The Case for Atlantic City

A proposition to millennials: historic east coast city for the taking

A proposition to millennials: historic east coast city for the taking

Across the bay from the tiny fishing village of Absecon lay a wild barrier island of forests, sand dunes, sea grass and salt water pools. It was desolate and untamed, guarding the sleepy town from the mighty waves of the Atlantic. But that’s not what Jonathan Pitney saw. The Absecon doctor envisioned a city by the sea, with paved roads, infrastructure, bridges and a resort for people to breathe fresh ocean air. Thought of as a disillusioned and unrealistic dreamer with a crazy idea, Pitney pressed on anyway and eventually Atlantic City was built.

America’s first city constructed as an experiment in social planning and solely for the purpose of luxury, comfort and entertainment, was centered on crowd-drawing spectacles; a place where one would see things they’d never see anywhere else. In a recent Op-Ed for The New York Times, Boardwalk Empire author Nelson Johnson said that the key to Atlantic City’s future lies in the past. Continue reading “The Case for Atlantic City” »

Thankful for F.O.M.O.

After a morning coffee while watching the Atlantic I’m on my bike cruising the boardwalk heading to the library to start my work day when suddenly I’m hit with a wave of longing for another city; today it’s Austin.

I imagine my life there, what it would be like, what I’d do for a job, where I would live, who I would potentially be dating, what we would do and where we would go on those dates.

Passing by an endless row of sand dunes and sea grass, a breeze cool as the foam of the waves slants across my beach town, and above the bass rumble of the surf clamor the shrill voices of the few morning swimmers. The scene is ideal, but somehow my mind is in Austin’s Barton Springs or sailing on Lake Travis with my fictional love just like a few days before it was back in Montreal; that swooning, elegant French city that stole my heart in the same way in which I was enchanted by Paris.

Other days it’s Chicago, especially Wicker Park, or Cincinnati in the Fall in the mountains overlooking the skyline, San Francisco, in one of those steep apartments with a view of the Golden Gate, Boston, Portland, Seattle, Nashville, London, Charleston, the rustic Oregon coastal town of Astoria…  In other instances I’m back in Nairobi, Kenya or Accra, Ghana, living my life abundantly by truly finding it in losing it to the service of others like some of my best friends have done. There, I’m roughing it but loving it, where a simple trip to the market is a thrilling and dangerous adventure, where I’ve fallen in love with a Swedish missionary and we have this awesome, epic, Africa life, where we realize our own western poverty in the midst of “third-world” riches. Continue reading “Thankful for F.O.M.O.” »


The truck was packed with friends sitting on each others laps with another in its bed as we made our way up the steep highway and down the mist shrouded mountains of East Tennessee. Our large group from college had rented a chalet overlooking Gatlinburg for the week of Spring Break and had just finished a hike through the Smokey’s. Being late in the afternoon we were searching for a place to eat and figured we would cross the mountainous border into North Carolina to see what the little town of Cherokee had to offer.

Upon arrival we discovered a tiny diner across the road from Harrahs Casino Hotel; the sleepy mountain town’s only attraction aside from Indian leather and moccasin shops. The Soco diner was straight out of the 1940’s, staffed by locals who had clearly grown up in the isolated area. The food on the menu was incredibly cheap, so much so that each of us could afford three or four dinner entries for still not even the price of one back over the mountain passes in Gatlinburg. We tried the local Indian fry bread and beans with our meals and ate like kings at the gem of a find tucked away on the other side of the Tennessee mountains. Continue reading “Characters” »