Press of Atlantic City: The Rebirth Of Steel Pier

The Rebirth of Steel Pier

  • 0 Steel Pier Through the Years

    Steel Pier, in Atlantic City, Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011.

  • 1 Steel Pier Through the Years

    The 1,000-foot-long Steel Pier in Atlantic City continues to attract celebrity visitors and is adding three new rides this year, operations director Tony Rossi says.

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  • 3 Steel Pier Through the Years

    Steel Pier in August 1967

  • 4 Steel Pier Through the Years

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    Shows in July and August featured big stars.

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After leasing the famous Steel Pier on Atlantic City's Boardwalk for 20 years, the Catanoso family and partners bought the amusement property in August.
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Steel Pier Memories (Words and video)

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Steel Pier memories: Trips to the pier were treats for doing chores

In the summer of 1954, my Aunt Mary took me to Steel Pier. This was how she rewarded me for doing chores around the house; I also helped my grandmother, who was handicapped. I was 11 and we were very poor. My aunt worked at the Madison Hotel as a waitress and saved her tips. She dressed me up in my very best clothes, braided my hair and made our lunch. But going down to the Boardwalk from the Northside neighborhood was different — we weren’t allowed to cross Atlantic Avenue without an adult. We arrived at The Pier and my aunt paid about a dollar to get us on. We saw several movies, then ate our lunch while we watched the waves. After lunch, we went down in the Diving Bell, a big round machine with a pole in the middle. We looked through the windows and saw fish, seaweed and other things. The bell took us down underwater, then brought us back to the surface by a hydraulic lift. This was my favorite holiday, but I never had a chance to revisit Steel Pier. — Josephine Parker, Absecon

From the Foundation Up: Building an Atlantic City institution - throughout its history, the Steel Pier has continued to change.

When its builders first erected the labyrinth of pilings and cross-beams that supported Steel Pier for more than a century, they probably didn't figure locals kids such as Allen "Boo" Pergament would use them to gain illicit access to the "Megastructure of Entertainment."

Steel Pier memories: Visitors saw celebrities early and often

My father worked for the Hamid family for many years on Steel Pier, and managed a garage they owned in Atlantic City. When Ricky Nelson came to the Pier, my Dad offered to take me to meet him at a press conference behind the Ballroom stage. The Pier was packed with people, and as we entered the windowless room, I remember wall-to-wall people laughing and talking, but no Ricky Nelson to be seen. Wait, there he was, sitting on a chair in the corner all by himself, staring down at the floor. My knees were shaking as my father walked me up to him. and introduced me. He looked up and with a sullen look on his face and said, “Hi,” or, “How are ya?” — or something I don’t remember. What I do remember is that he didn’t even smile and how sad he looked sitting by himself, and how he just looked like he wished he was somewhere else. In my 10-year-old mind, I felt very sorry for him, and was certain that if I ever got to meet my real idol, Elvis, he would never behave that way to a fan. — Marion Haas, Somers Point

Steel Pier memories: Charging extra for premium seats and pocketing coins gets one employee a raise

About 1939, 1940, I worked as an usher in the Steel Pier Music Hall for 25 cents an hour. I decided to rope off an area up front where the premium seats were and started selling them for 25 cents a seat. I was making a killing when the manager finally got wise to me. He couldn’t keep me in the position, but he liked my “marketing ability” and ambition, so he gave me a raise to 35 cents an hour and put me out front with a microphone in the role of “barker,” drawing people into The Pier.

Steel Pier memories: "Stars of Tomorrow" host's granddaughter speaks

I am Roxanna Grant Vernouski, daughter of Tony Grant Jr. and grandaughter of Tony Grant.

Steel Pier memories: Reader recalls sister's time as a Diving Horse rider

Growing up on the Steel Pier was the best time. When I was 9 years old, my sisters and I went backstage (every day) at the Circus Water Show with my dad, Joe Hackney, who was one of the high-divers and clowns in the show and he babysat us girls because my mother worked. We got to know everyone and attend all the shows on the Pier. In 1945, my father dived from a blimp for publicity for Steel Pier. When I was 13, my friend, Marie Osborne DeMari and I would swim out to the end of The Pier to see my dad between shows every day — we’d stay out there for a show or two and swim back to the beach. At 14 I worked at The Pier’s hot dog stand. In the 1950s, my sister, Marion, was a Diving Horse rider for 10 years, and her twin Barbara was in the Disappearing Water Ballet also. They also danced in the Daddy Dave Theater, which came before Tony Grant. They were acrobats and daredevils — I just followed them to all their shows. The Steel Pier Days were GREAT, GREAT, GREAT. — Jo Ann Hackney Wescoat, Absecon

Atlantic City's Allen "Boo" Pergament is the city's unofficial Steel Pier historian

MARGATE — Allen Pergament, better known as Boo, takes a map of the old Steel Pier with him everywhere he goes. Because the map is in his mind.

Steel Pier memories: The day the ape messed up the switchboard

I probably had the best summer job a teenager could have when I worked worked for the Hamid family at Steel Pier. It was the summers of 1967 and 1968, and I did an assortment of odd jobs in the executive offices.

Readers remember Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits at Steel Pier

My wife and I had our first date on the Steel Pier in the 1940s. We had finished our junior year at Atlantic City High School and went with another couple. We wanted to see all the attractions and go dancing. "Everything" included 2 movies, a stage show, Tony Grant's kids, the water circus, the haunted house, the Diving Bell and the arcade. The water show had diving "collegians," a water-skiing dog, high-wire acrobats and the iconic Diving Horse. It was always a mad rush and race to try to include everything. But it was wonderful.

Steel Pier owners scrap plans to bring diving horse back to Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY — Steel Pier owners scrapped plans Tuesday to bring back the diving horse after the iconic-yet-controversial entertainment act prompted “disturbing” backlash from animal rights activists.

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