[Other] These are the top 73 parks in the United States, ranked based on the quality of their coaster collections, as voted by, well... you! This is as close to objective as a ranking will ever get for this. Don't worry, I have some nerdy data to help explain myself.
This post needs a little clarification. Anyway, many of you are aware of the brilliant Vote Coasters project over at Coaster Bot. If not, take a look: https://coasterbot.com/votecoasters-fullresults2020 2699 enthusiasts from across the wrold people ranked every roller coaster they've ever ridden, at an average of 43 coaster credits per voter (116256 total credits). Many of you personally participated in this survey. Their algorithm is extremely clever (https://coasterbot.com/votecoasters-how) - "The community is only permitted to rank roller coasters they’ve actually ridden. This way each roller coasters position in the final results will be as truthful and accurate as possible. By making it easy for lots of people to contribute their lists, Vote Coasters is able to accumulate a large sample which represents everyone! Once the community has voted, the numbers are crunched. Our method involves directly comparing the rank of two individual roller coasters across all of the submitted lists. As Vote Coasters makes direct comparisons between individual roller coasters, the poll is not a popularity contest. Even obscure roller coasters that few people have had the chance to ride yet can do well!" I have taken this data and created a point system for coasters that's directly linked to their ranking on Vote Coasters 2020. The #1 ranking, Steel Vengeance, is worth 500 points. [Zadra's second and would be worth 499 points, but it's not in the US] #3, Lightning Rod, gets 498 points. El Toro gets 497 points and so on, all the way down to La Vibora in 499th place, earning only 2 points for its park. Any coaster under the top 500 (such as Corkscrew at Cedar Point) is worth zero points. This weeds out kiddie coasters and terrible coasters from factoring into a park's collection quality. Basically, crappy coasters add zero points to a park's total points, while excellent coasters are worth way more points than mid-tier ones. For coasters with two tracks, such as Gemini or Lightning Racer, I only counted points for the best of the two tracks. My spreadsheet showing the point values for all 256 American coasters in the top 500 is here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10aaS1f8CptsXEvUSqE2-VUtal-Od9gim-x8rT7xkT8M/edit?usp=sharing I have added all of the points for the coasters in all of the 73 American amusement parks that house at least one global top 500 roller coaster. I ranked the earned point totals for all 73 parks. (That's how I got to a "Top 73!") For those like me who care exclusively about coasters and collecting quality credits and nothing else, I think this is an EXCELLENT way to prioritize future amusement park trips based on the quality of each park's overall coaster collection. Without further ado, here's what you want to see:
69 (93 points): Frontier City (5 coasters, 1 ranked)
70 (37 points): Adventureland New York (2 coasters, 1 ranked)
71 (17 points): Lakemont Park (3 coasters, 1 ranked)
72 (12 points): Conneaut Lake Park (2 coasters, 1 ranked)
73 (8 points): Belmont Park (1 coaster, 1 ranked)
If any coaster YouTube channel wants to use this data to fuel an idea for a new video (sup Airtime Thrills or Coaster Studios or, you know, COASTER BOT!), please feel free! 100% of the credit goes to Coaster Bot for helping me compile this ranking.
Rise of Hellion ch13 ( Barry Pepper fanart fiction inspiration)
Rise of Hellion ch13 ( Barry Pepper fanart fiction inspiration) previous: https://www.reddit.com/BarryPeppecomments/koihsy/rise_of_hellion_ch12_barry_pepper_fanart_fiction/ The flight touched down, under the early morning sky. I could practically taste the Cinnabon frosting. It had been over a decade since I’d been on an airplane but I loved hanging around the terminals for the delicious overpriced food. Baron placed his hand upon my shoulder. “What happens in Jersey stays in Jersey,” he said with a laugh. “I thought you’d be bitter.” I leaned on his shoulder as we waited for the seatbelt light to turn off. “You thought I’d be bitter about flying as a passenger instead of a pilot?” Baron shrugged, as he stretched his arms over his head. “I’ve always loved Alaska Airlines. And if I was flying the plane, I wouldn’t have been able to spend time with this little guy.” He tickled little Abby’s chubby arm causing the baby to smile. “I can’t disagree.” In the weeks following our arrival at Dr. Toki’s DC bunker, Baron grew close to my son. The three of us shared a room; two cots on the floor with a padded plastic box for the baby. Like all babies little Abby cried; for food, diaper changes, or just out of loneliness. Nine out of ten times, I would awaken to find Baron holding my son. Sometimes he’d walk around the small room, other times he would sit cross-legged on his bed, but every night was a different story about Noah. I learned things I knew I was never meant to know about. In the years they spent traveling the world as renowned criminal masterminds, Noah and Baron had become more than friends. They fell in love. “You daddy was the greatest person I ever knew,” Baron often said as he rocked my son in his arms. “He was the last person I ever truly loved.” I listened as Baron, by the light of the moon, told my infant son stories about his many adventures with Noah and Nash. Some boarded on the obscene; drugs, weapons trafficking, and all manner of sex. He never outright said they were lovers, only that they trusted each other with their mind body and soul. “It tears me up inside knowing he’s gone. I know this is all my fault, his blood is on my hands. We should have died together. Noah died the way he lived; with honor and integrity. But then I never would have met you.” That was how I knew Baron could be trusted; he loved Abby with every fiber of his soul. “Yo, Nicki,” Baron said, tapping my arm. “The plane’s empty, time to go.” “Oh,” I took a quick breath, forcing myself back to reality. Baron grabbed our one piece of luggage, a plain black backpack with a limited number of supplies. Axel had passed it along to us before going through security, so I had to assume it contained no weapons. We walked down the corridor to the gate at Atlantic City international airport. “Can I hold the bag?” I asked, since he was already holding the baby. “Sure.” Baron took off the straps and tossed me the bag. It was lighter than I thought it would be. Inside was a lot of fabric; some rolled, some folded and some pieces were clearly hiding items made of plastic or metal. I figured I shouldn’t be examining its contents right away but with the chill of the airport I wanted to see if there were any extra clothes for my baby. No, Abby was our baby. Seeing Baron holding the child in his arms, all I could feel was love. “Oh look!” I fished out a blue, baby t-shirt with a happy dolphin. “Let’s put it on him!” Baron did as I asked, maneuvering Abby’s wiggly little body. With his fresh new shirt, he looked like a cute little tourist baby. In fact, we looked like a typical vacationing couple traveling with their newborn. I knew that Axel and Dr. Toki were monitoring us from the safety and comfort of an unmarked medevac vehicle somewhere within a six-mile radius. Ideally, they would follow us, observe from a distance. If and when we found Tony, we could get the hell out (to the nearest TAC bunker.) Until then Baron and I were to look for clues along the boardwalk. “Should we get a hotel room?” I asked. “Certain military leaders didn’t give us any money, so unless you have a credit card?” “I could probably pick pocket one.” “Way to blow our cover,” he said with a laugh. “Nah, we can deal with the issue of housing when we need to. With any luck Axel and Dr. Toki have plans to get us out, so we don’t have to sleep on the streets with a baby.” We walked a further, to the land of sun, sand and casinos, stopping to rest on a bench. “Let’s see what’s in the bag.” There were more shirts, pants, a few flattened bottles to collect water, or maybe even breastmilk. I placed each of the items neatly on my lap, hoping that I would not miss anything important. However, in the end, the only item of importance was a package of baby wipes. There wasn’t even any diapers. I had to assume, if I needed to change my baby, I was meant to use the extra clothing. (Same for first aid, due to lack of bandages.) “You really don’t have any money?” “We can always shoplift,” Baron said cheerfully as he tossed the baby in the air. Abby squealed with joy. I could feel my heart flutter with joy. “That’s the New Jersey spirit!” “There has to be a Walgreens around here someplace.” We easily found a corner store with the iconic red signage. Baron picked up a basket and headed to the food section; packaged drinks, dried cereal, candy, etc. “What do you think happened to Anya?” I asked, following close. “Since you’re the last person who saw her.” “She’s going after Axel,” he answered casually. “And you’re ok with that?” “It’s her deal, her quest or whatever.” “Or whatever?” I asked. His tone was really starting to piss me off. Axel was my friend, a human being. But so was Anya. And that was why my soul was being torn in half. “Anya’s going to do what she has to do but for the sake of all of us she’s going to act alone. That way the blood will be only on her hands.” I saw his point. If and when the time came, we were under no obligation to choose sides. “How thoughtful.” “You need any diapers?” Baron asked. He was holding an open package of men’s shaving razors. Grabbing a single replacement head, Baron somehow managed to break the plastic apart without wounding his fingertips. I assumed he was going to cut open a package. “No, I’m good. He has on a cloth diaper and I have enough supplies to make an extra. But I could use some soap.” I grabbed a package of off brand bar soap with an image of a happy Asian baby. Ideally, I could use this for washing both skin and clothing. After easily leaving the store with everything we needed, we ran in the direction of the beach, hoping to get lost in the crowds. Suddenly out of nowhere the sky darkened and the clouds swelled with rain. The storm came down hard and fast, transforming from freezing rain, to pin-sized hail. In the distance there seemed to be a homeless encampment. Without any words spoken, we both knew to make a run for it. The tent city consisted of a series of tarps connecting individual homes. There were a few spots that had people huddled around campfires. Men, women and children sat wrapped in dirty, wet blankets, as they struggled to stay warm. Not wanting to take any of their limited resources we walked until we found a sparse area with just a tarp surrounded by barrels and broken pallets. The space was just enough for Baron and I to sleep side by side, resting the baby on his chest. “Here,” he said, sliding the backpack in my direction. “You can use the bag as a pillow.” “Thanks.” Unable to comfortably sleep I found myself staring up at the blue tarp. As my mind started to float away my mouth spewed out the words that I thought I’d never say. “What happened between you and Noah?” “What do you mean?” Baron asked in a whisper. He knew perfectly well what I meant. “Feng told me he gave Noah the same opportunities he gave you. Yet somehow you ended up as his right-hand man with full access to his arsenal of weapons guns and even his appointment book.” Baron swallowed a lump in his throat. “Your point?” “Why didn’t you convince Noah to come with you?” Baron went silent. He held the baby close, shivering. “You don’t think I tried?” He blinked tears from his eyes. If he’d been angry, I would have continued the conversation; I would have wanted to know why he had the right to mourn the father of my child. But Baron wasn’t angry, he was in pain. “I think we should get some sleep.” “Yeah, totally.” I knew better then to try to ask for my son back. Abby was an emotional support baby and Baron needed him more. I made myself comfortable on my bed of plastic and leaves, pulling the tarp over my body for warmth. “Good night.” There was a moment of silence before we were awoken by Abby’s cries. Baron sat up, rocking the small baby, attempting to keep him warm. “I think he’s hungry.” “Give him here.” I had gotten better at breastfeeding, but with how cold it was I would have preferred to keep as covered as possible. “Can you help me with my tarp-blanket?” “Sure.” Baron helped cover my body, allowing the baby warmth and privacy. “Thanks.” I looked at Baron with genuine love in my heart. “Thank you for being my friend.” I couldn’t stop the tears from falling, mixing with the freezing cold rain. “Thank you for everything.” Baron blinked tears from his own eyes as he crossed his arms over his chest. “You really want to know what happened to Noah?” “Yeah, I do.” I looked down at Abby, who opened his eyes as he nursed. He had Noah’s courage and strength. “I can still remember that night. Even if it was for just a moment, I felt like I had friends, a real connection. That was never something that came easy for me.” Not that it mattered. It was yet another fleeting moment of happiness in my shit-show of a life. Baron lowered his shirt, revealing his upper chest. “Feng gave me an augmentation; I have an inorganic core made of some kind of plasma. I used to think it was radioactive but I have reason to believe it was created as a means of unlimited projectiles.” “And it keeps you warm?” That explained why Abby loved being held by him. “Well, the power came with a complimentary suit of armor that allowed me to be the perfect little henchman.” “You mean body guard?” Baron shrugged. “I assumed that was Feng’s original plan.” I swallowed the lump in my throat, mentally preparing for the worst. “And Noah?” “He wasn’t down for it. The only reason he surrendered to Kitsune was to allow you and Anya time to flee.” “Oh.” I felt like my heart stopped. I should have realized it from the beginning; that was the only reason we were allowed to live, because Noah truly loved me. “We were turned over to Feng. I could only assume she thought Feng had the ability to extract Noah’s mind; his intellect, his secrets. But he didn’t. Feng needed Noah to volunteer information.” Baron paused, blinking tears from his eyes. “That was the difference between us. My most valuable asset was my combat ability, maybe my strategy skills. All I had to do was pledge my loyalty, and wear the armor, to gain Feng’s trust. For Noah, that was asking too much. His mind contained secrets that could change the world; info that could never and would never fall in to the hands of tyrannical psychopaths.” “And that’s why he had to die.” Since I was finished breastfeeding, I handed the now happy, content infant back to Baron. “Although if it was up to Feng (and it was) well, you’ve seen his set up.” “Yeah,” I said with a nod. “I’m going to see that until the day I die.” “All of his prized victims are kept alive, conscious as their forced to exist as hood ornaments. Feng wanted them to suffer for all eternity, or until their brains turn to pea soup.” “Now I have a craving for split pea soup.” We laughed through our tears. In truth, I couldn’t close my eyes without seeing Noah’s remains. “You hungry?” Baron dug in his pocket, producing a smashed-up Snicker’s bar. “We can split it.” With food in our stomachs, we fell asleep to the sound of calming rain. For the first time since he’d been born, I had a vision of my son as a full-grown man. The sound of rain grew louder, gradually transforming to gunfire. I awoke in what appeared to be a WW2 battle scene. Thankfully I was transparent; bullets passed through me like a virtual reality game, and the area around me felt comfortably warm despite the fact I was standing in snow. In the distance I could see a man leaning on a tree. Eyes closed, he held a cross in his hand. I watched as he kissed the rosary pendent and said a simple prayer. “Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.” As I came closer, I could see he was gripping his shoulder while doubled over in pain. That raised the question: why was he reciting the prayer of a sharpshooter? He moved his hand to his waist, slowly retrieving a pistol. “My goodness and my fortress.” He held the gun under his chin, cocking the barrel to his throat. “My high tower and my deliverer. My shield, and he in whom I trust.” “No!” The sound came from behind me. I turned to see a figure wearing pink-purple armor. It was in the same style as what Baron wore. And he or she wasn’t running, they were flying. “Abby!” A female voice cried. I followed as fast as I could, as she rushed to the man’s side. “Lieutenant?” The man muttered, coughing up blood. I now had a good view of his face. It was my son and he was dying. Before I could reach out my hand, the armored woman flew through me. She fell to her knees, ripping off her helmet to reveal a young Hispanic face framed by lots of curly black hair. “Abby, Sir, I’m here. It’s going to be ok.” She pursed her lips, smiling at him, through visible tears. Abaddon lowered his weapon. “You need to flee.” With trembling fingers, he lifted his free hand to cup her face. It was obvious that leaving was the last thing he wanted. “This is a battle we cannot win.” “Not alone, Sir,” the soldier replied with confidence. Why was she calling him Sir? I could barely make out a patch on his arm. It was possible he was an officer. The young woman lifted his arm, adjusting him over her shoulder. “I’m not leaving you behind. The nearest medic station is about six kilometers south of here. We can make it.” Before he could reply, she lifted his broken body in her arms, flying off into the night. The world started to spin as the scene changed. We were now in a poorly lit underground hospital. I could tell it was underground since every few seconds the room shook with the sound of gunfire and other (louder, more violent) explosions. Abby was laying on a cot with his bare chest exposed. He had several fresh bullet wounds, as well as deep scars. The woman was by his side, having taken off her armor she rested her head by his shoulder, holding his hand. “Why do you call me by my rank?” “What should I call you?” “My name is Sundra, but my friends call me Sunny.” “Is that because you sparkle like sunshine?” he asked with a subtle smile. Abby moved his free hand to her cheek, brushing a lock of hair behind her ear. “You don’t have to stay, Sunny.” “I want to stay. Call it my street gang code of honor; a little something, I picked up from my grandma.” She turned her wrist to reveal a tattoo. It was a stylized diamond with the words, ‘Lucy in the sky.’ Sunny started to softly hum the melody of the famous rock song. “Lucy in the sky with diamonds. Sorry, the title is the only part I know.” She kissed Abby on the forehead. “My papa’s name was Denny. He was the first of my family line born in America. You really remind me of him.” A gang member named Lucy with a son named Denny? That couldn’t be a coincidence. I moved closer, to get a better look at her face. She kissed Abby down his nose to his lips. There were tears in his eyes. “I’ll never forget you.” Sunny turned, briefly glancing in my direction. “Do you think she’s here, in the room?” “I know she is,” Abby replied, looking up at the ceiling. “Even as a child, I could always feel my mother’s spirit watching over me.” “Can she hear us?” Sunny asked, still looking in my path but not actually at me. “If the calculations and the technology are correct.” “Do you think she can save us?” Her large, emotional eyes, blinked back tears. With every blink she started to disappear, vanishing from reality like a spirit lost to time. When Sunny was completely gone, all that was left was my adult son. His arms were wrapped around the empty space. All around me I could hear sobbing. I assumed this meant I was going to wake up. My baby son was probably crying for food or maybe because of the cold: but I was going to wake up. Right? I wanted so badly to wake up. Wake up! Wake up! I felt a sharp pain. I awoke with a jolt under the tarp, to the collapsing of our little shelter. Touching my hip, I felt blood and splinters. All around me all I could see was tarp. I wanted to scream. Where was my son? Where was Baron? I needed to calm down; breathe, just breathe. I opened my hands, placing them palms down as if I was going to attempt a snow angel. There was a secret, a lock. There had to be. I felt a strange crack in the pavement. Digging my fingertips in, the piece seemed to transform into a handle (or a lever.) Even if it was just a hand hold, it would be my ticket out of the tarp since I could use it to keep myself grounded in place (as opposed to flopping around like a dying fish.) Turns out, it was a handle. I found myself falling down a slide. At the bottom I finally managed to get free of the tarp. Baron was sitting in a dark corner with a finger to his lips. “Shh, follow me. This is a mezzanine level.” He motioned towards what looked like a second series of tunnels. “I’m not sure how deep it goes. We’re not going to slide: we’re going to crawl. I’ll go first and you follow close. Do not lose sight of me. Understand?” “Are you holding the baby?” Baron nodded. “If shit goes bad, I want you to find my body. I’ll protect him with everything I have.” I knew what he meant, and trusted him fully, but I was still afraid. “You’re a better fighter than me.” “Yeah, that’s why I’m going to hold the baby.” “Ok.” Baron and I snuck down the tunnels, we emerged in an underground factory facility. “What is this place?” “Trash processing facility,” Baron replied. “You head left I’ll head right.” “Sure, I guess.” I went left until I saw what appeared to be a light source. I passed between several cargo boxes, emerging in an open area. There was a series of large vats, bubbling with hot oil or (more likely) acid. “Acid?” I had never seen acid before but the scene looked like something out of a comic book. “It is acid,” said a voice from a nearby balcony. “the typical use is to process heavy metals and other non-recyclable materials.” “Faust?” I couldn’t actually see his location. “Today we’re disposing of inorganic material of a different kind.” He hit a button causing a limp body to start to descend. It was clearly Tony, but I couldn’t tell if he was even alive. “Are you willing to make a deal; trade his life for the contents of the battery?” “I don’t even know if the copy I have is real.” And there was also the fact that the infamous flash drive was in a van, in the care of Axel and Dr. Toki. “The one that Baron put on the dark web? Trust me it’s the real deal.” “So, what’s on it?” I blurted out the words, although I wasn’t expecting any kind of logical answer. The man snickered. “Does it matter?” “Yeah, kind of.” “Look, do you want to know my entire evil plan or will you be a good girl and save your beloved boyfriend’s life?” I looked over at Tony. I had no way of helping him. If he was still alive, he was more then capable of saving himself. I had to believe that. “Is it time travel?” “What?” Faust asked with a laugh. “Seriously, what did you just say?” With a flash of light, Faust teleported, placing himself in front of me. He stood tall, in a tailored suit, staring me down with his creepy metallic eyes. “Answer me, little girl.” Why did he look so much like the adult version of my son? Because he was a shape shifter? Or was there something else? “Time travel?” The once stern man cracked a smile. “Time travel is the stuff of movies and fairytales. The contents of the battery will bring this world to its knees.” “Yeah, I’ve heard.” I blinked my eyes as the pieces fell into place. There was a reason why my son had been able to communicate with me so clearly through dreams. “Selective telepathic time travel.” Faust was no longer smiling. “Would you prefer that power fall to the hands of Kitsune? She and her brother, they’d use it to cause a gang war; an apocalypse of weapons and drugs. You wouldn’t want that blood on your hands.” We he seriously trying to appeal to my humanity? “What about you? What’s your plan, to go back in time to give Hitler a migraine?” I knew what his plan was. Or at least I think I did. There was something about Lucy or maybe Denny. What I knew for certain was that the final goal was Sunny; her existence held the key. “You’re not alone, are you? Such a pity.” Faust teleported off, in a blast of blue light. I already knew where he was going and there was nothing I could do. Faust landed on top of Baron as he attempted to free Tony’s body. Both men were knocked in to the acid. There was no sound; no screams, or even cries. Where was my baby? Faust teleported in front of me, holding my son in his arms. “You might not have been willing to save your boyfriend, but perhaps you will be willing to trade for your child.” My back hurt, my arms hurt and my head was pounding, but I ran straight at him, charging like a football player going in for a tackle. I was blinded by a familiar blue light. We had teleported, but to where? I could hear Abby crying. He was alive and that’s all that mattered. I blinked my eyes once then twice. “Fire?”
The next Detroit: The catastrophic collapse of Atlantic City
With the closure of almost half of Atlantic City's casinos, Newark set to vote on gambling and casinos or racinos in almost every state, it seems as if the reasons for the very existence of Atlantic City are in serious jeopardy. Israel Joffe Atlantic City, once a major vacation spot during the roaring 20s and 1930s, as seen on HBOs Boardwalk Empire, collapsed when cheap air fare became the norm and people had no reason to head to the many beach town resorts on the East Coast. Within a few decades, the city, known for being an ‘oasis of sin’ during the prohibition era, fell into serious decline and dilapidation. New Jersey officials felt the only way to bring Atlantic City back from the brink of disaster would be to legalize gambling. Atlantic City’s first casino, Resorts, first opened its doors in 1978. People stood shoulder to shoulder, packed into the hotel as gambling officially made its way to the East Coast. Folks in the East Coast didn't have to make a special trip all the way to Vegas in order to enjoy some craps, slots, roulette and more. As time wore on, Atlantic City became the premier gambling spots in the country. While detractors felt that the area still remained poor and dilapidated, officials were quick to point out that the casinos didn't bring the mass gentrification to Atlantic City as much as they hoped but the billions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs for the surrounding communities was well worth it. Atlantic City developed a reputation as more of a short-stay ‘day-cation’ type of place, yet managed to stand firm against the 'adult playground' and 'entertainment capital of the world' Las Vegas. Through-out the 1980s, Atlantic City would become an integral part of American pop culture as a place for east coast residents to gamble, watch boxing, wrestling, concerts and other sporting events. However in the late 1980s, a landmark ruling considered Native-American reservations to be sovereign entities not bound by state law. It was the first potential threat to the iron grip Atlantic City and Vegas had on the gambling and entertainment industry. Huge 'mega casinos' were built on reservations that rivaled Atlantic City and Vegas. In turn, Vegas built even more impressive casinos. Atlantic City, in an attempt to make the city more appealing to the ‘big whale’ millionaire and billionaire gamblers, and in effort to move away from its ‘seedy’ reputation, built the luxurious Borgata casino in 2003. Harrah’s created a billion dollar extension and other casinos in the area went through serious renovations and re-branded themselves. It seemed as if the bite that the Native American casinos took out of AC and Vegas’ profits was negligible and that the dominance of those two cities in the world of gambling would remain unchallenged. Then Macau, formally a colony of Portugal, was handed back to the Chinese in 1999. The gambling industry there had been operated under a government-issued monopoly license by Stanley Ho's Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau. The monopoly was ended in 2002 and several casino owners from Las Vegas attempted to enter the market. Under the one country, two systems policy, the territory remained virtually unchanged aside from mega casinos popping up everywhere. All the rich ‘whales’ from the far east had no reason anymore to go to the United States to spend their money. Then came the biggest threat. As revenue from dog and horse racing tracks around the United States dried up, government officials needed a way to bring back jobs and revitalize the surrounding communities. Slot machines in race tracks started in Iowa in 1994 but took off in 2004 when Pennsylvania introduced ‘Racinos’ in an effort to reduce property taxes for the state and to help depressed areas bounce back. As of 2013, racinos were legal in ten states: Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia with more expected in 2015. Tracks like Delaware Park and West Virginia's Mountaineer Park, once considered places where local degenerates bet on broken-down nags in claiming races, are now among the wealthiest tracks around, with the best races. The famous Aqueduct race track in Queens, NY, once facing an uncertain future, now possesses the most profitable casino in the United States. From June 2012 to June 2013, Aqueduct matched a quarter of Atlantic City's total gaming revenue from its dozen casinos: $729.2 million compared with A.C.'s $2.9 billion. It has taken an estimated 15 percent hit on New Jersey casino revenue and climbing. And it isn't just Aqueduct that's taking business away from them. Atlantic City's closest major city, Philadelphia, only 35-40 minutes away, and one of the largest cities in America, now has a casino that has contributed heavily to the decline in gamers visiting the area. New Jersey is the third state in the U.S. to have authorized internet gambling. However, these online casinos are owned and controlled by Atlantic City casinos in an effort to boost profits in the face of fierce competition. California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Texas are hoping to join Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey and the U.S. Virgin Islands in offering online gambling to their residents. With this in mind, it seems the very niche that Atlantic City once offered as a gambling and entertainment hub for east coast residents is heading toward the dustbin of history. Time will tell if this city will end up like Detroit. However, the fact that they are losing their biggest industry to major competition, much like Detroit did, with depressed housing, casinos bankrupting/closing and businesses fleeing , it all makes Atlantic City’s fate seem eerily similar.
The Trump Plaza Casino is set to implode just days after Biden's Inauguration, city labels "public safety hazard"
This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 73%. (I'm a bot)
The Trump Plaza Casino tower in Atlantic City, New Jersey, is set for implosion on January 29, just days after President-elect Joe Biden's presumptive Inauguration Day. Atlantic City officials deemed the Trump Plaza structure on the famous Boardwalk a "Public safety hazard" last March. There is something poetic that the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City is scheduled for implosion about a week after President Biden takes office. Citing disrepair, Trump in 2014 sued Trump Entertainment Resorts, which he no longer controlled, and demanded to have his name removed from the Trump Plaza building. Trump previously had two other casinos in Atlantic City, the Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Marina, but both were later rebranded and operated under new management following numerous Trump bankruptcies. Trump Plaza opened as Harrah's at Trump Plaza in the mid-80s and was the flagship development property of the Trump Organization in Atlantic City.
It all started in November 1976 when the state of New Jersey gave the thumbs up to regulated casino gambling on its territory. Legal gambling was restricted solely to Atlantic City where the first landbased gambling venue, Resorts Atlantic City, opened doors only a couple of years after the state’s legislators approved casino gaming. The iconic casino continues to run its operations from the exact same location on 1133 Boardwalk to this very day. Atlantic City was a good choice for building a gambling hub, mainly due to its ideal location, as sits in close proximity to metropolises like Philadelphia, Washington DC, and New York. But in order to attract the attention of gamblers and become a worthy competitor of Las Vegas, 스포츠토토 Atlantic City needed to give traditional gambling a twist. This twist came in the form of a new blackjack game, one with better, more favorable rules than those in Sin City.
If we get a new city, what kind of city (or cities) would you like to see the most?
A few ideas of mine: Orlando & Miami, Florida-inspired setting: tropical beaches, nightclubs, amusement parks (including a parody of Disneyworld where you can own the castle as a crib), Scarface-type mansions, spooky swamps full of alligators and crazy rednecks, etc. Rocky Mountains (Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, etc.): large mountains, snow, ski lodges, vast forests, etc. Las Vegas (maybe with a bit of Arizona mixed in): sprawling casinos, neon lights, Ocean’s Eleven style heists, deserts and canyons, a mysterious and restricted government base in said desert, mobsters, prostitutes, celebrity impersonators, hotels that look like pirate ships and Egyptian pyramids, etc. New York/New Jersey: huge buildings covered in LED billboards, beach boardwalks with carnival rides and arcades, shady-looking apartment complexes full of killers and drug dealers, etc. Redesigns of Stilwater and Steelport: Honestly, I hope they don’t do this, but it could work. A multiple cities route like San Andreas with completely revamped versions of these two cities, and maybe a third new one, could be great. Not sure how I would expand Stilwater other than adding more areas of wilderness, a state faicarnival, and letting us explore sports stadiums (and maybe own Ultor Arena as a crib). With Steelport, I would make it the NY/NJ type setting described above. How about you guys?
N.J. restaurants NOT reopening for indoor dining this week after ‘knucklehead’ crowds at bars ruin it for everyone
This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 68%. (I'm a bot)
New Jersey will not reopen indoor dining this week as planned in the first major reversal of the state's Phase 2 coronavirus reopening plan, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday. Indoor dining was scheduled to resume Thursday along with several other big reopening steps including Atlantic City casinos, amusement parks, boardwalk rides and arcades ahead of the busy July 4th weekend. Murphy cited recent scenes from expanded outdoor bar and restaurants showing packed crowds not wearing masks and ignoring social distancing as a reason from pausing indoor dining indefinitely. Murphy had provided the detailed restrictions for indoor dining at restaurants on Saturday, but changed his mind just two days later. "So the national situation, compounded by instances of knucklehead behavior here at home, are requiring us to hit pause on the restart of indoor dining for the foreseeable future." Murphy warned people last week the administration would crack down on those violating safety guidelines after the first round of viral videos surfaced from the Jersey Shore and other bar-heavy locations showing large unmasked crowds jammed into newly opened outdoor dining areas.
May 28, Louisville, Iroquois Amphitheater May 29, Columbus, Ohio, Express Live! Outdoor Amphitheatre May 31, Atlanta, Coca-Cola Roxy June 01, Simpsonville, South Carolina, CCNB Amphitheatre at Heritage Park Simpsonville June 02, Baltimore, MECU Pavilion June 04, Asbury Park, New Jersey, Stone Pony Summer Stage June 06, Boston, Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion June 07, New York, Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk June 08, Camden, New Jersey, BB&T Pavilion June 10, Pittsburgh, Stage AE – Outdoors June 11, Detroit, Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill June 13, Council Bluffs, Iowa, Harrah's Council Bluffs - Stir Cove June 14, Chicago, Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island June 15, Minneapolis, The Armory June 18, Kansas City, Missouri, Starlight Theatre June 19, Denver, Fillmore Auditorium June 20, Salt Lake City, The Great Saltair June 22, Seattle, Marymoor June 23, Portland, Theater of the Clouds at Moda Center June 25, San Francisco, The Masonic June 26, San Diego, Petco Park - Park at the Park June 28, Las Vegas, The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas June 29, Los Angeles, Greek Theatre June 30, Phoenix, Nevada, Comerica Theatre July 02, Austin, Austin360 Amphitheater July 03, Irving, The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory source: http://dallas.culturemap.com/news/entertainment/02-12-19-coheed-cambria-mastodon-toyota-music-factory-irving/
Last year, on National Rollercoaster Day, I took a spontaneous day off to South Jersey for Playland's Castaway Cove and Morey's Piers. I also slid into Clementon Park about 20 minutes before they closed for the night to ride Hell Cat. At that time, I wasn't really into tracking my count, but after setting up a spreadsheet and figuring I was at 399, I wanted to hit 400 as quick as possible. But to make things more challenging, instead of just paying for admission to Dutch Wonderland or Sesame Place to ride their new-to-me coasters (one at each), I figured I could hit the North New Jersey parks that I passed-by last time. I wanted to plan a route from Central PA that would do as little back-tracking as possible, so this is what I came up with. iPlay America - Quite a large FEC. I did some research about park hours and pricing, but I didn't pay too much attention to the pictures on their web site. It's quite large on the inside, with a ropes course, go-karts, several flat rides, a few golf simulators, bowling, and so on. Of course, it has Freedom Rider, which turned out to be my #400, solely because it opened at 10 AM, earlier than the other coasters on this trip. It's a standard SBF Visa spinning coaster, which is identical to the one I rode at IAAPA a few years back. It did at least four laps and I got some decent spinning. Keansburg Amusement Park - Somehow, I've never been here. Ended up looking on their web site, and it said rides opened at Noon, but the park was a ghost town when I pulled in the parking lot at 11:40 AM. A few carnival games were open, and there was a lady at the ticket booth who couldn't tell me if or when the two coasters (Looping Star and Sea Serpent) would open for the day. I waited around and took some photos, but decided not to wait. One odd thing: they have a trailer-mounted Chance Chaos... which must be the rarest thing Keansburg has. I can't think of a single other park with one anymore. I made a quick side-stop at Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash, which is in Red Bank. Didn't buy anything, but I can definitely say I went. It's a place. Jenkinson's Boardwalk - Last time I was here, they still had Flitzer. I skipped Tornado that time, so I rode that today, which may have been my younger self's reluctance to consider powered coasters as credits. Older, wiser, less picky. Tidal Wave, their SBF Visa spinning coaster, is quite a surprise. I didn't look at RCDB too hard when planning this, or I would have seen that this 2019 addition is a much larger model than the standard spinning coaster from SBF. At 20 feet tall and 390+ feet long, it was really quite fun with a few laps around the track. Casino Pier - Last time I visited was long before Hurricane Sandy, so I had memories of the long-gone Star Jet, as well as Centrifuge, their indoor Scrambler. Hydrus was the big reason behind this trip, and I was hoping to get on the new version of Centrifuge (of course, they have some rule against single-riders on that ride, so I skipped it). Hydrus is only my third Eurofighter, after Mystery Mine and Rock Bottom Plunge. It's naturally smaller than those, but very smooth and solid. It was a walk-on, thankfully, since they only had one train on, despite it being quite busy on the boardwalk. Bring on more of these in smaller parks. Funplex - Last stop of the day was here, and this one is another FEC, though with some outdoor rides and a tiny waterpark. I rode my last coaster of the day, FunCoaster. Another SBF Visa ride (saw their rides all day... their salesmen must be killing it in Jersey). This was probably the worst coaster of the day, and the only of it's kind in the US. Not sure what would compel someone to choose this model over a standard Crazy Mouse, other than maybe height limit or cost. All-in-all, a pretty successful day, despite the failure of Keansburg. I can't blame them... if I was in management and saw an empty parking lot and midway, I wouldn't open rides, either. But I'll come back someday.
What drives a person to cover themselves in gasoline and drop a match by their feet? That was the question that ran through the minds of many in a crowd outside the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey on March 23rd, 2019. At approximately 7:45PM on that cold spring eve, a Mr. James Ferdini, age 47, covered himself in gasoline and was prepared to drop a match in the fuel. As the crowd shouted for him to stop and several witnesses called the police, Mr. Ferdini reportedly stood unfazed, simply grinning and appearing to revel in the crowd’s shock. “It was a suicidal action but it didn’t look like a suicidal person,” says Sam Kenset, an eyewitness to the incident. “I guess I don’t really know what a suicidal person looks like, but his movements and the way he was talking -- he just didn’t seem like a man down on his luck.” Ms. Kenset is quite astute in her observation -- Mr. Feredini was certainly not down on his luck. In fact only moments before covering himself in gasoline, Mr. Ferdini had cashed out more than $1.3 million in winnings from the Borgata Hotel and Casino, making his suicidal action all the more puzzling. However dangerous, Mr. Ferdini’s gasoline soaked stunt would not lead to his death on March 23rd, but his life was not long for this world either. Three days later on March 26th he would be found dead from an entirely different cause. In Mr. Ferdini’s incredible winnings and suicidal tendencies leading up to his unusual and grizzly death on March 26th, many questions remain. Who was James Ferdini? What happened to his more than million dollars in winnings? And what was the lead up of events that caused his demise? Based on interviews with management at the Borgata Hotel and Casino, local police and investigators, and corroborated with eyewitness accounts, independent investigative reporter Myra Kindle, for the first time, brings you a report on the man who nearly bankrupted a casino, and whose luck seemed to make him invincible until his highly improbable death.
What are the Odds?
As the match fell to James Ferdini’s feet outside the Borgata Hotel and Casino, the crowd stood agasp as they waited for the inevitable fire and horrible death of a gas soaked man. This moment would never come however, and the match reportedly landed in the puddle of gasoline meeting it as though it were water. “The crowd started to look away the moment he dropped the match,” says Matthew Gershowitz, a witness to the event. “I couldn’t though -- I needed to see what would happen. I mean we all thought we were witnessing a suicide or something, but the guy was jovial, happy, making jokes with the crowd before he lit the match. And then when it hit the gas, it just burned out, and the man started laughing. We were all amazed. It was like a miracle -- we thought he’d die for sure.” While it’s quite understandable that the crowd believed they had witnessed a miracle when James did not burst into flames, professor of organic chemistry at Villanova University, Marcy Li, says the odds of Mr. Ferdini’s death were far less than certain. “Gasoline is certainly flammable, but not like in the way shown in movies and TV,” says professor Li. “It’s the layer of vapor above that gasoline that is most likely to combust. There could be a number of factors like wind, humidity and temperature that improved Mr. Ferdini’s chance of avoiding being burned alive. I would certainly say he’s lucky, but I wouldn’t say it’s a miracle he didn’t burst into flames.” If Mr. Ferdini relied on luck that day to survive, it would appear to have been with him in spades for quite some time. Having just come from the Borgata casino floor, James was reportedly on a ‘hot-streak’, winning tens of thousands of dollars an hour over the preceding two days. “You have to imagine we were pretty happy when he left the casino,” says Richard Markelson, a floor manager at the Borgata. “Normally we want customers to stay as long as possible so the house can win our money back, but Mr. Ferdini never had a bad roll, spin, or lever pull the whole 40 consecutive hours he was gambling at the Borgata. I’ve never seen anything like it.” Mr. Markelson was able to confirm through cash-logs and casino surveillance that Mr. Ferdini had indeed won big at the Borgata, and records show his total winnings amounted to $1,348,427. Mr. Markelson said of the winnings: “It was enough of a loss over a short period of time that the owners of the casino were worried our insurance premiums were gonna jump. A casino in Atlantic City simply doesn’t lose that much money in such a short time, at least not to a nobody, and Mr. Ferdini was certainly a nobody.”
A Career Loser
While management at the Borgata Hotel and Casino did not know Mr. Ferdini prior to his 40 hour lucrative gambling binge, many on Atlantic City’s boardwalk have been acutely aware of James for years. For example after James’s stunt with the gasoline, he was arrested and taken to the Atlantic City jail and held on the possible charge of disorderly conduct, but was released after the charges were dropped. The reason? The police had a long record of interactions with Mr. Ferdini and thought of him only as a minor risk. “We were more worried about the guy’s mental health than him causing a scene on the boardwalk,” says Atlantic City officer Paul Stevenson. “We’ve known James for years -- I mean he’s a loser. Is it a shock to me that he would try and commit suicide like that? Absolutely not.” When asked why the police did not opt to commit Mr. Ferdini to a hospital on a psychological evaluation, officer Stevenson replied: “The plan was to have him committed, but some lawyer showed up and we didn’t want a legal fight, so we decided to release him instead. I felt a bit mixed about it. I mean the guy was clearly suicidal -- why else would you douse yourself in gasoline?” When told that Mr. Ferdini was reportedly jovial and happy during the gasoline incident, and that he had in fact won more than a million dollars immediately prior to the event, officer Stevenson struggled with the narrative: “That doesn’t sound like the James Ferdini I know. He’s always been a depressed gambler, and never won a game in his life as far as I know. He couldn’t win a hundred bucks, let alone a million. I can’t even believe they let him into the Borgata in the first place, but I guess the cash winnings explains the lawyer.” Officer Stevenson asked if I could confirm the details of the winnings and that Mr. Ferdini was in a jovial mood during the gasoline incident. When I showed documentation of Mr. Ferdini’s winnings provided by Mr. Markelson and relayed several eyewitness accounts as to his temperament, officer Stevenson replied: “I don’t get it. So, why’d he try to burn himself alive?”
Perhaps no individual has a better sense of who Mr. Ferdini is and what happened to him than the floor manager at the Borgata, Mr. Markelson. For 40 hours prior to the gasoline incident, Mr. Ferdini bet heavily at the Borgata casino, and Mr. Markelson was in close proximity for much of his hot-streak. “I was actually supposed to be on vacation that week,” says Mr. Markelson, “but I got called in because the other cooler was sick.” A ‘cooler’ as Mr. Markelson explained, is a relic of old casinos that today is rarely used, however some establishments still invest in what could be called ‘charms’ to bring bad luck to high rollers. “I got hired because I’m unlucky,” explains Mr. Markelson. “I can do the job of floor manager just fine -- don't get me wrong -- but it was my knack for bad luck that got me the job for sure.” A cooler operates by simply being present around those that are on a run of good luck. In Mr. Markelson’s account, he says that being around him will bring such bad luck to any gambler that their cards will go cold, their lever pulls result in no winnings, and their wheel spins doomed to lose money. “It’s a talent I’ve had since, well, forever,” says Mr. Markelson. “If I just stand near someone, they’ll start to have bad luck like me. I know it sounds crazy, and sometimes I don’t believe it myself, but it’s true. I mean, like I said, I think that’s why the casino hired me. They could count on me to go onto the casino floor and bring bad luck to anyone that’s winning a bit too much. Best part, since it’s based on superstition, it’s completely above board.” With James Ferdini, Richard Markelson found that his power did not work however. “I don’t know about before I showed up, but for when I was watching him, that man could not lose. The casino made me stay multiple shifts, I’m talking nearly 40 hours to watch him and were hoping I’d bring him bad luck, but it never happened. He just kept on winning no matter what game he played.”
An Escalation of Bets
In attempting to find James Ferdini’s state of mind prior to the gasoline incident, floor manager Richard Markelson provided unfettered access to video of the casino floor, even though he realized he could be breaking several state gambling commission laws by allowing a reporter to look at such surveillance. In fact, more than taking the risk, it was Mr. Markelson that called me and led me to this story in the first place. “The police didn’t send him to the hospital after the gas thing I’ve been told. I figured the truth has to be somewhere and when police won’t do their job, I guess it’s reporters that have to step in,” says Mr. Markelson. “The most important thing to be me personally is finding out why he died just a few days later in that horrible freak accident -- the one on March 26th.” When asked if Mr. Markelson had any interest in finding Mr. Ferdini’s still missing $1.3 million, he replied: “Of course, but that’s not my primary concern here. I just want to know what the fuck happened. How does a guy who should have felt on top of the world go to dousing himself in gasoline, and then ends up dead a few days later? I really want to know.” In the video access provided by Mr. Markelson, I managed to find new clues that might be able to explain Mr. Ferdini’s downward spiral. It could best be described as an escalation of bets that appeared to take place soon after Mr. Ferdini began his run of good luck. According to video of the casino floor, around the time manager Richard Markelson appeared, Mr. Ferdini started his miraculous winning streak. The video shows Mr. Ferdini starting with craps, moving to baccarat, then slot machines, and followed by a long run at twenty-one. He continues to gamble for 40 straight hours, much of it with Mr. Markelson in close proximity. “I was the only cooler around, so the higher ups at the Borgata made me stay the whole time. I got a lot of overtime that week,” says Mr. Markelson. Curiously, the video shows that at around the 25 hour mark Mr. Ferdini attracts something of a crowd. While the video offers no sound, it appears as though Mr. Ferdini is making several wagers with his new found groupies. At first a few in his new entourage gamble him directly in casino floor games like Texas Holdem, but it appears as though they make several bets outside of the casino games as well. In one instance Mr. Ferdini appears to bet that he can drink boiling hot water. The video shows him drinking a scalding hot cup and immediately receiving a small payout from several people he was talking to before beginning the stunt. It became clear to me after reviewing the video surveillance that for this story, I would need to speak to at least one of the people who witnessed Mr. Ferdini taking on these non-casino game bets. Thankfully, with Mr. Markelson’s help I was able to track down Maria Nowak, who in the video appears to spend several hours with Mr. Ferdini. A resident of Atlantic City, Ms. Nowak was able to confirm that Mr. Ferdini was taking part in what she describes as “extreme behavior”, and that he was seemingly willing to bet on anything and everything. Even games that were clearly not of chance, like drinking boiling hot water.
”For $500, Right?”
Why did Mr. Ferdini cover himself in gasoline and drop a match? It’s a question essential to understanding his mindset, and one for which the answer appears to be quite simple. After tracking down Ms. Nowak, a long time resident who often partakes in long gambling binges herself, she claims Mr. Ferdini covered himself in gasoline and dropped a match in the fuel simply because of a wager. “We had been doing side bets for hours,” says Ms. Nowak, who agreed to meet me at Hayday Cafe, a local coffee shop. “I was with a group of friends and we noticed that this guy [Mr. Ferdini] had not been losing any bets for hours. The guy was pretty much throwing money around and that type of attitude attracts the crowd I was with. So, we started making small talk and then made a few bets, dumb, small ones to start.” When asked what bets her group made with Mr. Ferdini, Ms. Nowak replies: “At first it was things like, how many casino chips he could fit into his mouth. But then it escalated pretty quickly, like soon we were betting on how much money he could win in an hour. Then a bit after that he did this really stupid boiling hot water challenge -- he simply bet he could drink boiling hot water without having to go to the hospital. The bet didn’t make any sense, but like everything else, he won.” “The gasoline challenge was the craziest though,” she continues. “It was clearly a joke when my friend suggested it, but James took him up on it right away. The challenge was, like, ‘can you cover yourself in gasoline, drop a match, and survive?’ James said he would do it for $500, and we just assumed he was kidding, but sure enough he was dead serious.” Ms. Nowak claims that she too was present in the crowd outside the Borgata when Mr. Ferdini made good on the gasoline bet, and that immediately prior to him dropping the match, he said to her and the rest of the gambling entourage, “This is for $500, right?” “He said it but I’m not too sure how many people heard it,” Ms. Nowak says. “I mean the whole crowd was screaming for him to stop. They all thought the guy wanted to kill himself. I guess one of us nodded our heads to James’s question, and then he dropped the match. I’ll be damned, but he won that bet too. We gave him $500 alright, not that he needed it after making all that money at the Borgata.” When asked if Ms. Nowak saw Mr. Ferdini after he was released from the police station, she responds: “Yea, we hung out for the next two or three days -- all of us -- the gambling group that had formed at the casino, James Ferdini, and then, oh yea, that guy Richard Makel-something. I think he worked at the Borgata but he hung around with us for a couple days while we partied at a different hotel. It was around the time Richard and the rest of us left that James was in that freak accident.”
The details of Ms. Nowak’s account have confirmed two things to this reporter. One, Mr. Ferdini’s suicidal gesture to cover himself in gasoline was nothing more than a bet to earn more money. Feeling high from his good luck at the casino, it would appear Mr. Ferdini thought himself invincible and was willing to take on any challenge, even if it put his life on the line. Two, Borgata floor manager and ‘cooler’ Richard Markelson has not been fully forthcoming in his account of what happened. For example, he never mentioned spending time with Mr. Ferdini after leaving the Borgata. Confronting Mr. Markelson, I ask him for a more accurate account of what happened after Mr. Ferdini’s gasoline soaked stunt. Mr. Markelson is nervous in his reply, realizing he’s been caught withholding valuable information. “You have to understand that James is not particularly good with money,” starts Mr. Markelson. “I know I’m saying that having really only met the guy at the Borgata casino, but you could just tell he was something of a loser. Maybe other people told you that too, I don’t know. My point is James was destined to spend that money on drugs and alcohol, and well, we all kind of just tagged along for the ride.” Mr. Markelson goes on to describe a drug fueled binge that lasted from Saturday March 23rd until sometime before Mr. Ferdini’s death on Tuesday, March 26th. “James and I had been awake for more than 40 hours when he left the casino, and I was going to go to bed, but somehow I got roped into his entourage he found at the Borgata when he was raking in cash. I would’ve gone home, but free cocaine is free cocaine. I’m not particularly proud of saying that, but it’s true -- I really like the drug.” Richard Markelson says that in addition to drugs, Mr. Ferdini hired prostitutes and strippers for the group’s amusement. “I’m not into all the seedy stuff, but we had been awake for a long long time and on so much shit. I mean we were taking meth rips and stuff. Yea, it’s weird now that I look back on it, but a binge can be like that sometimes.” The most important question to this reporter is what happened in the final hours of Mr. Ferdini’s life. In this respect, Mr. Markelson claims to know nothing. “I left before he died on Tuesday,” says Mr. Markelson. “It doesn’t surprise me that he died though. The gasoline bet was just the beginning of it. That girl, Maria Nowak, the one that told you I was hanging out with the impromptu entourage -- it was her boyfriend that really stepped things up in a pretty violent way in terms of betting.” When asked what he means by “violent”, Mr. Markelson responds: “I mean they were actually gambling on Russian roulette in the hotel room when I left.”
That Other Roulette
Once again reaching out to Ms. Nowak, I ask her about Mr. Markelson’s description of partying and gambling in a hotel with Mr. Ferdini. It was at this point that Ms. Nowak declined any further questions, only providing the statement: “I’ve said everything I’m going to say.” While this seemed like a certain dead end to discovering what happened in the final hours of Mr. Ferdini’s life and also possibly to tracking down what happened to his $1.3 million in winnings, I by luck received a phone call shortly before I was ready to call it quits on this investigation. The phone call was from one Mr. Samuel Howlser, boyfriend to Ms. Maria Nowak. Mr. Howlser said he wished to speak with me to clarify a few details that Ms. Nowak had shared with me and to dispute any “lies” stated by Mr. Markelson. “Me and Maria didn’t steal nobody’s money and we’re not gonna get in trouble for what Richard Markelson or anyone in that entourage might be telling you,” Mr. Howsler said to me in a phone interview. When asked about details of the drug fueled gambling binge shared by Mr. Markelson and Ms. Nowak, Mr. Howsler mostly confirms their accounts, however his description of floor manager Makelson is less favorable than what Mr. Markelson told me himself. “He was the craziest fucker of the bunch, definitely,” says Mr. Howlser. “He knew the hookups for the crystal and coke, got us ketamine too. But the nuttiest thing about him is what the fuck he’d bet on. Like if Ferdini thought he was invincible, doubly so for that manger from the Borgata. Markelson was the one that brought out a revolver for Russian roulette too, and they played like dozens of games.” Russian roulette, a lethal game of chance that has the player hold a loaded pistol to their head and fire, is an extremely dangerous game that has been popularized in media and fiction for decades. The game requires a loaded revolver to have at least one bullet chambered before firing, with the odds of death usually being one in six. “It was fucking crazy when Markelson said he’d play it, but the dude was having as good luck as Ferdini so he thought he could do it,” says Mr. Howlser. “So they load a pistol with a bullet and start playing each other cause they were the only two fuckers crazy enough to do it. They play one round, but no winner so they go again. Second round, no winner so a third. Eventually they play enough rounds where they figure they gotta up the odds. So instead of loading one bullet, they load two. They play round after round with two out of six chambers loaded with bullets, spinning the revolver cylinder each time before they pull the trigger. This goes on for a while right, and then they load another fucking bullet. Each round now these guys have a one-in-two chance of blowing their brains out, but they keep playing.” In Mr. Howlser’s recounting over the phone, I hear he is deeply disturbed by this story and ask why him and everyone in the gambling entourage continued to sit in the hotel room. In response he says, “We had been up for days smoking crystal and doing other shit. We were fuckng zombies. It’s only looking back now, sober, that I can see how crazy it was.” But the game of lethal roulette was not over yet. Mr. Howlser claims that Mr. Ferdini and Mr. Makelson continued to play round after round, occasionally loading another bullet until finally the revolver was fully loaded. “With six out of six chambers loaded, the odds of them dying on the next trigger pull was 100%,” says Mr. Howsler. “And I’ll damned, but they both went, and they both fucking lived. Somehow, they both got dud cartridges. After that, they both just had huge laugh for a while. A little bit later, Richard Markelson leaves and James Ferdini and the rest of us stay doing drugs for a bit until the rest of us guests leave too.” Before Mr. Howlser ends the phone call, he stresses again the reason for contacting me. “What happened is a messed up story, I know, but the point is that me and Maria don’t know anything about James Ferdini’s death or where his money is. Once we were sober enough to leave that seedy hotel outside Atlantic City, we left along with the rest of the people that were following James. And when we left, he was alive, and he had his money.”
While Mr. Markelson, Mr. Howlser, and Ms. Nowak all say they only know the most basic details of how James Ferdini died, his death has actually been well documented by investigators and the coroner's office for Atlantic City. Prior to this report, it was the mindset of Mr. Ferdini that was previously unknown. Sill up in the air is the whereabouts of his $1.3 million. But from what I've found, the report on his death is fully accurate, and even clears any of the entourage that was following him from being involved in any possible wrongdoing related to James Ferdini’s death. On Tuesday March 26th at approximately 4:30AM, it would appear Mr. Ferdini’s luck simply ran out. In that early morning hour, someone on Mr. Ferdini’s floor had ordered room service. As the porter was delivering the food, he slipped and fell outside of Mr. Ferdini’s room. The noise from the fall awoke Mr. Ferdini who opened his door to find the porter picking up a tray of food in the hallway. Upset at the disruption and the clanging of silverware outside his room, Mr. Ferdini proceeded to yell at the porter, pushing him against the wall in the hallway. The confrontation ended when Mr. Ferdini told the porter that he was so upset that he was going to go down to the lobby and speak to management about the disruption. Heading to the elevator, the porter told Mr. Ferdini that it was out of service. Frustrated, he turned to the stairwell and began walking downstairs. Mr. Ferdini would never make it to the lobby however. What Mr. Ferdini didn’t know was that the porter had also used the stairs to walk up to his floor, and that along the way he had spilled a small dish of ketchup. When Mr. Ferdini walked across the spot where the porter had dropped the ketchup, he slipped and fell, falling down the stairs and knocking himself unconscious on the ground floor. While in bad shape, investigators say that Mr. Ferdini was still alive at this moment, but what came next would be the fatal blow, or series of blows. With the elevator out, the stairwell was the only way up and down the hotel floors. While Mr. Ferdini was unconscious on the ground, he blocked the entryway to the stairwell from the ground floor. A guest a moment later would attempt to open the door to the stairwell, but found that it was blocked by some obstruction that he could not see. Bothered and wanting to get to his room, the guest then started slamming on the door, thrusting it open with all his energy. He did not realize it, but the door he was thrusting over and over was slamming into the left side of Mr. Ferdini’s temple. The heavy metal door banged away over and over again, causing Mr. Ferdini’s brain to hemorrhage, and eventually doing enough damage that it would kill him fully. The guest only stopped thrusting as the porter came back down the stairs to see Mr. Ferdini with his head being repeatedly bashed in by the door. The porter screamed and soon the guest was made aware that he had accidentally killed Mr. Ferdini. In this unusual and grizzly death, a confluence of bad luck came together to end Mr. Ferdini’s life. If the elevator had not been out. If a guest on Mr. Ferdini’s floor had not ordered room service. If the guest had not ordered a dish that came with ketchup. If the porter had not spilled ketchup in the stairwell or dropped plates outside Mr. Ferdini’s room. If Mr. Ferdini had not waken up. If he had not confronted the porter and decided to go down to the lobby. If he had not slipped in the stairwell. If a guest on the ground floor did not repeatedly try to enter the stairwell. If any of these things had gone slightly differently, Mr. Ferdini would still be alive. It could be said that Mr. Ferdini had finally found a run of bad luck, and incredible bad luck at that.
I cannot speak to Mr. Ferdini. He died long before I came to Atlantic City. For this story I’ve had to rely on the video surveillance from the Borgata casino and several eyewitness accounts of the drug fueled binge at the seedy hotel outside Atlantic City. In those accounts from Mr. Ferdini’s hotel room, I’m left with conflicting views and shattered narratives. It is clear to me that Ms. Nowak, Mr. Howlser, and Mr. Markelson cannot be trusted to give a full accounting of what happened. In my mind, the clearest liar of them is Mr. Markelson, who both omitted his story of seeing James after the gasoline incident, and also whose story is in direct conflict with Mr. Howsler and Ms. Nowak. While Mr. Markelson claims it was Mr. Howlser that had a revolver to play roulette, Mr. Howlser and Ms. Nowak both say it was Mr. Markelson. Embedded in these lies and less than full accounts is a still missing $1.3 million. Something I believe Mr. Markelson is desperate to try and find, and for which was his original impulse to contact this reporter. Now with an understanding of James Ferdini’s mindset leading up to his death, I am left with the unanswered question of what happened to Mr. Ferdini’s missing money. I head back to where this story started, the Borgata where the gambling binge took fold. I seek an interview with Bill Hornbuckle, President of MGM resorts and a majority stakeholder in the Borgata Hotel and Casino. He agrees to speak with me and provides a full record on floor manger Richard Markelson. I start the interview by asking if he’s aware if Richard Markelson owns a handgun, and in particular a revolver. In response, he says: “Our records indicate Mr. Markelson has a concealed carry license from the state of New Jersey for a Ruger LCR Six-Shot revolver. We have this in our records because Mr. Markelson is authorized to carry the weapon on the premises.” Mr. Hornbuckle asks if I believe Mr. Markelson was involved in Mr. Ferdini’s death, to which I tell him I do not believe he is. I give the accounts of Mr. Markelson, Mr. Howlser, and Ms. Nowak, and while Mr. Hornbuckle is disturbed by the story, he agrees that Mr. Markelson has done nothing strictly illegal outside of drug use. He does add however: “The story with Russian roulette, if true, would certainly make us reconsider allowing Mr. Markelson to carry a weapon in the casino.” Confirming that Mr. Markelson was the owner of the revolver has led me to believe Mr. Howlser and Ms. Nowak’s account over Markelson’s. It seems likely now that like Mr. Markelson did indeed play a dangerous game of Russian roulette with Mr. Ferdini, and that it was he who provided the gun to use. Before I leave the Borgata, I ask Mr. Hornbuckle about another detail Mr. Markelson told me that I am no longer sure is true. I ask if a ‘cooler’ is something casinos really use, and if specifically Mr. Markelson is designated as one at the Borgata. His response is to laugh at first, but he goes on to say: “Yes, a cooler is a real term. I actually believe in them myself. Luck is real. It’s a tangible thing that follows people around -- good luck and bad luck. I believe coolers have saved my casinos a lot of money over the years, and Mr. Markelson certainly fits that role at the Borgata. He's terribly unlucky, couldn't win a game of cards if his life depended on it. Still, he's invaluable at cutting the luck high rollers short." He pauses before continuing: “There is of course the problem of the double negative, or when two coolers are together. It happens when a cooler is around someone who has luck just as bad as him or her. Like two positive or negative charges on a magnet, they repel each other, and the cooler’s effect instead of bad luck is one of incredible good luck. I’ve never seen it myself, but I’ve heard that even the most unlikely people on earth can have incredible runs of good luck if someone as equally unlucky as them is near.” I propose the idea that maybe Mr. Ferdini was as unlucky as Mr. Markelson, and that together they achieved this ‘double negative,’ bringing them good luck while they were together. “Yes,” Mr. Hornbuckle says. “I suppose that’s possible. It’s a very dangerous situation though for an unlucky person to suddenly be met with non-stop good luck. It could make you think yourself invincible, unable to be defeated in any challenge. You might even start to take on bets on things that aren’t real games of chance, like harming yourself by drinking boiling water. There’s also the danger of what happens when the double negative effect is over. One cooler parts ways, then each would fall into their own run of terrible luck, not realizing that their hot-streak has ended.” As the interview concludes and I leave the Borgata, I think about the good luck Mr. Ferdini and Mr. Markelson had. I consider the incredible odds that both survived firing a loaded gun to their temples only for each to find a dud cartridge. I ponder the unfortunate series of events that would kill Mr. Ferdini after Mr. Markelson left his hotel room. Lastly, I think about Mr. Markelson’s own luck since March 26th. Maybe it hasn’t been as bad as Mr. Ferdini's, but I know he contacted a reporter and as a result management at his casino will be looking into his behavior. I consider and think, that is not too lucky.
What was meant to be a short report about an unusual death in Atlantic City has grown into something longer. This is now a meandering investigation with unreliable characters, newly discovered details, and a still missing $1.3 million. Before I leave New Jersey and return to New York, I go to the seedy hotel where Mr. Ferdini and his entourage consumed drugs and played Russian roulette, and where he would eventually die. It is my hope that I can speak to the porter -- the last person to ever see Mr. Ferdini alive. At the hotel I speak to the manager and ask her who was the porter in the early morning hours of March 26th. The manager tells me that the porter no longer works for the hotel, and that in fact he had quit the very same day Mr. Ferdini died. “After the police left, he flipped us all off,” the manager says. “That son of a bitch quit in style, telling us he didn’t need to work here no more. He said he was set and that we can kiss his ass goodbye.” I ask the manager if they knew where the porter could have gone, to which she replies: “No idea. After he was done talking to the police about the death in the stairwell, I think he was out of New Jersey for good. He used to live nearby so I saw him when he left. He was fully packed. Had all of his stuff with him and three really full duffel bags I’d never seen before. He really didn’t seem like he was coming back -- had everything with him.” Like the porter, I load my bags and finally prepare to leave New Jersey. As I do a thought pops into my mind: Could the porter that night have discovered Mr. Ferdini’s $1.3 million in three duffel bags in his room? I consider and think, maybe, and if he did, maybe this porter is the luckiest man in Atlantic City. Myra Kindle is an independent investigative reporter. She covers tech, law, politics, and other stories that would be impossible to write about in more traditional outlets.
What's missing from my things to do in Philadelphia list???
Reading Terminal Market Independence National Historical Park Philadelphia Museum of Art Top Philly Cheesesteaks The Liberty Bell Center Independence Hall The Rocky Steps National Constitution Center Valley Forge National Historical Park LOVE Park Franklin Square The Franklin Institute The Philadelphia Zoo The Barnes Foundation One Liberty Observation Deck The Betsy Ross House Please Touch Museum Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Academy of Natural Sciences Penn Museum Eastern State Penitentiary Benjamin Franklin Museum National Museum of American Jewish History Independence Visitor Center Mutter Museum Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk Elfreth's Alley Independence Seaport Museum African American Museum Battleship New Jersey Philadelphia History Museum SugarHouse Casino King of Prussia Mall James A. Michener Art Museum
CH1: https://www.reddit.com/sexstories/comments/ciba4g/all_i_need_annas_story_ch1/ Alexi called me the next day, to meet at a certain bench on the boardwalk at noon. He said would wait there for fifteen minutes past noon but if I was late he would be gone. He said this in a school principal-like tone, appropriate for his fifty-seven years but I just assumed he was nervous. I was eighteen, I could easily think of an excuse to not show. But I didn't bail on him. He was my prince. I took an Uber to the spot, asking to be dropped off across the street. I needed the extra few seconds of walking to calm my nerves. Alexi sat on a bench looking into the sun with his sunglasses on his forehead. "Annika?" "Yeah, it's me." I wore a cheap blue sundress with a flower pattern, like something from the 1970s, paired with my dirty sneakers and my long blonde hair braided to the side. I had no makeup on, looking more like a real girl, not the living doll I was at the party. "I'm so happy you called. I was afraid you would have something better to do." He just gave a 'your welcome' smile and nod. Alexi looked quite different from his professional look from the night before. He wore a black leather riding jacket, over a plain t-shirt, with jeans and running shoes. "Umm.. so you have the day off today?" I asked in my shy little girl voice. "Does it matter?" "Of course not..l-o-l." Yes, I seriously said L-O-L. To salvage my dignity I walked ahead of him, down the Atlantic City boardwalk. "Let's go there!" I pulled him to the first casino I saw. I knew I was not old enough to gamble in the state of New Jersey but with a mafia man by my side- maybe this would be my lucky day. I planted myself at a slot machine and proceeded to pull out way too many large bills. Alexi was silent- but I could have sworn I heard him snicker before the inevitable happened. "I'll need to see some id!" said an old crone of a casino worker. This woman was not security, likely just an employee who felt the need to make sure every gambler was over 21. I, of course, refused, because even if I showed my ID it would show I was not 21. "You and your daughter need to leave!" the worker said in a tone, too demanding for someone of her pay grade. I was livid. "But I put a $100 in this machine!" The old woman looked at the total, which was less than 100- meaning I was not taking home any profit. She pressed 'cash out' and handed the ticket to Alexi. "Let's go," said Alexi, with a chuckle and an eye roll. "Really?" I asked with a glare. "That's all you're going to say?" "Very sorry about this," Alexi said to the worker. He gave a sarcastic smile before picking me up and throwing my smaller body over his shoulder like a caveman. "What the Fuck?" I shouted once he put me down. "Do you know how much I got paid yesterday?" "We can find something else to do," he said calmly, "Let's just go for a walk." "But it's, like, 1000 degrees out." "Don't make me regret meeting you here," Alexi replied with a laugh. "Why did you even take that job in the first place?" "It was my roommate's idea. She was the bi-racial girl at the party with the purple hair. I think she's Philippine and Dutch or British.—all I know is she's an international student." "I think I remember a girl with purple hair; quite open and flirty but in a very unappealing way." "She meant well and the money was good, as promised," I said with a shrug. "Want to get a soda?" I was already making my way to a cafe, again hoping (or just assuming) Alexi would follow. "Where is your family?" he asked as I ordered a lemonade and a pack of chips, pulling out money quicker than I could. I bit my lip, as my mind searched for the words. "My family is all over the place." Alexi placed a hand on my shoulder. "You are looking for forgiveness but not from God." What the fuck, man? His words caused me to burst into tears. But at that moment, it felt strangely therapeutic. "I-I grew up in Maine. My dad died in a car accident eight years ago." I spat out the words like a piece of food stuck in a tooth. "My mother suffered no injuries, at least not physically, my brother Brian...m-my older brother broke his spine- but at least he also got into NYU- because nothing makes for a great essay like how breaking your spine caused you to want to rise above your handicap and fight for your dreams of becoming a journalist," I added an awkward chuckle to lighten the mood. "...And my mom lives in Tampa; she has good days and bad days. I don't really see her as much as I should." "I'm sorry." "It's not like you put a hit out." "Was that a little Mafia humor at my expense?" "Sorry, It's a joke me and my brother made up. There were just too many people saying 'sorry.' all the time it was getting annoying- sorry." I stood up, preparing for the inevitable. "You can leave if you want." "Why would I leave?" "Because I'm a hot mess," I muttered as I started down the boardwalk to a souvenir store. The entrance was full of cute, jersey shore, themed items. Alexi followed, staying just close enough. "My dad had been driving," I said as I looked at rainbow magnets with the state name and little seahorses. "A smaller car crossed over the barrier, hitting the driver's side of my Dad's chevy, so hard it managed to flip." I twirled a magnet between two fingers. "The steering wheel crushed my father's sternum, he died before the ambulance arrived- all on a beautiful sunny day." "What about you?" "My window was completely broken, so I was the first one to escape the car. I pulled my father's body out of the car, with supernatural strength, crying, screaming, and praying. If God would not take him I would be a good daughter; get good grades, go to a good college." Alexi silently put his arms around my waist. I put down the magnet and turned to face him. "My father tried to tell me everything would be ok. He admitted to me and only me; he was afraid of dying. Even if there was a heaven, he didn't want to leave his family." "Let's go outside." We took shelter in the shade of an alleyway, by a dumpster. Alexi held me close, in the comfortable coolness. "Do I remind you of him?" "My dad?" I asked, "way to make things awkward." "Ok, I'll change the subject." Alexi placed a finger under my chin, lifting my face like a child's. "Tell me more about your brother. I can tell you are very proud of the person he became." "Yeah, he was the strong one. When I pulled him out of the car I didn't even realize he couldn't feel his legs. He called 911 on his cell phone and motioned for me to lay down beside him. I told him I was scared. You know what he said? 'I don't want you to ever be scared.' I think he's the person you remind me of." I couldn't help but want to touch Alexi's body; he was real, he was there. Unlike my family. "He sounds like a remarkable young man." "He was, I mean he is: my brother got into NYU on a full scholarship. I was not so fortunate; I went to a New Jersey community college, paid for completely by loans. So when my roommate told me about all the money she was currently making as an 'escort' I thought it might be the quick fix I needed, at least for the current semester." I wanted so badly to be held, to be Alexi's girl. At that moment I needed him and I knew he needed me. And he didn't seem to mind when I opened his zipper, reaching into his jeans. "You don't have to do this." Alexi was already hard. And his gorgeous cock felt just as good as it did at the party. "Do you know why I want to become a nurse?" I asked as I got on my knees. "Maybe I'll be able to save someone, someday." I could tell, Alexi was resisting the urge to grip my hair. He leaned his head back, moaning. The lube of his sweat mixed with the liquid of my mouth to create a perfect environment. I sucked in my cheeks while taking his entire legnth down my throat- yeah, he was going to need to hold my hair if only to keep from falling over. This wasn't what Alexi wanted, but by God this was what he needed- a deep, intense, passionate release. I could feel him cum, his warmth creaming down my throat. He tried to pull out but I used my hands to keep him in place; Alexi would be released on my terms. I worked his cock like a tube of toothpaste to get out every last drop of cum. "You get to choose the next activity," I said as I casually wiped my lips. "But I want to go buy a piece of candy to get rid of the taste." "You hate the taste?" Alexi couldn't help but chuckle. "Yeah, it's gross. But it's all part of the healing process; just like how nurses don't enjoy sticking IV's into veins or serving crappy food." Alexi smiled, as he followed. "Do you want to sit on the beach?" "Sure." I paid for a giant chai-latte flavored lollipop that was in the shape of the state of New Jersey and walked with him. "How far do you live from here?" "Not far," I said while attempting to bite off a piece of the oversized candy. He motioned to sit on the beach; even though I could tell he had no idea the sand would be painfully hot. "That was a mistake," he said getting back up immediately. "Don't get to the jersey shore much?" "Let's just keep walking then." "Ok," I said as I sweetly took his hand. "So, I guess... tell me about your family." "Nothing to tell." "Well, do you have any siblings? Any parents?...kids?" After all, he was old enough to be a father maybe even a grandfather. "No." "No what?" "My parents are long gone, I have two bothers that I have not seen in over a decade, and I have never had a child." "So where are we going?" I asked, to change the subject. "Any place that would make you happy." "Take me to the arcade and I'll sneak you into my dorm room." I leaned in and discreetly kissed him on the lips. "Have you been to an arcade before?" "How old do you think I am?" "I could guess, but you would never tell me anyway." "I have secrets of my own," he said, placing his hand over mine at just the right angle. Although he was not missing any fingers, clearly they had been broken once or perhaps several times; below black ink tattoos on his wrinkled callused hands were clear evidence of scars. "Not exactly a secret; you have the hands of a soldier." I brought his hand to my lips, to gently kiss his tattooed knuckles. "But your hands are not your heart." "You are very wise- for a little girl." We went to the nearest arcade, an outdated place consisting of video games that came out in the early '90s and other activities involving balls and tickets. "Can I have a quarter, Daddy?" I asked in a baby voice while licking my lips. In response, Alexi put a fifty dollar bill in the token machine and took only 4 tokens for himself. "Take what you want, or don't," he said, as he walked to the ticket games. I took a handful and then left the rest to whatever lucky person came after. Alexi was surprisingly good at ski-ball, using an unorthodox method: ricochet the ball off the side of the target with such force it almost broke the hole it was trying to land in. "What? How do you play this game?" "Most people roll the ball, as opposed to pitching it." Alexi grabbed the handful of tickets. Even scoring an illegal amount of points, there were only about forty prize tickets. "Here, treat yourself to plastic frog or a pencil." "What if I'd rather treat myself to you?" I moved in close, brushing my lips to his. "I think it's about time I took you home." "Just what I wanted to hear. Where are you parked?" I was a little surprised when Alexi took me to his motorcycle. "Oh," I said, out loud. "Are you disappointed I don't have a car that cost more than most people make in a year?" "Now that I think about it, I actually think I would have been disappointed to see a car; this is more fun, more you. Do you have an extra helmet?" "Helmets were never really my thing." "I guess I'll just have to hold on tight." I gave the address of my dorm. On the ride over, I explained that my roommate may or not be home but it didn't matter, because she knew all about Alexi- my angel. And if anyone else saw us, they would probably assume he was my dad or a visiting relative. But even with that in mind, as soon as Alexi parked I cupped his face, kissing him with such passion he would taste the long eaten lollipop. Alexi only smiled. "Meet me here tomorrow, 5 pm," he said with a sweetness that went against his rough exterior. "The moment is not right. There is much more I want to show you." "Oh, that fine." I kissed his lips again, and then his neck. I simply could not pull myself away. "Sorry. See you tomorrow at 5 pm." I mouthed, 'Love you' as he drove away. Part of me was afraid I had come off too strong but Alexi arrived the next day, exactly when he said he would. I ran out to greet him wearing a plain t-shirt paired with white denim jeans. "I want to show you my home. And I brought you a gift." He tossed a helmet from his pack. "Really?" I got on the back of his motorcycle. It was a twenty-minute ride to his rural New Jersey cabin, but the view was just breathtaking. Alexi lived completely off the grid; a generator, a water pump, and fire. No wi-fi, and a barely usable phone. I had never been so far into the woods, and it was fucking magical! By the window birds were eating from the trash. "Have you seen this?" "The birds?" Alexi looked through his trash and found a sizable amount of old bread. "Did you want to feed the birds?" "Heck yeah!" it had been ages since I fed birds. I called them by made up names and tossed bread until there was none left. All while Alexi cooked a stew on his wood-powered stove. "Can I use your bathroom?" I asked, already headed there. There was an awkward pause. "Sure, do enjoy the garden." The bathroom was basic, with a simple toilet, cabinet, and exit door. The glass paneled door was more fascinating than anything, opening into an outdoor shower overlooking a small flower garden. I used the toilet then went back inside. With the lack of air-conditioning and Alexi using the stove it was getting a little too warm in the house. Luckily the sun was setting, so we could eat outside in the reasonably comfortable night air. "Wow, you have quite the liquor cabinet." "Don't forget I know how old you are." He joked. It's not like he would get in trouble for it. "So, help myself?" "If you feel you need to." Alexi served the food and they ate outside on lawn chairs. I took a shot of cheap store brand vodka, then proceeded to pour an entire mug full. "It's so nice out here. What do you do when you're alone?" "Read, cook, garden, and sometimes I paint." "I would love to see your paintings." Under the filled sky, I held his hand. It was in the moment of love Alexi decided to ask an odd question. "Was I your first?" He took a long swig of vodka as if to prepare for the answer. "No, after my father died, people say I fall in love too easily," I said looking up at the stars. "Do you have any paintings here?" "There's one. You'll know it when you see it." After eating, I fell asleep in his arms. He must have carried me to his bed, to sleep off the vodka while he slept on the couch. I awoke to the sound of Alexi coughing. By the light of the moon, I watched him in the bathroom; he grasped at the sink as he coughed up blood. He wiped his mouth briefly, before sitting against the wall. I went back to bed. If Alexi wanted to tell me the truth if his condition I would allow him to do so on his own terms. The next morning I awoke next to him, feeling rested and peaceful. In the morning light, I could finally see his painting; an elaborate mural over the entirety of the room. Two walls displayed a surreal image of the iconic cityscapes of Russia blending into flowers and other plants. He clearly used acrylics; as the paint lent a sensual texture to every object. She stroked her hand over a single flower. Every detail could be felt through the intensity of the brush strokes. "Do you like it?" Alexi asked as he awoke with a gentle yawn. "It's amazing. Have your paintings ever been in any gallery?" "No, but do you remember what you said about religious paintings?" he said with a chuckle. "No way! You painted the ones in the office?" I probably sounded so childlike, but I couldn't help it. Alexi's amazing, passionate talent made me truly excited. "Not all of them." he shrugged. "Are you hungry? Let me take you someplace a little more special." "What could be more special than this?" I got back into bed to give him a hug. "Plus, don't you have to work?" "If I did I would know," Alexi said flashing a cell phone that he kept on his nightstand. "Ok then, what did you have in mind?" next: https://www.reddit.com/sexstories/comments/d8wl20/all_i_need_annas_story_ch3/
Here are some of the best New Jersey Beaches where you can enjoy your great time - Atlantic City Beach Atlantic City keeps on acquiring the attention of the crowd for its high-rises, casinos, fine dining and so much more. The beach covering the city is highly famous due to its Boardwalk. Built-in 1870, the boardwalk will present you with the swarm of shops and boutiques. And guess what, you will not be able to enjoy the gleam of the impeccable view of the Atlantic Ocean. https://www.lcarscom.net/new-jersey-beaches/
Hi Coach!!! Im Baileigh and I LOVE your videos, but anyways here's my story. Back in May me and my cousin went with her grandparents to Atlantic City, New Jersey. Her grandparents were going to a hotel that's also a casino basically to gamble. So me and my cousin only being 19 kinda went off and did our own thing during this trip. Now mind you we went in mid May on the east coast, so it was not summer yet and the weather was still iffy. With our luck the weather we had during our trip was rainy and cold so we didn't spend much time outside. One afternoon we were walking along the boardwalk and were just looking around at the stores and such. But with me being an anxiety ridden, paranoid human I was watching my surroundings as well. During this time there was a lot of talk about human trafficking too, and us being young girls alone it was pretty scary. So we were walking there boardwalk on our way back to the hotel when I noticed this guy walking towards us with a hoodie on and the hood up looking down. I told my cousin and we kinda just kept an eye on him because he looked kinda sketchy. He then passed us and we were still weirded out. So we kept walking then I decided to glance over my shoulder to check if he was still walking. Thats when I noticed that he had turned around and started walking the same way as us. I hurried up and told my cousin. We then made the plan to head into the nearest store which happened to be a mall. This mall was kinda old and only had a few stores in it, but we noticed a Victoria Secret and booked it. We stood kinda outside the entrance of the store and watched the mall entrance (VS was closest to the entrance). You may ask why we went to like the first store but since it was a girly store we figured he wouldn't come in. So were standing there watching the entrance and we see the hooded guy start to come into the mall. We then walked into the Victoria Secret and pretended to shop, while we watched the entrance. We then saw the hooded man walk past and glance around probably looking for us. Once we watched him turn a corner we booked it back to the hotel. To the creepy guy in the hoodie, lets not meet.
Survived Beach Vacation with In-laws and 6 Kids! Shut Up a Mombie and It Felt Great :-)
Hello fellow CFs! Nothing like 5 days with in-laws (my MIL, FIL, SIL, BIL) and 6 kids (16 year old niece and 2 friends, 12 year old nephew and 2 friends) in a beach house on the New Jersey shore to make my CF husband (40/M) and I (38/F) even more incredibly grateful that we've chosen not to have kids. HALLELUJAH!! Confirms once again that we love our individual lives, adore our life together as a couple, and have SOOO made the right choice for us. You may be wondering why on earth we would voluntarily go on vacation with them. We don't live very close to hubby's family and this is one of the few times of year he gets to see them. His parents are not doing well health-wise so it's important to us that he spends quality time with them while he can. We've been on vacations with his side of our family in the past so I know what to expect and plan accordingly. This includes making sure that we have our own bedroom and bathroom in the house, going out at least 1 day or night on our own, and bringing a good pair of headphones and A LOT of alcoholic beverages. One afternoon friends of SIL and BIL (a mom, dad, and 2 kids) stop by and the adults are sitting out on the deck of beach house and chatting. Of course the conversation quickly turns to being all about the kids, and hubby and I zone out and just have our own side conversation and enjoy the beautiful view of the ocean. While hubby and I plan our night out by ourselves, the 4 parents spend at least 45 minutes talking about how crappy their lives are, the many problems their kids have, and how hard it is to be a parent. I silently revel in how awesome my life is and how I will never be them. Then as they're wrapping up their conversation, the mombie friend says, “But it's all worth it. I can't imagine not having kids. That would suck.” She then remembered that my hubby and I were sitting there and are CF. She was just about to say something apologetic when I cut her off, put a big smile on my face and said happily, “You know what doesn't suck? Getting to do whatever we want all the time, and never having to do anything we don't. It's totally worth it.” That shut them up. It felt awesome. Hubby loved it. Just a few other moments during our vacation that made me happy to be CF: -MIL makes niece a sandwich and cuts it down the middle instead of diagonally corner to corner. Niece wordlessly pushes it away and won't eat it. BIL throws sandwich away and tells MIL she needs to make another one for niece but cut it diagonally. MIL silently fumes about it and throws him a dirty look, but makes niece another sandwich. Niece never says please or thank you. FIL watches all this go on and I can see vein in his neck pulsing because he's so mad but he says nothing. He later tells me privately he is very concerned for niece because the real world is going to be hard for her when she is an adult. I agree, but think to myself “No shit. The real world is going to eat her alive. She is completely unprepared to survive, let alone thrive, as an independent woman. She is fucked and it's a real shame.” -Nephew turned 12 during vacation so SIL and BIL blow a wad of money they don't have on a surprise party and expensive gifts. BIL had to take 2nd job just to make ends meet and they have 2nd mortgage on their house. MIL and FIL also help them financially a lot. Nephew is shy and hates being the center of attention but his parents insist on doing party. Nephew throws a fit that his parents dragged him away from video game in order to have the party and is in a foul mood the whole time. Nephew silently opens gifts as fast as he can while SIL and BIL nag him to read the cards, say thank you, and smile for pictures that he doesn't want to take. They argued the whole time. It was the most uncomfortable and pointless birthday party I've ever attended. SIL posted pic to Facebook saying how much fun surprise party was for nephew. Total lie. -SIL and BIL took 6 kids to water park for a day while FIL, MIL, hubby and I went to Atlantic City casino, ate in a 5 star restaurant (we paid for MIL and FIL meals, something SIL and BIL never do), gambled and drank. -Went jet skiing on ocean. Hubby and I each rent our own wave runners and we have a blast zipping around at top speeds and jumping waves for an hour. BIL had 2 kids on jet ski and couldn't go over 10 mph as kids were too scared to go faster. We specifically asked kids before we rented jet skis if they wanted to be out for an hour or 30 minutes and they said an hour. Kids got bored and wanted to go home after 30 minutes so BIL wasted that money. -Hubby and I go out on our own to boardwalk one night and have fun while all around us are tired, irritable families with parents griping at each other and buying their kids whatever they want just to shut them up. -Carrying one bag and one chair across big, hot beach with deep sand to get to shoreline instead of families struggling to haul everything but the kitchen sink for their kids, who are then out there for 10 minutes and kids are bored and want to go inside. Arguments and tantrums ensue. I lay on the beach and swim in ocean by myself and enjoy peace and serenity and the beautiful day. Ahhhh..... -I overhear one of my niece's friends tell my niece that my hubby and I are really cool and fun and she thinks it's awesome that we don't have kids. My niece agrees. The friend is 16 year old girl and has 5 younger siblings that she has had to help raise. She said is done raising kids and doesn't want any of her own. I feel proud to be a role model for next generation of CFs and think to myself, “You go girl.” I love my CF life!!!
I used My Run by ASICS and followed a 3-4 run per week generic plan with a long run on every other Sunday. Got up to 18.5 miles as my longest long run.
I live fairly locally so I hitched a ride in with another first timer and together we stretched and hung out in Bally's Casino until it was about 10 minutes to start. Then we made our way to literally the back of the starting line pack.
It took us 2 minutes to get to the starting line when the gun went off. Both me and my running partner did a 5K this time last year, we loved it. We had never run before. Then in April of this year we did a half Marathon and loved that too. So as the gun was going off we both made a comment how a year ago we had literally been nervous to run a 5K and now we're doing this crazy thing. The course took us onto the northern east side of Atlantic City. Ran on the highway and into a tunnel around some of our larger casinos Bogota, Harris, Golden Nugget, and the new OCEAN resort. We hit the world famous boardwalk and ran the length of that, then said goodbye to the Half-Marathon runners as we set out into three other cities on the island (Ventor, Margate, and Longport). Then we took a back-bay tour of Margate before hopping back onto the boardwalk for the final 3 miles which finished in front of Ballys. As I write this I can't believe i'm summing up this experience and route into a few short sentences. First, the wind was howling, especially in the three smaller cities to the south. It felt like you were running against the wind in every direction down there. Miles 17-21 felt really long. Miles 21-26 felt like they were each 10 miles. The memory I hold now of crossing that finish line ranks up third after proposing to my wife and the birth of my daughter. There are few memories that will stick with you like that, and I know in my heart of heart's I'll never be able to recreate what that moment felt like again. No other race will be my first marathon and (i've sworn) never will I run a Marathon again. 5K's are fun, Half-Marathons are perfect. The actual Marathon is murder. I've gone the distance and I stand by this statement, but damn if you're reading this and haven't done one, do it. I can't explain my love-hate relationship with this race.
I felt sick. I went home, took a nice hot bath, and have been rewarding myself with pizza and ice-cream for two days. I'm going back to a healthy diet right now. This post was generated using the new race reportr, a tool built by BBQLays for making organized, easy-to-read, and beautiful race reports.
Hello reddit friends! I am currently a student at Stockton University, a small school in the New Jersey Pinelands about 15 minutes away from Atlantic City. We recently gained our university status and to accommodate for the larger student body we are hoping to attract, our school purchased a closed casino in Atlantic City called the Showboat for $18 million. The plan was to renovate the casino and turn it into an island campus: it would house residential students and cater to hospitality, management, and business students. The "Stoboat", as it came to be called, was going to offer over 50 classes in the fall. Unfortunately, this might not be happening now. In 1988, a covenant was created between two casinos: Caesar's and Trump Taj Mahal. Caesar's, Showboat's former corporate parent, and the Taj Mahal agreed that the property could never be used as anything but a first class casino. When the Showboat was sold to our school by Caesar's, we were told the issue had been resolved and that the Trump Taj Mahal would not enforce the outdated covenant. This turned out to be false. Weeks before Stockton planned to begin renovations, Trump Entertainment made it clear that they were not going to allow the Showboat to be used as an island campus. Because of this, our school is now suffering from a lack of housing and a lack of classes. Taj Mahal released a statement claiming that having students next to their casino would be detrimental to business; they are afraid there will be problems with kids under 21 trying to gamble and this will repel potential customers. They concluded that, "You do not see a college on the Las Vegas strip." (Taj Mahal conveniently seemed to forget that there IS a college on the Las Vegas Strip - appropriately named the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. But that's besides the point.) Stockton's acquisition of the Showboat was going to help a city that has been suffering for many years. Atlantic's City largest casino, the Revel, recently went out of business and the Taj Mahal is on the brink of bankruptcy as well. The casino business is not what it used to be and the entire city has been afflicted as a result. Having a thriving student body in the area brings opportunities to local businesses such as restaurants, outlets, and other small stores. An empty casino brings no such benefit. Stockton students are both engaged and passionate about the situation. We do not agree with the Taj Mahal's sentiments and we will not stand for having this great opportunity taken from us. If the covenant issue is not resolved within the next two weeks, our school is going to be forced to put the Showboat back up for sale and we will lose everything we have worked so hard for. We have created a movement called Save our Stoboat and we plan to march on the Taj Mahal sometime next week. We are going to conduct an approved and peaceful rally on the boardwalk near the Taj Mahal property in hopes of attracting media attention. The more media involved, the greater the chance that the legal issues surrounding the Showboat will be dropped by Taj Mahal. We are currently trying to raise funds for our rally. We are hoping to raise money for transportation, t-shirts, and signs. These will aid our overall mission of bringing the matter to the general public's attention. Even if you cannot donate, I hope I have your support. Please spread the word and let others know of the issue our great university now faces! Donate here:https://rally.org/SaveOurStoboat Thank you for reading! If you have any questions about this matter, I can answer them to the best of my ability! Connect with us! https://www.facebook.com/saveourshowboat?fref=ts https://twitter.com/SaveOurStoBoat Sources: http://www.philly.com/…/20150325_Stockton_University_s_deal… http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/communities/atlantic-city_pleasantville_brigantine/contract-shows-stockton-knew-showboat-issue-was-still-in-effect/article_b7c59348-d4f0-11e4-a7ff-179ca561e77b.html?TNNoMobile TL;DR A casino in Atlantic City is trying to prevent my university from using another casino we recently purchased as an island campus. This campus would have not only been great for my university, but it could be Atlantic City's greatest chance at revival from a recently wretched economy.
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