Monday, October 10, 2016

Trump Taj Mahal


The Trump Taj Mahal opened on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in 1990, and it closed at 5:59 am today. The casino and hotel was built at a cost of nearly a billion dollars, and had 120,000 sq feet of gaming space, 2,010 hotel rooms, and over the years housed multiple restaurants, gift shops, show rooms and the nation's first casino strip club.









It's hard for me to think of the Taj without thinking about the Sex and the City episode filmed there, during which Carrie refers to it as the "understated Taj Mahal." This if funny, of course, because the Taj (like most things associated with Donald Trump) is the very opposite of understated. 

I took my mom to Atlantic City last week for an overnight trip to celebrate her birthday, and one of the first places we went was the Taj. I'd heard that its closing was imminent, but didn't expect that we'd be among some of the last people to ever walk on on its gaudy carpeted casino floors. 









Outside of the Taj, workers have been striking since July, but the mood inside was much more subdued. If you've ever been inside of a casino, you know they're sensory overload in every way, but the Taj was almost eerily quiet. At first glance it might seem as if nothing was amiss, but then we noticed that there was only a handful of people—staff and patrons—and a lot of the machines were turned off, broken or roped off with caution tape. If we didn't already know that the end was near, it would've been pretty obvious after a few minutes.It was sad and weird to walk around the near-empty casino floor—the Sultan's Palace (for high rollers) was completely empty, all of the restaurants were closed, there was only one cashier and the huge hotel check-in counter was deserted. 













The outside looks as opulent as ever—there's still a parking lot devoted entirely to limos—but upon closer inspection, I spotted peeling paint, broken streetlights and dangling wires. Much has been said about Donald Trump the "businessman," and although he no longer owns a stake in the Taj it's hard not to consider his roll in making (and breaking) Atlantic City. It's strange to have grown up with DJT the casino magnate and reality star, and to watch as he tries to reinvent himself as DJT the presidential candidate. But like his casinos (Trump Plaza has been closed since 2014) Trump is all artifice—beneath the flashy exterior it's all dangling wires and peeling paint, and ultimately he too will fail.

7 comments:

  1. It's so bizarre to see a casino so empty! Whenever I think of a casino, my trips to Vegas always come to mind, so seeing one so devoid of human life is a little bit eerie. I loved all the pictures though, it's crazy to see the building in such disarray, it's like they never tried to upkeep it too much. It is rather telling of Trump's business practices, in my humble opinion.

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    1. Yeah, I think the writing's been on the wall for a while so maintenance hasn't been a priority. It was definitely strange to see it so empty, but with most of the machines still on and making noise / flashing lights.

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  2. This is so weird. You blog about & photograph so many abandoned places, but to be in one that's thisclose to be abandoned... somehow that seems way creepier!

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    1. Yes! Nearly-abandoned places are almost cooler, especially because you're *legally* allowed to be inside of them haha

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  3. Funny how such a "classy establishment" (said with the fluffy hair, and little pinched fingers) is now working it's way to "tacky" and "campy" roadside attractions. It does look really weird and erie.

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    1. I think it's up for debate if anything Trump has ever been classy, hahaha - it's definitely true that no amount of money can buy taste.

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    2. I mentioned this post to my boss and he said when he visited the place 10 or so years ago the place was pretty empty still. He also said it was the most confusing casino since it took them forever to find the actual slot machines. Clearly Trump never got the number one rule of casinos- the first thing you should see are slot machines!

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