ATLANTIC CITY — Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort appears to be heading quietly toward its final silence.

A few signs and a collection of message boards around the Boardwalk property notify all concerned the Taj plans to cease operations at 5:59 a.m. Monday. But a few days before that peculiarly precise deadline, few people were near the place to see those warning signs.

In the parking garage, endless rows of spaces were available, but only a few cars were parked to a row.

On the casino floor, several game pits had more dealers staffing them than players gambling at them. There weren’t many gambling tables open.

The place could have been a slot player’s dream, because anyone could have had their pick of machines. At the northeastern edge of the casino, just off the Boardwalk, exactly one gambler was among rows of hundreds of slots. Other sections of machines had a bit more life to them, but all were essentially empty in the context of a once-bustling casino floor.

All around the property, more restaurants were closed than open in the afternoon. A lot of the closed food spots had signs out front advising hungry patrons to visit another of the Taj’s many dining options, most of which also turned out to be closed.

Even Local 54 strikers, who have been picketing outside the Taj since July, seemed to be winding down to a quiet end. A group of about 10 marched a line and broke into chants at points, with help from a bullhorn-amplified leader: “All day, all night. Taj Mahal is on strike.”

But at other times, most of the pickets took breaks to sit in union-provided shelters next to a Boardwalk railing. That left just a few strikers to wave or hold their signs, silently, in sight of the Taj’s main entrance off the boards.

Another quiet presence in Trump Taj Mahal in its final days was the founder of the place, Donald Trump, who has chosen to make most of his noise lately in pursuit of the U.S. presidency.

Inside the Trump Exchange, a gift shop near the Taj’s once-popular Spice Row collection of restaurants, an almost-ghostly, electronic image of Trump still shows up. His face peers out at customers of the property he once promoted profusely but lost control of years ago. And above his picture, in gold letters, is a signature Trump saying:

“I like thinking big. You have to think anyway, so why not think big?”

But the Trump Exchange was shut down Tuesday afternoon.

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609-272-7237

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MDeangelis@pressofac.com

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