Monopoly’s Alive in Atlantic City

Walking along the Boardwalk next to the AC’s oceanfront recently, I passed so many streets and properties from my childhood. Places I used to own. Rolling the dice and buying or losing houses and hotels. Fighting to get around go to collect a measly $200 which was a lot back then. No wonder I’ve stayed out of the real estate business.


It’s fitting that AC’s Boardwalk and the Monopoly’s Boardwalk are the most expensive properties on the board and in town. Ocean views don’t come cheap unless they are underwater.

At night on the Boardwalk at the intersection with Park Place (must have hit Luxury Tax):

The M with the line through it represents international Monopoly currency.

Monopoly was first invented by a woman, Elizabeth Magie Phillips, and patented in 1902. She called it The Landlord’s Game. The truth about this early edition didn’t come out until the 1970’s when someone dug up some dirt for a trial against Parker Brothers.

Lizzie & her creation (photo from Wikipedia):

She lived nearby in Maryland and Delaware but not AC. Her game was popular in AC and localized to the streets and properties in town. Here are a few I passed by: Park Place, Indiana Avenue, Kentucky Ave., New York Ave., St. James Place, Tennessee Ave., North Carolina Ave., and Pennsylvania Ave.

Life often imitates art and right out of a Monopoly game – buying and losing hotels is an active part of life in AC. The Trump Taj Mahal emerged from bankruptcy into a sparkling Hard Rock casino, hotel, and multi-music venue with other hotels reopening.

The Hard Rock is located at the corner of Pennsylvania and Boardwalk. Lady luck may have known how Pennsylvania Ave., one of the greens, was one of my favorite properties. Didn’t gamble that night but maybe I should have.


Despite the reopened casino-hotels, AC has a long way to go to match the more upscale Las Vegas. But they have something Las Vegas never will – a boardwalk next to a real beach and memories of Monopoly.

Sadly, I no longer have a Monopoly game. At a local Target store, they had two versions for sale: Monopoly Classic and the Cheater’s Edition. I kid you not! I wonder who they have in mind for the cheater’s version. The boxes say both games are for anyone eight years+. The cheater’s version eggs you on with “get caught & get cuffed” and “what you can get away with?” And $2 cheaper! Maybe the cheater’s Monopoly bank was ripped off and has less money. I have an ominous feeling Lizzie Phillips wouldn’t be happy about this.

At least the classic is still alive and well. Except the iron is gone and now there is a dinosaur and a penguin. My favorite, the Scottie dog, is still there with a cat for company.

Life is a lot like Monopoly with so much relying on chance. Things could be much worse – we could be stuck in a game of World War II!

There are no Scotties, Monopoly matches, or visits to AC in my novel, but it’s a big game of chance for my heroine Kat Jensen.

Karen Stensgaard is the author of the novel AQUAVIT, the first book in the Aquamarine Sea Series with a second novel on the way soon. AQUAVIT is available as a paperback from Amazon and Ingram Spark or as an e-book from almost everyone else. Libraries have free access via Overdrive.  Link to free chapters on Amazon

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