Monday, Sep. 22, 2008

New Jersey

The origins of the boardwalk have less to do with tourism than one man's anal-retentive zeal for cleanliness. The country's first was built in 1870 along the shore in Atlantic City after local railroad conductor Alexander Boardman (hence the name boardwalk) suggested it might be a good way to keep guests from tracking sand into the hotel lobbies as they came off the beach. The structure was temporary at first but was made permanent in 1890. Today, as gritty as parts of Atlantic City are, there's still something special about its historic boardwalk. Walk by the Steel Pier, once home to a show in which a horse dove 40 feet into a pool of water, or buy some salt-water taffy at Steel's Fudge, a candy store that opened way back in 1919. You may want to stay out of the casinos though, lest you blow all your money and are forced to enjoy another boardwalk activity: sleeping under it.