When the folks first visited me in New Jersey in the summer of 1990 they wanted to see me, the graves, and some of the aunts still living in the area, but most importantly, they wanted to go to the Taj Mahal. They didn't want to hurt my feelings or anything but they had been reading about it and I always suspected that it was the real reason they wanted to go up north from their sweet retirement home in Texas.
At the time, with all the hype and hoopla about Atlantic City being the great gambling mecca East of the Mississippi a lot of people wanted to try their hand at the slots and perhaps see what a casino looked like. I know when I came back the first time I wanted to see Merv Griffin's palace, Resorts, and the Taj Mahal was even bigger. Tastefully decorated in what was faux Hollywood style exoticism, the Taj Mahal was big and a once in a lifetime treasure. A wonder that brought to New Jersey, however briefly, the distinction of being one of the most written about sites in the country.
We came, played the slots, and as a souvenir, my father decided to discretely carry his coin tub with him back to the car. He was stopped in his tracks by the site of Donald Trump marching through the casino and shaking hands. He put the tub behind him so Mr. Trump wouldn't notice. Later we saw the Trump helicopter on the sands.
Now we hear that the great mecca to gambling and culture is closing. A monument to the second golden age of Atlantic City its closing symbolizes the decline of both the jewel of the Atlantic and the would be president of this fine country.