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Old Timer: My Atlantic City

Pinky Kravitz, “Mr. Atlantic City,” 81. Lifelong resident and radio personality.


Kravitz interviewing Sammy Davis Jr. in 1974.  

We moved here when I was 6. I went to Atlantic City High School. It was a great time. The boardwalk was the place to be. The Steel Pier offered vaudeville shows with big names; we had the circus down at the end of the pier, and we had a dance hall with big bands like Benny Goodman. There was a bowling alley on the boardwalk; my first job, when I was 11, was as a pin boy picking up the pins. On Easter Sunday, people would be there in their finest clothes. You would have 300,000 people walking the boardwalk. Al Jolson came here, all the Ziegfeld performers. We were the tryout town for a lot of Broadway. There was gambling, but it was illegal; nightclubs had back rooms with a peephole. In the fifties, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis got together at the 500 Club. The Beatles came in 1964 and played the Steel Pier. They had to put them in a fish truck in order to get them through the crowd. I went to every Miss America pageant, but they didn’t modernize. The first casino, Resorts, opened in 1978. Trump came in and helped to revitalize with three hotels: the Hilton, Trump Plaza, and the Taj Mahal. Then he lost interest. In the early nineties, Atlantic City became the boxing capital of the country. Don King brought a lot of fights. We were good friends. All the celebs would come, and there would be parties after. Then the Borgata opened in 2003. And boom—the tourists came. I’m not against it. The city has a bright, new, young appeal again.


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