Nearly abandoned mall in Atlantic City becomes a place for peace and quiet solitude

Almost all the stores in the Playground on the Pier are closed today. Of the 80 stores listed on the directory, only 13 remain open.

News 12 Staff

Apr 16, 2021, 12:30 AM

Updated 1,132 days ago

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Since the 1980s the pier next to Caesar’s Casino in Atlantic City has been home to a mall.
Almost all the stores in the Playground on the Pier are closed today. Of the 80 stores listed on the directory, only 13 remain open. The few merchants that are left are hoping that the purchase of the mall by Caesar’s will result in a plan to bring new life to the mall.
But in the meantime, the mall has become an unlikely spot for people who are seeking peace and quiet.
Atlantic City resident Frank says that he comes to the area three or four times a week for solitude, to meditate and write.
With the collapse of brick and mortar retail, so-called “ghost malls” are nothing new in America. But with the view of the Atlantic Ocean and the Atlantic City skyline, the mall on the pier may be the nicest.
Recent decades have seen multiple owners, a bankruptcy and a few years ago, a big renovation and effort to make the place upscale with high end retailers. But it is obvious that this plan hasn’t worked out.
“I've been here many times and it's lifeless. A lot of dead spots. A lot of places closed that I wish weren't closed and its disappointing to see,” says Walter Bohner who is visiting from Pennsylvania. “You used to be able to go out on the deck and they had events. I really hope it comes back. It’s a good place.”
Officials with Caesar's Casino did not return calls for comment on what the future plans are for the mall.


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