Like many older east coast cities after World War II, Atlantic City became plagued with poverty, crime, corruption, and general economic decline in the mid-to-late 20th century. The neighborhood known as the “Inlet” became particularly impoverished. By the late 1960s, many of the resort’s once great hotels were suffering from high vacancy rates. Most of them were either shut down, converted to cheap apartments, or converted to nursing home facilities by the end of the decade. Prior to and during the advent of legalized gambling, many of these hotels were demolished. Of the many pre-casino resorts that bordered the boardwalk, only the Claridge, the Dennis, the Ritz-Carlton, and the Haddon Hall survive to this day as parts of Bally’s Atlantic City, a condo complex, and Resorts Atlantic City.
The city hosted the 1964 Democratic National Convention which nominated Lyndon Johnson for president and Hubert Humphrey as vice president. The convention and the press coverage it generated, however, cast a harsh light on Atlantic City, which by then was in the midst of a long period of economic decline.