Vera's 3 story Bldg. & Trump Plaza
When casino gambling got on the ballot in New Jersey, the hottest spot to acquire campaign volunteers was a practically new high-rise near the boardwalk in Ventnor. A city that abuts Atlantic City. The high-rise was the residence of senior citizen advocates who had fought hard to promote Affordable Housing for Seniors near the beach and boardwalk. They won the struggle. Now, the politicians swarmed like locusts. They came in with Danish and coffee klatches, and promises, and, well . . . what do you want to hear? That time period, he time just before the election, it was lively and life was fun. It was an enjoyable time to be a senior citizen in Atlantic City. Hatchets were buried, new friends were made, and . . . . you had to be there. The excitement of the election itself, the free stuff, bubbly too, the singing and the dancing on the boardwalk, the joy . . . . Especially after the election was over. We won!! We won!! Oh my . . all over the place. You could not escape the frivolity (I think that's the right word). Boy oh boy.
Like most of our elections are, this one was held on a Tuesday. Not much more than a week later a senior lady resident of the Ventnor high rise came into the lobby with tears in her eyes. Her lease was up the month following next month and the letter she was waving, it was her 30 day notice. It told her, her lease would not be renewed.
I don't like maudlin stuff so, if you are reading this, I won't bore you with condo conversions, lies poop, or true poop, 'or trying to get richer' politicians, lets just fast forward . . .
The gold rush is on, hotels and motels have been built and new ones are starting all over the place. The 'White House Sub Shop' is flourishing and so much money is being made that Trump has one of his strokes of genius. He will build a Plaza Hotel in Atlantic City with such a famous name, it will attract the tourists away from the other casino places..
His agent suggests this particular property. Its not the best site. The best sites were already sold. Its not as big as he would like, but that will help him get it at a lower price. And the property next to the site, the 3 story apartment building that the 'present hotel site owner' had tried and failed to buy himself, it was perfect for additional on-site parking. And after all who could resist the Trump charm. Certainly not a little old lady. Piece of cake.
All this is not new news. The lady, Vera Coking, became a local legend, folklore stuff. One of the mildest things the 70 year old said about Trump, "If he's waiting for me to die, he has a long wait." She did not like the Donald or the methods he used or that thing that sits on his head, or anything named Trump. The years passed. She became like a senior rock star in Atlantic City.. And, as I said in an earlier post, "Trump in charge of a gambling casino? No way. Gambling interests know their business and are brutal when it comes to 'in fighting'. He was in over his head." At the time of the opening of Trump Plaza my friend Jerry was there. He attended opening nite and he received what he considered one of his highest compliments ever. He was ushered out of the casino, with some modest winnings, and told to never come back because they had his picture and he was not welcome at Trump Plaza. "They think I'm a card counter", he said with what could only be described as 'glee'.
Its a bird. Its a plane. Its The Donald's hair!!
I cant help it. Right now I'm laughing. Every time I think of it I'm laughing. Tears are literally in my eyes. His phone call to me about it, I lived in Ohio at the time, is such a wonderful memory. Jerry was such a gambling loser (sucker) that when he told one of the hotel owners, (the casino where he gambled), that his friend (meaning me) was coming to visit for a week or so, they sent a limo to pick me and my lovely wife Rae up, at the airport The airport is in Philadelphia. Only sixty (60) miles away. Jerry told them I gambled too, the magic words, and everything became 'on the house'. It may be my imagination but it seems to me that if you're the beneficiary of largess, having fun is much easier.
Getting back to Vera and the underside of the birds-nest. What we are dealing with here is the ultimate test of power. Bristling little old lady vs. 'proud to be a mogul' guy with extraordinary hair and political connections.
Remember, this is really happened stuff. Talk about power, the city filed to acquire the property by 'immanent domain'. (A legal land grab tactic to be used only in matters verifiably 'for the good of the community'.) "Get out of here. I'm not impressed with the Donald's connections. After all it is Atlantic City. I suppose doing that in New Jersey was legal. But, even if it was legal it was disgusting. And evidently it didn't pass muster because Vera prevailed.
She said the Donald 'was a maggot, a cockroach, and a crumb,' in that order. I disagree, calling Trump a crumb, that's a little much.
But, today, gambling in New Jersey is in a different situation. New York and Pennsylvania both now have gambling. The high rollers from these states, who all went to the Las Vegas of the east, come less often. Some stopped coming altogether. As for Trump Plaza, it was not around for the early prosperity like the other hotels, and it is slated to close in September. Without a larger parking lot. Trump genius???
Here is what I think about Donald Trump. I can't explain Ivanna his first wife, lovely lady, except she met him when he was young, you know, when he still had his first hair. But all the other good looking babes, who must be afraid to tell him what they really think about that bird's nest, think he has money. I bet he wears that thing to bed. I really think he does.
And, I also think that the line the bad fairy in the Disney film used, is the same as what the Donald says to his mirror before he goes to sleep. If memory serves me . . . It goes something like, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, tell me, who is the fairest one of all?"
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