Trump’s failed Atlantic City casino demolished before cheering crowd
February 22 2021
Former Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in New Jersey, once a hotspot during a decade of excess, reduced to rubble
The fall of a leader with authoritarian instincts is usually symbolised by toppled statues and looted palaces. For Donald Trump, perhaps inevitably, it was the demolition of a failed casino.
On Wednesday the former Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was reduced to rubble in 20 seconds by 3,000 sticks of dynamite. It had fallen into such disrepair that chunks of the building had been tumbling to ground.
The casino opened in 1984 during a decade of excess for Trump and other kings of capitalism. It hosted parties for countless Hollywood actors, rock stars and sportspeople. But after a string of bankruptcy filings, the New York property tycoon and reality TV host cut ties with it in 2009.
By the time it finally closed its doors in 2014, Trump Plaza was the worst-performing casino in Atlantic City, taking in as much money from gamblers in eight and a half months as the Borgata casino did every two weeks. A year later, Trump announced his world-changing run for US president, often citing Atlantic City as proof of his business acumen.
The Plaza’s end came at around 9am with a series of explosions. The building imploded and a huge cloud of dust consumed the beach and famed Atlantic City boardwalk.
There were cheers from a viewing party of people who had paid $10 to watch from their cars. Marty Small, the city mayor who had described the abandoned building as an eyesore, told the Associated Press: “I got chills. This is a historic moment. It was exciting.”
Small estimated the remaining pile of rubble was about eight stories high and would be removed by 10 June. Some of it could be used by environmentalists interested in building an artificial fishing reef off the coast of Atlantic City.
It was the final casino in Atlantic City to bear Trump’s name. The Trump Taj Mahal has been renamed as the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino while the Trump Marina is now called the Golden Nugget Atlantic City.
Michael Beschloss, a presidential historian, tweeted on Wednesday: “Metaphor alert: next to the bankrupt Trump Plaza and Casino, just imploded this morning, remains the Atlantic City convention hall where LBJ accepted Democratic nomination in 1964 and touted the Great Society.”