year was the “World Beer Pong Championship.” Beer Pong is basically a college drinking game. I witnessed a few matches of this sport when my son was in a fraternity at Cornell. It involves tossing ping pong balls into cups of beer. If you miss, you have to drink the beer. As far as I can tell, if you hit the target, you also have to drink the beer.
Resorts’ beer pong tourney consisted of four events—the Men’s Singles Championship, the Women’s Singles Championship, the Mixed Doubles Championship, and the $25,000 Main Event held in late June. Yes, Resorts has finally legitimized beer pong as a bona fide sport. Well, it’s about time.
I do have a major problem with the Resorts version of beer pong, though: The cups are filled with water, not beer. In my opinion, this alters the very essence of the sport, which is to gauge human endurance, balance and dexterity during long matches in which the contestants become increasingly sloshed.
Without guys staggering around trying to aim a ping-pong ball at a small target despite judgment and timing being increasingly impaired by ingestion of alcohol—and while slurring, “I love you, man!”—where is the competitive spirit? Never mind that; where is the hilarity?
Oh, well. Perhaps as Atlantic City becomes more hip and free-spending, the beer-pong barriers will come crashing down along with the rest of the social mores.
In the meantime… Naked stuff!