Atlantic City

After the couple of days in Brooklyn, I got the opportunity to speak at the New Jersey ISA chapter’s annual conference in Atlantic City.

The drive there was a bit of an adventure, Mark C. kindly picked me up in Brooklyn, which was nice as it gave us a bit of time to catch up and have a chat on the way down to AC. It was also a bit exciting as we were hit by one of the Nor’easters, which dumped copious amounts of snow on… everything. The freeway was a mess, with cars spun out into to the woodlands and central divider every couple of miles. Still, we made it down in one piece.

On his 1982 album “Nebraska”, Bruce Springsteen penned a song about Atlantic City. The chorus goes:

Everything dies baby that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on fix your hair up pretty and
Meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Put it this way, things appear not to have gone uphill for the area since the Boss sang about it in ’82. The atmosphere feels somewhat… dilapidated. Granted, a Trump Plaza opened there in 1984, but that shut down again in 2014 – and it is  probably debatable whether this really added to the attraction of the resort.

The convention took place in the Tropicana, which was quite an experience: a mix of a hotel, resort, casino and convention centre. To be fair, the hotel was really rather nice, loved the view.

Having spent my childhood holidays in the similarly dilapidated Victorian sea side resort of Hastings on the English channel, I have to confess to having a bit of a soft spot for these kind of slightly run-down places.

Some of the things you stumble across were definitively on the weird side. Wet Willies? Seriously? I do not even want to contemplate what they sell in there! And I thought the 3000 pound weight limit in the lift for 12 passengers spoke to the clientele of the Tropicana. That works out at 250 pounds (roughly 125kg)  per person. On average… eek!

I was fascinated by the atrium on the right with its artificial sky. Felt a bit From Dusk til Dawn. Gamble until you drop! Oh, and the casino! Everybody seemed to be in a hurry spending money they probably do not have, whilst smoking and drinking. It felt a bit like a battery farm harvesting humans, all attached to their blinking, pining, neon-bright machines, sucking them dry of their life-blood.

That aside though, I really enjoyed the NJ arborists’ conference.

It was attended by a dynamic group of switched-on arborists, whom I had the opportunity to run a number of presentations past, the interest was lively, with plenty of interesting feedback and comments. I also enjoyed the opportunity to get to chat with people during Teufelberger’s Happy Hour on the first evening, as well as during the dinners. Oftentimes during these events I seem to spend my time rushing around like a headless chicken – not so here, nice and relaxed, with plenty of time to drink coffee and chat. There other talks I managed to go and see touched upon a good range of arb-related topics, offering plenty of food for thought.

Overall, I was impressed by the professionalism and effort which the NJ chapter invests into making this annual, two-day event happen, they pull off a high-quality event, for which I commend them.

Events like this make travel worthwhile in my books, you get to see places and people you would otherwise not see – and I get to spend time hanging out with arborists 😊