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Chelsea property gives Tropicana fifth hotel tower, guests 'change of pace'

ATLANTIC CITY — On the third day of their stay at the Chelsea Tower, Charles and Carol Anisi spent the afternoon sipping drinks under an umbrella at a high-top table of Cabana Five Bar & Pool Deck. The previous night, the Winslow Township, Camden County, couple dined at the Chelsea Five Gastropub before heading back to their ocean-facing room for an ideal view of the Fourth of July fireworks on the Boardwalk.

As frequent visitors to Tropicana Atlantic City, the Anisis’ fondness for the casino hotel carried over to its new addition, which made its debut over Memorial Day weekend.

“This is where we’ve been the past two days,” Charles Anisi said while sitting on the rooftop pool deck. “The beach was too hot, so this was nice. We like it here.”

General Manager Steve Callender said with the opening of the Chelsea Tower and its 330 rooms — 220 in the tower and 110 in the annex — Tropicana can provide both value and a unique experience to guests.

“A lot of people are not afraid to get away from the hubbub; some people like it a little more quiet,” Callender said. “This is kind of a little niche product that gets them away. It’s more like a boutique.”

The Chelsea Hotel was acquired by Tropicana in 2017 after closing in December 2016 and became the fifth hotel tower on the property, combining a nostalgic appeal with modern amenities. Renovations took nearly a year and were part of a $200 million commitment Tropicana made to upgrading and enhancing the entire property.

The upscale-casual pub is where Chelsea Prime was once located inside the hotel, its tiered seating offering unobstructed views of the ocean through floor-to-ceiling windows. The rooftop pool bar — open only to adults 21 and older — offers private cabanas, live music and industry days on Wednesdays open to non-hotel guests. The Whiskey Five Bar, with its walls adorned with Prohibition-era pieces, is stocked with top-shelf spirits and several beers from New Jersey breweries.

Callender said guests have responded positively, particularly since the opening of the pedestrian skybridge connecting the main casino hotel to The Chelsea.

“There’s a real following for this place because a lot of people have history here,” Callender said. “They spent time here and had a lot of good experiences.”

Sue Ellen Horowitz, of Pompton Lakes, Passaic County, said she and her husband, Alan, stayed at the property nearly six years ago. Although they weren’t staying in The Chelsea Tower while in Atlantic City this time, the retired couple enjoyed breakfast at the Gilchrist Restaurant and late-night drinks at the whiskey bar.

“The look and decor are different (than it used to be), but the feeling in here has really changed,” she said. “This is a nice change of pace from the casino.”

Callender said the ability to provide guests another value-driven choice at Tropicana was a good business decision.

“A year ago, this was closed,” he said in between greeting guests walking past him on the skybridge. “To me, that’s the best of all of this. It’s part of the rejuvenation of Atlantic City.”

Trop's Chelsea tower gets grand opening

Is the cast of 'Jersey Shore' headed to Wildwood, Atlantic City?

Are you excited for MTV's 'Jersey Shore' to come to the area?

Expect to see some “meatballs” and other stars of MTV’s reality show “Jersey Shore” on the Atlantic City Boardwalk this weekend as they film in the resort town for season two of its reboot, “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation.”

Whether they’ll be welcome elsewhere along the shore is another matter.

Maisha Moore, chief of staff for Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam, said the show’s production company was given permits to film in public places, such as the city’s Boardwalk and beaches, Friday through Sunday.

Cast member DJ Pauly D regularly performs at Harrah’s Resort’s Pool After Dark. He is scheduled to appear Saturday for a birthday-themed event. Any filming in casinos would have to be worked out with the casinos themselves, Moore said.

National media outlets initially reported the cast and crew also will film in Wildwood later this month, but city officials there said not only was that news to them, they oppose to the idea.

US Weekly reported the show’s production company, 495 Productions, planned to film upcoming episodes in Wildwood and Atlantic City after failing to get long-term filming permits in Seaside Heights, where the show originated in 2009.

The entertainment magazine said the cast — Deena Nicole Cortese, “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio, Jenni “JWoww” Farley, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and Vinny Guadagnino — were set to move into a Wildwood house July 15.

495 Productions did not respond to a request for comment.

“We were as surprised as everyone else,” Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano said. “But there’s been no permits issued for them to film here.”

The show would not need a permit to film at a private residence or business, city officials said.

The Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority, on behalf of the three municipal governments on the island, the Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Business Improvement District and the Boardwalk Special Improvement District, released a statement Friday afternoon saying they oppose “Jersey Shore” filming in the Wildwoods.

“While The Wildwoods, NJ embraces the opportunity to provide a beautiful seaside beach and Boardwalk location for filmmakers, TV shows and social media to film here, it does not welcome the message that the MTV show ‘Jersey Shore’ presents to its viewers,” the statement posted to Facebook said. “The Wildwoods family-friendly atmosphere, beautiful award-winning beaches, Boardwalk fun and Doo Wop ambiance does not align with the show’s overall theme and message.”

Troiano said the show first approached city officials about filming in Wildwood a couple years after the first season debuted, but opposition was strong then, too.

“If this was a popular story about a bunch of nuns coming to the resort, we would have said, ‘Yeah, OK,’” Troiano said. “When we spoke in the spring, I made it clear to (producers) that if there was any chaos, that would be the end of it, and they reassured me that wasn’t going to be the case.”

Seaside Heights Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz said his town reported increased beach badge and parking revenue during the years between the show’s debut and Hurricane Sandy in 2012, but he lamented the way Seaside Heights became “a character in the show.”

“Every bar fight, the public drunkenness, the arrests and the general chaos that the show portrayed on the beach, in the bars and in the house became so closely identified with Seaside Heights that Seaside Heights was no longer merely providing a background,” Vaz said. “Sort of like Miami Beach and ‘Miami Vice’ back in the ’80s.”

Pleasantville adds ShotSpotter purchase to November ballot

PLEASANTVILLE — Randy Millman stood inside his Main Street jewelry shop Friday afternoon weighing the pros and cons after he heard the city is asking taxpayers to decide whether they should buy a $195,000-a-year gunshot audio-detection system.

Millman, who has owned Randy’s Jewelers for 23 years, said he hasn’t had any problems with shootings around his store, but the technology is “probably a good idea.”

City Council on Monday approved a ballot question regarding the purchase of the ShotSpotter system, police Chief Sean Riggin confirmed, after years of not being picked for federal or other grants to fund it. Pleasantville voters would answer the question Nov. 6.

The city would incur additional costs for training and infrastructure fees the first year beyond the $195,000-per-year operating costs, Riggin said. For homeowners, that means an increase of about 2.5 cents on the municipal property-tax rate, he said. Residents with a $100,000 home would pay about $25 more per year.

“I can’t see people wanting to pay for it,” Millman said. “Everybody is so strapped. It’s hard to make a living.”

If residents vote for the purchase, the city will join seven other cities in the state with the technology, including neighboring Atlantic City, which went live with its system in 2013.

According to the ShotSpotter website, when a shot is fired, sensors placed throughout a city capture the precise time, location and audio snippets of the sound, and within 45 seconds of the actual gun discharge, police receive a digital alert.

Mayor Jesse Tweedle Sr. said police response time is “unbelievable” with the technology, saving time that could be wasted if officers don’t know exactly where the shot comes from. He added a lot of residents don’t call police when they hear gunshots because they don’t know for sure what it is, and the city is trying to change that culture.

“It’s about saving lives,” Tweedle said. “It’s about establishing a culture where if you hear a shot, you call it in.”

The city has been seeking grants to fund the technology for four years, Riggin said. It’s a cause he has championed since he became chief in 2015.

“This is really just finally fulfilling,” he said. “ShotSpotter is really the only product that does what we need it to do, and it’s the only thing that I know of that will help us maintain how far we’ve come.”

And the city’s come a long way in just the past three years.

In 2016, the city had 31 reported shootings and two shooting homicides. In 2017, there were five shootings and one shooting homicide.

This year to date, Pleasantville has had two shootings, both of which were homicides, Riggin said.

“We’ve been able to change strategies and to push all of our resources out on the street to fight violent crime and keep crime down,” Riggin said. “We need something that will make it sustainable, and that’s ShotSpotter.”

Before the election, the city and Police Depart-ment plan at least two informational meetings about the technology, which are open to the public, Riggin said. Dates will be announced soon.

“Our main concern now is to educate the public and let them know the advantages of ShotSpotter and how it saves lives,” Tweedle said. “They need to know that Pleasantville has not stopped trying to protect their residents.”

Press archives 

RIGGIN City Council on Monday approved a ballot question regarding the purchase of the ShotSpotter system, Chief Sean Riggin confirmed, after years of not being picked for federal or other grants to fund it. Pleasantville voters would answer the question Nov. 6.