To say Trump had an impact on the United States of America — love or hate him — is a massive understatement. He left by reminding us of the deep divides we harbor, of the differences between us all, having failed to bring Americans together in any meaningful way. It should be no surprise then, when a failed hotel and casino were demolished last week to a cheering crowd.
The New Jersey casino opened in 1984, long before Trump’s string of failures led to its bankruptcy. He decided to remove himself from this particular business venture in 2009, but the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City would always cement his failed legacy by using his name — until the demolition by 3,000 sticks of dynamite last week, anyway.
Former casino events manager Bernie Dillon said, “The way we put Trump Plaza and the city of Atlantic City on the map for the whole world was really incredible. You had Madonna and Sean Penn walking in, Barbra Streisand and Don Johnson, Muhammad Ali would be there, Oprah sitting with Donald ringside. It was a special time. I’m sorry to see it go.”
Of course, not everyone feels the same way. Many lauded the event as symbolic of Trump’s failures but watched with glee as the demolition seemed to put an exclamation point on his most recent failure: obtaining a second term.
Others tried to put a more nostalgic cap on the event.
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small said, “As you heard the dynamite, the explosives go off, it just sent chills. [The casino] meant a lot to so many people. People made a livelihood there, it provided a lot of jobs and people were able to purchase homes. And during its heyday, all the big time fights, the Mike Tyson fights, were there.”
Spectators needed to pay only $10 to watch from their vehicles, and they cheered as the building came down in a puff of smoke and dust. The demolition took only twenty seconds. The building had been 34 stories tall. And the proceeds from the event added up to $16,000. Small had hoped for $1 million. Whoops.
There was an initial auction for seats and special overnight packages to enjoy the event — Small’s idea — but the property owner objected on grounds that it might lead to unsafe conditions around the demolition site and the auction house canceled.
Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino was one of the worst performing casinos in Atlantic City by the time it went out of business in 2014. The empty building lay dormant and unused for seven years, quickly falling into disrepair. We note, however, that this casino wasn’t the only one enduring financial struggles — especially since 2008 — and that Atlantic City has experienced a slide in casino-related tourism for more than a decade as visitors choose sites in Vegas or other cities instead.
Want to watch the demolition for yourself? Check it out: