Monday, October 14, 2013

EVERYTHING BUT NUCKY

'Boardwalk Empire' is a terrific HBO series, which portrays the Prohibition-era days of Atlantic City, New Jersey. At that time, Atlantic City was the beach destination for many along the northeastern seaboard. It's world famous boardwalk was famous for rides, carnival shows, and diving horses. Around the town, every type of vice could be satisfied, all under the watchful eye of one of most colorful political/crime figures of the day, Enoch 'Nucky' Johnson. Johnson's crime tentacles reached New York City, where he partnered with underworld figure, Lucky Luciano, and to Chicago, where he befriended Al Capone. Johnson was also famous for reaching out to minorities, and, for the most part, treating them fairly, and for his over 100 finely tailored suits. Johnson ran Atlantic City for over 30 years.

In the television series, Johnson becomes Nucky Thompson, and is portrayed magnificently by Steve Buscemi, who has appeared in numerous films. Before he was famous, Buscemi was a New York City fireman. For four years, Buscemi served on FDNY'S Engine Co. 55, in Manhattan's Little Italy. After September 11, 2001, Buscemi returned to Engine 55 and for several days worked 12-hour shifts alongside other firefighters to sift through the rubble from the World Trade Center.

Nucky was nowhere to be found in Atlantic City this past weekend, but the 55th running of the Atlantic City Marathon was, and it was a terrific event.

It was not a Jersey Shore weekend, with tropical rains, and strong winds, yet, nearly 4,000 runners participated in the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Marathon events.

Several of the miles in the half and the marathon were run on the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk, which is quite pleasant on the legs. Marathoners and half marathoners toured the city, and were treated to scenic venues, cheering crowds, and several bands along the flat, fast route. Folks strolled along the boardwalk as runners passed, evoking applause and cheers along the way. The huge casinos and quaint shops blended beautifully to offer a unique backdrop to this venerable event in a venerable town.

The race was superbly managed, and manned by hundreds of dedicated volunteers. Shirts and medals were very nicely designed, and although runners were forced to brave the windy conditions, the course remained dry throughout most of the races.

The Atlantic City Marathon is a classy event.

Nucky would be proud.