I know what’s going to happen over the next two days. I’m ready, and I hope it goes well and our chemistry continues in a brief domestic space. I am going to her place. I’ve never been there before. I don’t know what to suspect. But I can handle it. It’s a couple of days in Atlantic City with a beautiful young woman. How bad is my life?
I’m munching my sandwich in the Jeep and the trip is rolling along. It’s late, but I don’t care.
“I need a drink after this day.”
“Sounds like a plan, Ambria.”
We finally pull into the parking lot of the Ritz Carlton Residences in AC. This place is glorious. Such history. The summer heat has been upon us in the city for the last week, but as I roll down the window, I catch the vivid fragrance of the sweet sea air. The seashore has been part of my being since childhood, and even though I have just rolled into the dying sin city of the east coast, I smile and breathe deeply. I had forgotten as hot as the city gets it’s always cooler at the shore. That’s part of the reason people come to the seashore. The cool breeze is wonderful.
We park and unload her Jeep. We’re like every other tourist at this moment. Tired, and hauling our gear up to our room. I’m happy to be here. She’s relieved we’re finally here after a long day for both of us. Ambria, says hello to the staff as we make our way to the elevator.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company announced its intention to build a hotel in Atlantic City in 1911. The Ritz-Carlton was designed by New York architect Charles D. Wetmore and constructed by the Thompson-Starrett Company. Opened on June 21, 1921, it was erected at a cost of $6,250,000 (almost $70 million in 2010 dollars), less than the original $8 million projected. Located at the end of Iowa Avenue, the building has 131 feet of Boardwalk frontage, is 222 ft (68 m) tall, and has 18 stories.
At the building’s dedication, hotel president Richard Harris stated “We are out to do business with the average American citizen without regard to race, religion or politics”. But the Ritz-Carlton soon became a haunt for the well-off, the hotel exuding wealth and status. Many features were state-of-the-art or unique among hotels at the time. They included fresh and salt-water faucets for both hot and cold water in each room, an on-site artesian well for spring water, pantries on each landing to speed room service, and elevators with walls of rubber and floors of cork so that bathers’ could bypass the lobby.
The hotel’s restaurants were the Ritz, the Trellis Room, and the Ritz Grill, an outdoor dining terrace overlooking the ocean, and a merry-go-round shaped bar. The Maude Earl Room, a writing room adjoining the parlor, housed rare and antique art.
During the Depression in 1937 the owners defaulted on the mortgage and the Ritz Carlton was reorganized under bankruptcy. The hotel was one of many in the city to be used as military barracks for soldiers in training and recuperation during World War II. After the war it was sold to Schine Hotels in the 1940s and then to Sheraton Hotels in 1959, becoming The Sheraton Ritz-Carlton. The Ritz was converted to an apartment hotel in June 1969. In 1978, an investor group purchased the building intending to convert it to a hotel and casino. However, unfavorable publicity linking it to the Abscam investigation ended that plan. Senator Harrison A. Williams (D-N.J.) told an undercover FBI agent that he could help save the investors $30 million by allowing them to renovate the existing property, rather than building a new one. Williams’ wife was a paid consultant and shareholder in Hardwicke Companies, the majority investor in the project, and Williams expected to receive a $1 million finder’s fee for helping arrange financing for the project. Williams was later convicted on unrelated charges. In 1982, approximately $25 million was spent converting it to 322 residences and six commercial suites, of which some are full-time residences and others are vacation homes. At the same time, the newly re-established Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company paid the building’s owners to abandon use of the Ritz-Carlton name, to avoid confusion with their hotels. The building has operated since then as The Ritz Condominiums.
We get to the room and it’s perfect. A classic seashore efficiency. I think if Lorelei didn’t live with me in Rittenhouse, if I could find a place like this, I’d do it. I walk through the door, and the air conditioning is already on. To my left is a big row of closets. Plenty of storage. To my right is a sweet little kitchenette. Refrigerator, microwave mounted to the cabinetry, a stove, sink, cutlery drawers and lower cabinets for whatever else. There’s a cream-colored convertible sofa. The queen-sized bed is off to my right against the wall beyond the kitchenette.
There is an easy chair to my left which looks really comfy, and is parked in front of a 36″ flat screen TV. By the window is a little table with two chairs. I open the blinds and from her window I have a lovely northern view of the boardwalk and the Atlantic Ocean.
This place is absolutely perfect.
“What made you choose a place in AC?”
“Well we both know that Atlantic City is struggling right now so I got this place for a song and this is a town that enjoys adult fun and I don’t like kids.”
I start mixing the cocktails. This place is great. I make myself a vodka club, and she says make her a screwdriver.
“Do you want a single or a double and do you want straight up or rocks?”
“Use my crazy flavored vodka and just put the OJ in for color”
Ok. Baby wants to get her drunk on.
That happens and we have a wonderful time. I think about how the first time I kissed Ambria. When We really kissed passionately outside the Ranstead Room.
That girlfriend kiss.
Ambria told me that night that she was a giver and a pleaser. She’s a nurse, I get it. I told her I wanted to give to her first and I did that after a few drinks that first night. I’m assuming her squeals of delight were a positive review.
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