These are exciting times in Atlantic City, especially for a long-neglected oceanfront district where new businesses are opening, old ones are rebounding, and reaching its potential seems only a matter of time.
The area includes the city’s newest gaming palaces, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and the Ocean Casino Resort, and its first, Resorts Casino Hotel.
It stretches from the mid-Boardwalk Orange Loop — with its new food, drink and entertainment establishments — to the Absecon Lighthouse area at Absecon Inlet.
These businesses and more are partnering to market the neighborhood to the world of Atlantic City visitors and potential new residents. A key to that effort will be branding it North Beach. One of the new businesses, the new apartment community 600 NoBe at North Beach, includes the brand in its name.
The district already is distinctive enough to merit its own name, and is bound to become more so as people (and investors) see the inherent value in urban blocks adjoining the Atlantic Ocean and the Boardwalk (much of it newly rebuilt in the district) with its famous Steel Pier. When there’s so much to offer and so many yet to become aware of what’s available, a robust marketing plan is the answer.
What is especially impressive about that marketing plan is that it has literally set its compass according to the orientation of its target audience.
As some locals have noticed, the traditional nomenclature for Atlantic City’s geographic layout is contrary to the North Beach brand. Many decades ago, the city’s officials and its surveyors chose to saddle its place names with rigid adherence to the small tilt of the island southward. Ever since, visitors have been confounded to find that, unlike in the rest of America, the Atlantic Ocean is not to the east, but to the south.
Lots of oddities resulted. Absecon Inlet, which borders the city from due east to due north, is called “South Inlet” where it adjoins the Atlantic. Visitors looking to return west out of town must take streets labeled “north,” some of them pointing closer to due west than the oceanfront faces south.
Absecon Island’s oceanfront would have to tilt about 30 degrees more to face true south. It’s closer to the tossup direction of southeast. Neighboring Ocean City, aimed more squarely southeast, sensibly chose names that keep the Atlantic to the east and the mainland to the west.
And that’s how the world is oriented in the minds of the millennials and others on the lookout for the next great place to play, work and maybe make a new life.
North Beach is brilliant branding. It’s the area on the northernmost beach and Boardwalk in Atlantic City. And it’s the community that staked out a space in the new and future city’s conception of itself.