I turned off the flashlight as I walked away from the empty window. Stepping over fallen plaster and wooden planks, beside broken glass and spraypainted walls. Her silhouette remained in the window, heels, tight-fitting pants, dramatic teased hair, tiny nose and pouty lips - straddling the handrail. Behind her the orange glow of the nightlit boardwalk seeped in. Colored the sand that stretched out to the lonely convention hall. And there was only the sound of the choppy waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Moonlight came and went through the stormy racing clouds, fell through the beams of a large amphitheatre-like roof which had itself fallen to the weed-covered floor.
The sign simply said 'CASINO', and the boarded up windows and chainlink fences covered the grandeur of a huge beachfront palace. Topped with domed roofs, lined with huge doorways. Aged and weathered and spraypainted and more of its windows shattered than not, a vestige of a time when this city prospered. Like most of the other beachfront property - either closed for the season, or closed permanently. Waiting for a buyer in a town full of abandoned palaces. Business being seasonal at best, nonexistent more often. Ravaged by race riots, drugs, and an unfortunate fate of being in New Jersey. Where on the 'other side of the river' stand mansions, inns, quaintness, and this side is bricked-up highrises, empty diners, two women offering to sell us stolen CD's as we pass by.