ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (Reuters) – Crowds cheered as the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City was demolished on Wednesday, the oceanfront eyesore bearing the name of the former U.S. president disappearing in a cascading collapse.
Trump, a Republican who was a real estate developer before moving to the White House, opened the hotel and oceanside casino in 1984 but lost control of the property in a 2009 bankruptcy.
A rapid series of explosive dynamite booms heralded the deliberate destruction of the blighted skeletal building, which dissolved into a pile of rubble that sent enormous brown clouds swirling around surrounding structures in the Jersey Shore resort city known for gambling, beaches and its boardwalk.
It took the decrepit building about seven seconds to completely collapse onto the sand, vanishing from the boardwalk skyline shortly after 9 a.m. local time.
Air horn blasts, whistling and cheers erupted as crowds of several hundred people, most of them wearing masks to guard against the spread of COVID-19, milled around pickup trucks parked nearby to watch the spectacle.
Onlookers were charged $10 for a prime viewing spot in an area that was recently used as a food distribution site for the struggling city of 38,000 people.
His former hotel came down in the wake of Trump becoming the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. Last week, the Senate acquitted Trump of inciting a mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
It was Atlantic City’s tenth casino and, in addition to gambling, hosted heavyweight boxing prize fights.
Trump’s name remained on the business as part of a license agreement until 2014, when the casino closed as Atlantic City struggled as a gambling resort, with growing competition in other states. Billionaire investor Carl C. Icahn acquired it out of bankruptcy in 2016.
(Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg in Maplewood, New Jersey, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)