If you take Route 30 about 7 miles east out of Absecon, NJ, you dead end at the seashore near the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City. On a cool, crisp morning in October, there’s plenty of parking on the street. You can walk up to and across the boardwalk onto the beach without encountering a soul.
The Ocean Casino Resort is massive and cold and dehumanizing in a way that may have been mistaken for awesome and luxurious in previous decades, when the rooms were full of customers eager to gamble away their savings. Seeing it, now, is like time-traveling to a ghost city of the future. As the day warms up, people emerge. A few joggers and bikers pass by on the boardwalk. Men are fishing from the jetties. Down the beach, closer to the bay outlet, heavy equipment is adding boulders to the sea wall, as though it’s going to make a difference.