The Seminole tribe is a testament to the unconquered spirit, its leaders said at the opening of their Hard Rock in Atlantic City.
Now, their new “summer home” hopes to bring that strength and success to Atlantic City.
The dual grand openings Thursday of the iconic rock ‘n’ roll burger joint and the Ocean Resort just down the Boardwalk was a good place to start.
“You can feel the energy and excitement in the air,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney. “Atlantic City is coming back in a strong way.”
The theme of the day was cooperation.
Chairman Jim Allen said he has never experienced such a cooperative spirit as the company got coming to the resort.
The company has returned that, making an effort to partner with the community, including four public meetings with residents so far, and with more than 30 percent of those hired coming directly from Atlantic City.
Recognizing the need for not just the city but its residence to rebuild after a tarnished image, the casino is opening its job pool to those with criminal records. It began with a partnership with the newly renamed Recovery Court, which Joe Jingoli mentioned during his remarks.
“They’ve been a true catalyst to a lot of really groundbreaking initiatives that are significant for Atlantic City,” said Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54 UNITE HERE.
“There is a collaboration. There’s a spirit of working together. There’s an energy in this town that we can basically thank Hard Rock Atlantic City for,” Mayor Frank Gilliam said. “Things like this don’t just happen by chance. It happens with people who have vision, who have guts, who took a chance and they bet it on Atlantic City. Let me tell you, Atlantic City is a sure bet.”
The theme of “Love all, serve all” has had an influence on Atlantic City, the mayor said.
The cooperation seems to have influenced a newfound sense of partnership between the state and the city it took over, Sweeney said.
“The local government really brought into what we’re doing and new we really have Atlantic City on the right path,” he said.
The opening ceremony ended with the Hard Rock’s traditional guitar smash, which included stars like “Black Panther’s” Michael B. Jordan and included a countdown from E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg, who told BreakingAC he loves Atlantic City, which he has visited since he was 3 years old.
A short walk down the Boardwalk another casino was opening.
It may still resemble the Revel, but the Ocean Resort is hoping to rise from the ashes of that failure to bring new hope to the city.