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Kennedy Plaza

Atlantic County Magazine – GACCA Article

Print Date 7.29.2022

By Judy Brenna

Catering and Special Events Director, The Deauville Inn

Aaaaaand the summer excitement continues! I haven’t much quirky quips this week, plus I don’t want to waste room with rants, because there is a TON going on. Strap in, let’s go…

Not many people talk about Kennedy Plaza. Not that it’s overlooked, but…. I feel as though it gets overshadowed sometimes by all the other "stuff" in AC. And let's face it, there's a lot. It’s a gorgeously constructed, hat-tip-to-the-ancient-Roman-Colosseo-jawn, right dab smack on the boardwalk at the end of Mississippi Avenue, opposite where the Trump Plaza Casino Hotel used to stand. The Plaza hosts a miniature golf course and an outdoor amphitheater, with magnificent columns lining the courtyard and surrounding steps that provide a great viewing experience. During the summer there are regular shows and movies at the Kennedy Plaza. These shows are often of super high quality and the remarkable thing is, that they are almost always free to the public! And this summer is no different. Let’s break it down.

Broadway on the Boardwalk is happening RIGHT NOW, through August 29th, featuring the best of Broadway ((as my former actor/singer/dancer feet start twitching and randomly doing double maxi fords with pickups in my chair)). Now in its 5th year, the Great White Way meets the Great Wooden Way in Atlantic City. Broadway on the Boardwalk is back and it's bigger than ever. Hosted by comedian Dena Blizzard, this FREE concert series features the casts of today’s hottest Broadway musicals performing their biggest hits. The series runs on Monday nights throughout the summer on Kennedy Plaza and features awesome Broadway hits from shows like Kinky Boots, Wicked, Moulin Rouge, Beetlejuice, and ((bowing to the master)), Irving Berlin’s Cheek to Cheek. Check them out:

Ever wish you could “experience” Mardi Gras? Well not you can without getting on a plane. Tony Mart has been hosting Mardi Gras events every Wednesday at Kennedy, now through August 31st. Next week’s show is especially exciting, featuring Tony Mart Cares Beer Garden with ((super girl crush alert)) Golden Globe Nominee Dana Fuchs, Contemporary Roots Rock Diva, who portrayed Janis Joplin on off Broadway, AND was in the Beatles Cult Classic Movie “Across the Universe”, and a very popular New Orleans High Energy Party Rock Band front woman, AND an all-around OG B-word. Now I know what you’ve been thinking… who is this Tony Mart fella? It’s not a man it’s a place. Anthony Marotta, Sr. was an enterprising Sicilian American immigrant ((#ItaliansDoItBetter)) who bought “Schick’s Tavern” on Bay Avenue in Somers Point in 1944. He enlarged and remodeled it and grew the establishment into one of the most famous, exciting, and historically important rock-n-roll nightclubs on the east coast of the United States, dubbing its moniker, “Tony Mart”. So, it’s the world-famous venue hosting the event… In case you were wondering.

Hedging forward… let’s talk about Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation for a sec. I will be dedicating an entire post to this foundation in the future. But for now, an overview... Some of you may be asking yourself what “what the heck is Chicken Bone Beach?”. I certainly didn’t know when I first moved here. But being the history weirdo I am and having an inkling of Atlantic City’s seedy past I did some historical sleuthing within the first few months living here. Chicken Bone Beach was a racially segregated section of the Atlantic Ocean Beach (between Missouri and Mississippi Avenues) known for attracting many African Americans. It was given this name by the locals due to the volume of chicken bones presumably found in this segregated area during regular clean ups although by all accounts the reports were simply unfounded. With the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, all Atlantic City beaches were open to everyone, and this all-black beach disappeared. By the 1970s Casinos further changed the culture of the beach by making Atlantic City into a world class resort which in turn limited access to all working-class families. To protect this endangered African American heritage site, the Atlantic City Council passed an ordinance in 1997, declaring Chicken Bone Beach (also known as the Missouri Avenue Beach) into an historical landmark. Today, the Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation promotes heritage pride through annual summer jazz concerts including the Chicken Bone Beach–Jazz on the Beach Concert Series that commemorates the era’s earlier block party atmosphere. For nearly two decades concert series have occurred at the Kennedy Plaza stage on Boardwalk between Mississippi and Georgia Avenue in July and August, presented by the foundation and the Atlantic City Free Public Library, along with other partners. I implore you to check out a concert. It. Is. Awesome.

And completely unrelated to Kennedy Plaza… you guys have got to stop by this Sunday at my job. I know I always drop cutesy bombs about events where I work, but The Deauville Inn's Sunday Happy Hour event is completely and totally ((as the kiddos these days say)) turnt ((and yes, that felt completely inorganic saying)). Join us at for our Apres Beach Event, completely open to the public, from 3 pm to 6 pm, every Sunday, hosted by Aperol. It’s an elevated beach bash with delicious summery cocktails and the tastiest beach fare around that you DO NOT WANT TO MISS.

That’s all I got for now. Until next week, folks… #stayjerseystrong!

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