The Eerie Silence of the Trump Plaza Parking Garage
Imagine being practically the only person and having the only car in a 10-story parking garage in the middle of a bustling town right in the middle of summer.
That's exactly the situation I found myself in Wednesday evening.
There are a ton of really cool things happening on the Atlantic City Boardwalk this summer, including free concerts at Kennedy Plaza every Wednesday evening. I attended one of those free concerts the other day and parked at the old Trump Plaza parking garage, which, unlike the casino, is still open for business.
Now, when they have big concerts or big events in the city, the old Trump Plaza parking garage is usually rather full. That, however, was not the case this past Wednesday night. Besides maybe half-a-dozen cars on the bottom level, I was the only one there. And it was weird and eerie. So, naturally, I decided to take a look around.
Now, before I go any further, let me say this again: unlike the casino, the garage is open for business. It is not closed, nor is it abandoned. You have to pay to park there (I did) -- in fact, the guy that was working at the parking booth couldn't have been nicer, almost excited that someone was there and he could talk to for a few seconds. Once you are inside, none of the levels are closed, which means I wasn't doing anything that I shouldn't have been doing.
I remember many years ago parking up on the 10th floor, which provides some stunning views of the city. Getting there, however, is a little weird now (I seem to be using that word a lot). It's hard to imagine that not that long ago, this garage was packed with cars -- thousands of people were parked there, all playing casino games inside Trump Plaza, or headed to the Boardwalk for a day of fun, or even to shop at the outlets. Tour buses were pulling in and out of the ground level at all hours of the day. Elevators were dinging left and right as people tried to remember where they parked (and if you were tired of waiting for an elevator, you thought running up 17 flights of steps to get to your car would be a good idea).
Now, it's quiet.
No cars. No people. No elevators. No buses. In the middle of the city, in the middle of summer.
I realize looking at pictures of an empty parking garage is like watching paint dry, but more than the pictures themselves, the story of an empty casino and an empty garage right in the middle of Atlantic City -- which is having one of its biggest summers ever -- struck me as strange and ironic, eerie and weird (there's that word again).