Looking Back On The Rise And Fall Of Trump Taj Mahal

The headlines said it all, framing the Trump Taj Mahal’s closure last week as a sentimental mix of a dying star and passing legend.

  • The Week: “The Night the Taj Mahal Closed Its Doors”
  • The Daily Beast: “I Watched a Casino Kill Itself: The Awful Last Nights of Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal”
  • ABC News: “How Trump’s Taj Mahal Casino Went from ‘8th Wonder of the World’ to Closure After Years of Losses”

When the Atlantic City casino first opened, it was hailed as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” However, whatever wonder or awe fueled the opening night of the Taj slowly lost its spark as the years passed.

With a contentious labor strike dealing what many consider a final blow to the casino and hotel, the Taj shut its doors on a workforce of approximately 2,800 employees (according to local news station FOX 29).

Photos tell the story

The FOX 29 piece included several photographs from the final moments of the once-lauded casino.

A small semi-circle of UNITE HERE Local 54 picketers surrounded the entrance to the casino, the Atlantic Ocean a black void beyond a street lined with news vans. Another photo shows a worker unceremoniously sliding a board down over the inside door handles of a Taj entrance.

A look back at Taj grand opening

New York Times reporter Lenny Glynn wrote about the Taj’s opening on April 2, 1990, with a sense of fearful awe: “Trump’s Taj — Open at Last, With a Scary Appetite” his story’s headline read.

“The lavish opening drew hundreds of reporters and a regiment of flashing paparazzi,” Glynn wrote. “The Taj is not only the biggest but, at a total cost of $1.1 billion, the most expensive casino ever built — a roll of the financial dice on a grand scale.”

Of course the Revel — also shuttered for now — nearly doubled that pricetag when it was constructed.

Trump told Glynn that he loved proving people wrong, and those words are eerily appropriate now that Trump is the Republican nominee for president.

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Future for Taj? Rumors of a name change

With the closing of the Taj behind us now, there are questions as to what will happen with the now-deserted resort.

A recent article from the Press of Atlantic City covered the possibility that owner Carl Icahn may be trying to bust the union by reopening in a few months without union employees. While this is purely conjecture at this point, the possibility of Icahn pulling a fast one on the union got New Jersey Senate President Steven Sweeney riled up. The politician was pretty clear that Icahn’s reputation warrants worry, and that a union bust isn’t out of the question.

Sweeney introduced a bill that would attempt to make it difficult, if not impossible, for Icahn to reopen the Taj without a new labor deal.

littleny / Shutterstock.com

About the Author

J.R. Duren

A three-time winner of the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism contest, J.R. Duren works as a freelance writer with a focus on the NJ online gambling and online casino industry. He writes for a number of publications, including Bespoke Post, Our Amazing Norway, Barcelona Metropolitan, Snooth, and the Villages Daily Sun.