Imagine a city, its ocean front location unrivaled, its history rich and its potential unmatched. Now imagine this city with a completely clean slate – its luxurious buildings still standing but vacant, its housing affordable and its closed storefronts eager to open.
Would you want to be a part of this old but new city? Would you want to bring all of your fresh creativity, ideas and businesses and be pioneers in re-creating this majestic city; claiming it as your own?
Well, that chance exists because sandwiched in-between the congested action of America’s northeast is a glimmering city on the New Jersey coast completely open for the taking.
Atlantic City’s death and collapse is leading to a rebirth, a chance for the city to re-brand itself not as gambling mecca, but as a new city dedicated to art, entertainment, food, business and start-ups. One might argue that the city’s demise was the very best thing that could have happened to it, clearing the way and paving the road for a new era, a golden age rivaled only by its 1920’s hayday.
Finally, an east coast city has the chance to be dominated by young people from all over the United States and the world. From creative artists, culinary experts, restaurant, coffee shop and bar owners, performers, entertainers, musicians, writers, comedians, fashion designers, surfers, screen writers and film producers, the potential to transform and put Atlantic City on the path to new glory can begin with likeminded risk takers, motivated self-starters, and young leaders. Building on her epic past, AC could become a hub of new life, the testing ground for new ideas. The unreported beginning stages of this makeover have already begun trickling into the city, from music venues to arcade bars and the renovation of its hotels to reflect the Prohibition era Boardwalk Empire.
We’ve seen the transformation in cities that have become young, innovative metropolises of growth. In Portland, Austin, Nashville, and even Philadelphia, the renaissance is taking place, making these cities rise to prominence in music, arts, technology, food, fashion and social work, much of which is headed by millennials.
A self-driven entrepreneur might think to themselves to move to one of these cities as quickly as possible, where starting their business would not only be encouraged but they would be surrounded by a support system and the proper connections for success. Indeed, there’s no doubt that would be the case, but to all of the true entrepreneurs who want to see to a project that’s even bigger than their business, idea, or nonprofit, I suggest accepting the challenge that is Atlantic City and be a part of building a whole new American City.
It’s one thing to join a community that already works, to put bells and whistles on something that’s already successful. It’s something else entirely to be a pioneer, forging the way, starting with a clean slate and having to rally likeminded friends and colleagues to join you in building the city you want to see. It’s the empty slate that holds unlimited potential for creative newness far greater than building upon an existing community. The time is now.
So, who’s it going to be?