The Atlantic City Public Works department held an important hearing on balticJanuary 11, 1973. Up for discussion was a suggested name change to two Atlantic City Streets, Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues. Well such a hue and cry went up throughout the nation that those Public Works people backed right down, going so far as to hide under their desks. Sure, the Watergate scandal and such stuff was going on, but this was major.

For those who have just arrived from another planet, Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues are properties in the game of Monopoly. Monopoly is of course the classic Parker Brothers game introduced in 1935. Hasbro acquired the game and has gone on one of the most amazing marketing sprees in commercial history. Anything is fair game for a spinoff – cities, regions, countries, movies, celebrities, cities and pop culture, to name a few . There’s a Star Wars Monopoly and Star Trek Monopoly, Nintendo Monopoly and Pokemon Monopoly: Superman, Spider-Man, Pirates of the Caribbean. In most of these special editions, Baltic Avenue is the first property to lose its original identity.

Nevertheless, the poor Public Works bureaucrats were targeted for a lynching at the very least. Never mind that Illinois Ave was changed to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, and that there never was such a place as Marvin Gardens.

For those of you who haven’t visited Monopoly in a while, you’ll be surprised to see that Baltic and Mediterranean are no longer purple properties; now they’re brown. They’re still the cheapest properties on the board at $60. But they are the properties least likely to be landed on.

A Monopolycentric website outlines a strategy for winning with these properties: “Buy as much property as you can early on, even Baltic or Mediterranean…You will very gradually bleed the other person dry… but it will be a long, slow, boring death. Like, if you decided to kill someone by planting a tree in their yard, waiting until it grew taller than their house, then chopping it down so it lands on them. That’s victory via Baltic.”

I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly. — Steven Wright

January 11, 1935

That daring young woman in her flying machine, Amelia Earhart, became the first woman to fly across the Pacific from Honolulu to Oakland, California.  The question on everyone’s mind: Why?


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