The Real Streets of Monopoly May Need Some PR Services


The year was 1904 when a young woman named Elizabeth Magie created “The Landlord’s Game.”

She applied for a patent, which was granted on January 5, 1904 (No. 748,626). She explained that the game was to be a “practical demonstration of the present system of land-grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences.” This became what we know today as Monopoly.

The game is greatness, unless you are playing with one those tools who refuse to trade properties.

But have you ever thought about what those cheap purple streets or the highfalutin dark blue streets really look like? One daring photographer with The Atlantic’s CityLab ventured to answer that unasked question.

(All pics via the artist, Mike Osborne.)

One inspiration behind this quest for these coveted property cards could have been Wall Street Journal story about Atlantic City collecting “up to $30 million in unpaid property taxes.” It’s a tell-tale sign of declining property value. (And Atlantic Avenue is a yellow property in Monopoly.)

From Baltic Avenue to Boardwalk, the economic downturn may have not been great for these spots after you pass go:

baltic avenue

Baltic Avenue, 2014 (The slumlord-ridden purple ones)

connecticut avenue

Connecticut Avenue, 2014 (The meh light blue ones)

virginia avenue

States Avenue, 2014 (The gotcha purple ones)

illinois avenue

 MLK Blvd, nee Illinois Avenue, 2014 (Those so-so red ones)

atlantic avenue

Atlantic Avenue, 2014 (The aforementioned yellow ones)

north carolina avenue

North Carolina “Avenue”, 2014 (The home stretch green ones)


And just for fun, Boardwalk, 2014

 new york avenue

Now which of these locations would like to bring reality and Monopoly a bit closer together?