On Wednesday, a spot on the Atlantic City Boardwalk where movie stars, athletes and rock stars used to party, and a potential president honed his bravado and hype instincts, was reduced to a smoking pile of rubble.
After falling into such disrepair, the former Trump Plaza casino imploded that pieces of the building began peeling off and crashing to the ground.
The building was rocked around 9 a.m. by a series of loud explosions, and it began to collapse almost like a wave from back to front until it went straight down in a giant cloud of dust enveloping the beach and Boardwalk. Overall, it took less than 20 seconds for the structure to collapse.
“I’ve got chills,” said Mayor Marty Small. “This is a moment of historicity. It has been exciting.
The remaining pile of rubble, he estimated, was about eight stories tall, and would be removed by June 10. Environmentalists interested in building an artificial fishing reef off the Atlantic City coast could use some of it.
The removal of the one-time jewel of the casino empire of former President Donald Trump clears the way for a prime opportunity for development at the centre of the Boardwalk, where the Plaza used to market itself as “the centrepiece of Atlantic City.”
“It was really unbelievable how we put Trump Plaza and the city of Atlantic City on the map for the whole world,” said Bernie Dillon, the casino event manager from 1984 to 1991. Everyone from Hulk Hogan to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had a variety of personalities to choose from. I stopped dead in my tracks one night before a Tyson fight, looking around four rows as the place was filling up, and there were two guys leaning in close and having a private conversation: Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty.
“It was a lot like that: you walked in with Madonna and Sean Penn, Barbra Streisand and Don Johnson, there would be Muhammad Ali, there would be Oprah sitting on Donald’s ringside,” he recalled. “It’s been a special time. I apologise for seeing it go.
Although it was constructed by the former president, the building is now owned by another billionaire, Carl Icahn, who in 2016 acquired the two remaining Trump casinos from the last of their many bankruptcies.