The most often repeated statement by the Miss America contestants, former Miss Americas, visitors during the past two weeks and those in the local community is that the Miss America Competition belongs in Atlantic City.

Most gratifying was hearing the former Miss Americas speak out at a news conference about how glad they all were that this wonderful event was home where it belonged.

When the new Miss America was asked how she would address her new position as spokesperson for Atlantic City, she responded that she would be telling everyone that the people in Atlantic City greeted her and her fellow contestants with much love and concern for their welfare. She said there is little doubt in her mind that anyone coming here for a convention or a visit of any length would receive the same type of treatment.

Under the new regime, the Miss America "Show Us Your Shoes Parade" was also a successful venture. It was colorful, it was exciting and it was fun. Without a doubt there are some facets of it that should be enhanced, but overall it was an outstanding parade.

The piece de resistance was Sunday night's television presentation of the Miss America Competition.

Introducing the contestants from various locations throughout the city was the best public relations venture ever staged on television for Atlantic City. I received unsolicited calls from family members on the West Coast and other folks throughout the country who were just delighted with the show and its portrayal of Atlantic City.

Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall looked better than I had ever seen it for previous events. It was a true delight to hear the world's largest pipe organ serenade those in attendance for more than a half-hour before the show. The crowd was enthusiastic and let the folks at home know how much they were enjoying the show by their rousing response to the activities on stage.

There is one thing we know: Each of those 53 contestants and the new and past Miss Americas will be outstanding spokespersons for Atlantic City. Without a doubt, they will let their folks at home know how well they were treated and how much fun they had in Atlantic City. There's no better type of publicity than that of those who speak from the heart and relate their experiences.

Congratulations and our sincerest appreciation to Sam Haskell, chairman of the Miss America Competition's board of directors and chief executive officer, and Sharon Pearce, president of the Miss America Competition for the long, arduous task of putting this wonderful event together. Their leadership and experience was evident in every facet of the program.

I'm also delighted to express a big thank-you to those who staged the parade and those who designed and produced one of the best Miss America shows. I would be remiss if I did not include the organizations that provided the security that keeps Atlantic City a safe city. In addition are all those who worked in Boardwalk Hall, the dedicated workers of Atlantic City's Public Works Department and all other agencies involved, as well as the people of the community who welcomed this opportunity to show the world that Atlantic City is indeed back as the Playground of the World.

Recognition and a big thank-you must also go to the people and organizations that arranged to bring the Miss America Competition back to Atlantic City. I offer a big thank-you to County Executive Denny Levinson, Gov. Chris Christie, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and Atlantic City Alliance.

All of the above and the area's citizens showed the world that the Miss America Competition and Atlantic City are perfect together.

Columbus statue

The Columbus statue that for years stood in the park in front of the old railroad station has been moved several times with the development of parts of Atlantic City. And now it must be moved once again for the development of the Bass Pro Shop.

I would like to recommend that the Columbus statue be moved cater-corner to where it is currently located at Missouri and Arctic avenues. It should be placed in the park between Missouri and Arkansas avenues and in front of Arctic Avenue, facing the ocean. There is a significant amount of traffic in that area, both vehicular and pedestrian. It would be in a prominent position, as it rightly deserves to be. I heartily recommend consideration for this site.

Murals

Several years ago, suggestions were made to have murals painted on blank walls around the city. I remember that the Philadelphia murals organization made some recommendations of what could be done. Unfortunately, to this date there have been very few murals done on blank walls. I hope that the Atlantic City Arts Commission would be involved in selecting sites for murals to be developed.

There is a group that is currently considering a mural for the Kentucky Avenue wall of the Renaissance Plaza. This is an excellent site for a mural as it was one of the most exciting streets in Atlantic City.

Hopefully, those involved with this idea will get the necessary approvals. Speaking of approvals, I would urge Atlantic City's City Council to come up with an ordinance that would set the parameters and quality of prospective murals that would be painted within the city.

Loud music

When the state passed a bill that allowed for beach bars, it permitted them to have music, but, unfortunately, there is no restriction on how loud that music may be. A problem has arisen with the first non-casino beach bar, the Bungalow Beach Bar, at California Avenue. They have a speaker that is currently on the dunes and that is illegal for that site.

The reason the music of the bar is playing loud is to attract people on the Boardwalk. Unfortunately, the music is being played into the late night hours and is blaring into the units of the Ritz Condominium and can be heard by folks on Bellevue Avenue. It's time to look at putting a restriction on how loud the music from beach bars should be.

Pinky's Corner appears every Thursday in The Press. The Pinky's Corner radio show airs 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on WOND 1400-AM. His TV show, "WMGM Presents Pinky," airs 7:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC TV40.

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