Just about every American city had a White City and a Midway, a respectable entertainment zone and a red-light district, sparkling movie palaces and dark nightclubs. What made Atlantic City different from Philadelphia and Reading and even Las Vegas was the close proximity and relative safety of the two sites. For most of the social climbers walking on the Boardwalk, doing a little slumming on the side in the glitzy nightclubs and at risqué shows represented a just reward for hard work. The excesses of these places, like the colossal hotels, underscored the presumed perfection of middle-class values. But for others, the city's Midway extended the range of the town's playacting possibilities.
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