ATLANTIC CITY, from the beginning, was a playground by the sea. For decades the working class flocked to its beachfront hotels, boardwalk promenade, and entertainment piers, a theme park resort where a wholesome veneer thinly masked less virtuous attractions, and belied the political corruption at the heart of the enterprise.
In the growing affluence of post war America, a more mobile public discovered other vacation destinations, and Atlantic City's sheen faded and its fantasy architecture decayed. In the 1970s city leaders and urban planners were lured by the promise of casino gambling to save the city and restore its lost glamor. And it worked - for a while.
Vast sums of money poured in, jobs were created, and organized crime was kept at bay. Until a new kind of predator arrived in the name of Donald Trump, a fabulously wealthy real estate developer from New York City. That wealth, it turned out, was fed by illicit Russian money, and Trump's casinos served as money laundering machines of unprecedented scale.
Eventually, all of Trump's casinos failed, but not before he sucked out the lifeblood of Atlantic City leaving thousands jobless, the city bankrupt. But Trump did not let his losses in Atlantic City stop him. He has upped the ante once again, and America has taken the bait.
ATLANTIC CITY -- THE BOOK
Atlantic City documents the destruction left behind by the grifter-in-chief. As Paul Goldberger writes, “On the presidential campaign trail Trump boasted of his ‘success’ in Atlantic City, how he had outwitted Wall Street and leveraged his own name for riches. He would do for America what he had done for Atlantic City, he said. And so it came to be.” Will a photo book bring down the president of the United States? Well, we can try. It's time for artists to step up -- for all of us to step up.
Creating a book like Atlantic City is an expensive and complex endeavor and bringing it to the public is dependent on raising a portion of the production costs. I am privileged to be working with Circa Press, a distinguished publisher of books about architecture and culture. I am counting on your support to make this possible. Thank you!
Video outtake from Atlantic City. A few unscripted comments about Trump and Atlantic City and the reopening of the Trump Taj Mahal as the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
Risks and challenges
The production of Atlantic City is well underway, and will be available early in 2019. This is the fourth book I have published in eight years, all made possible with the help of Kickstarter and an enthusiastic group of backers.
Circa Press is headed by David Jenkins, previously the chief editor at Phaidon, the premier publisher of illustrated books. The introduction will be written by Paul Goldberger, the Pulitzer Prize winning architecture critic.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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