Atlantic City, by the cold gray sea there's a voice crying daddy, I always think it's for me.Timothy Herrick (TIMHRK@aol.com):
This song deals with so many locations, issues and themes, it's hard to grasp the exact meanings contained in this mesmerizing pastiche. But anyone who has seen the dismal beaches of Atlantic City can attest to the cold gray sea part. New Jersey boasts some of the finest beaches in the Northeast U.S., but A.C. sure is not one of them. People go there to gamble, not to enjoy the Atlantic. While it used to be a famous resort town, and is still the home of the Miss America contest, in the late seventies there was a movement among N.J. voters to bring casino gambling in the hopes it would improve the local economy. Of course, most of the money to improve the local economy was embezzled by corrupt N.J. politicians, mostly local to the city.
By the way, as a resident of N.J., corrupt N.J. politicians is a very redundant statement. One of Bruce Springsteen's best songs is Atlantic City, about the Mafia control of the town. It is a long time tradition when the Mafia families of Philadelphia and New York City have a disagreement, they fight it out in the streets of Atlantic City. While the casinos still flourish, the rest of the town is a slum and the boardwalk, which used to attract beach goers from all over, is a freak show, highlighted by a woman Celeste, who has no arms or legs, and lying on her stomach on a gurney, plays a casio organ with her tongue. Unfortunately, the promise of economic improvement from gambling has taken hold in other American cities, hoping for the false blessings the A.C. experiment proved to be.
Atlantic City, city (1990 pop. 37,986), SE N.J., an Atlantic resort and convention center; inc. 1854. On Absecon Island, a sandbar 10 mi (16 km) long, it was a fishing village until 1854, when the railroad began to transform it into a fashionable resort. It is known for its 6-mi (9.7-km) boardwalk, its convention hall, and its Steel Pier (built 1898; burned 1982). After the state legalized casino gambling there (1976), the city's economy partially revived.