So today, everything changes in Atlantic City.
Wishful thinking? Well, sure.
But as pitcher Tug McGraw famously said about the 1973 come-from-behind New York Mets, "You gotta believe."
Revel opened its doors to the public at sunrise today for a two-month "preview" period before a grand opening Memorial Day weekend. The sunrise opening was appropriate considering that the resort will offer perhaps the best view on the East Coast of that big orange ball rising up out of the ocean.
The question, of course, is whether Atlantic City's prospects will rise, too, now that the long-delayed, $2.4 billion, 47-story, shimmering glass structure is open.
It is difficult to imagine that Revel won't be a game-changer for the city, especially this coming summer season. Everything about the place - it bills itself as a "resort" rather than a mere casino - takes Atlantic City to a new level, much as the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa did when it opened nine years ago.
The idea is to attract vacationers and conventioneers year-round and wow them with a resort they never have to leave - almost 1,900 rooms (all with ocean views), 14 world-class restaurants, 10 pools, a 5,000-seat theater, a luxurious spa and, oh yeah, a casino. And all of it 100 percent smoke-free.
There's no guarantee it will work. No guarantee this mammoth investment will prove profitable. And no guarantee that Revel won't result in the closing of some of the smaller, struggling casinos.
But Revel CEO Kevin DeSanctis, his investors, and his management team deserve much praise for sticking with the project and creating such a stunning, first-class resort.
We wish the redevelopment of the rest of the city, particularly Revel's South Inlet neighborhood, was further along. Because frankly, as nice as Revel is, guests will want to leave the building at some point.
Much already has been done to make the city, especially the Boardwalk, cleaner and more attractive. But a fully revitalized South Inlet, with a collection of small shops, restaurants and other amenities, is the ultimate goal - and why Revel has pledged to use $125 million of a $261 million, 20-year graduated tax rebate from the state to rebuild the neighborhood.
And, of course, even a big summer season won't be the final word. Summer will turn to fall, and fall will turn to winter, and sooner than you think, it will be January on the Boardwalk once again. The beach and Boardwalk will not beckon in quite the same way, and off-season conventions will be the key to whether Revel and the city succeed.
But today, as the sun rises and shines on Atlantic City ... well, you just gotta believe.
There's no other choice.