Trump Plaza implosion: Ducktown Duck Hut outdoor bar hosts viewing party to witness history
A staple of Atlantic City for more than three decades, the Trump Plaza, came down on Wednesday, prompting viewing parties throughout the city to watch.
“It was exciting just to see [and] feel the boom, watch it just crumble down and in seconds, memories of years just disappeared,” says Dennis Pelaez Robles, of Ventnor. “My mom worked there for almost 20 years at the New York Café. We grew up in the area, I’d been going there since I was five, six years [old]. She worked there until it closed down.”
Dozens packed the Ducktown Duck Hut outdoor bar to witness history. Many shared personal memories, some were grateful to see the vacant tower gone for good.
“My dad used to work at the Trump Plaza,” says Kristen Pinkney, of Egg Harbor Township. “He was a banker there for 17 years, so I'm happy to see it go down. He got laid off. He's pumped about it.”
Johnny Exadaktilos has run the restaurant and bar since 2005. In 2014, Trump Plaza and three other casinos closed, and thousands of jobs were lost. Business suffered, but Exadaktilos says today could mark a new beginning, and signal a change, through the dust cloud lies potential.
“This is a great opportunity for the powers that be in our government, whether it's state or local, to jump on and rebrand and actually market Atlantic City because now the game is now even,” says Exadaktilos. “No one has an advantage over anybody.”
Two of the four shuttered casinos have since rebranded and reopened. A third will soon be converted to an indoor water park.