The Jersey Shore has weathered a rough spell and climbed out from Sandy’s wreckage. Atlantic City’s remaining casinos are reporting operating profits up almost 45 percent. As people prepare to take to the beaches this Memorial Day weekend, there’s a lot that’s new on the Jersey Shore. It’s all in the current issue of New Jersey Monthly‘s Shore Guide 2015. Editor Ken Schlager joined NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams on set to learn about what’s new at the shore this season.
When asked if Atlantic City is on track to have a strong summer season, Schlager said that it’s in better shape than most people think.
“Well it’s certainly a better picture than people might be lead to believe by what the media has painted. It’s been a rough year with five casinos closing, but there’s still eight casinos and, as you mentioned, the picture for them has improved. But even more than that people are investing in new restaurants and new venues there, so there’s lots of new stuff to do,” he said.
Festival Park, Borgata’s new indoor/outdoor venue is contributing to Atlantic City’s popularity this summer with an assortment of events.
“They have acts there booked this summer from Willie Nelson to Meghan Trainor so there’s something for every generation,” he said. “That’s a big thing for Borgata and the Borgata is a beautiful place with great restaurants, fun place to go.”
Borgata has also gotten into skill-based games with a basketball tournament for money.
“Laws have been reformed to allow that kind of gambling, so it begins a new aspect for the players,” Schlager said.
Smaller scale casinos like The Chelsea wants to add gaming to their boutique hotels, pending legislation that would allow it. It hasn’t happened yet, but Schlager says that The Chelsea would be the vanguard for that. He says The Chelsea’s wanted to do that for years.
As far as what’s new in Point Pleasant, Schlager says the downtown area is really picking up.
“Point Pleasant didn’t get hit real hard by Sandy so they’ve been in good shape so nothing really new. There’s still the boardwalk, Funplace, Jenkinson’s Aquarium. They’re great,” he said. “What’s new in Point Pleasant more than anything else is in the downtown. The downtown area used to just be about antique shops and was kind of sleepy. Now it has more of a boutique shopping scene, a lot of galleries and the like, restaurants and things, so that’s picked up.”
But what’s the most exciting thing happening at the Jersey Shore this summer? Schlager says the summer season is really for guests more than locals.
“It’s really for somebody visiting. I think it’s really back 100 percent from the post-Sandy trauma. That’s probably not true for everybody who lives there. I think people are still going through difficult times with their homes, but as far as the resort amenities, the boardwalks, everything is pretty much back to normal,” he said. “We’ve talked to real estate agents and the rental market is pretty much back to normal, rental properties are available. That’s all really good news. And the beaches, a lot of beach replenishment is taking place. It’s kind of cute, you see some of the new dunes that have been built and they have little dune grass trying to spike up instead of the old overgrown grass. It’ll get there.”