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Crowds Sparse On Atlantic City Boardwalk After Sandy

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By Robin Rieger

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (CBS) – It’s a beautiful day on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, but the crowd is sparse. Some people stroll into casinos that have reopened in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, while others shop nearby at The Walk, a collection of about 100 stores from Tanger Outlets.

“We are finding good deals,” says Tom Hammond.

He and Javin Ashlaw are from Massachusetts, and they’re having a great time despite friends’ concerns.

“All our friends have been texting us since we’ve gotten here asking if the boardwalk is still intact, because a lot of people up north just have the perception that New Jersey has totally been wiped out,” Ashlaw says.

The Atlantic City Alliance, a non-profit group focused on promoting tourism with “Do AC” campaigns, says its recent national poll indicated 41 percent of people questioned thought the Atlantic City Boardwalk was destroyed. In fact, it was an older already damaged portion in the south inlet that caved to the ocean at the height of the storm.

The alliance is now reworking its previous television commercials to start airing Thursday in Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia.

The Walk’s Donna Danielson hopes the ads will bring visitors back, especially for Black Friday.

“We need to get the word out that we are open and ready for the holidays,” Danielson says.

Stephanie Steele, of Atlantic City, noticed the difference in shoppers this time of year.

“There aren’t a lot of people out here at all if you look around,” she says, noting that some stores were offering 50 and 60 percent off merchandise.

The Atlantic City Alliance says that next week, it will launch a full page ad in The New York Times.

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