Posts tagged life in vegas

In Monte Carlo, Back to the Past | Vegas Seven

If you have heard the most recent Vegas Gang podcast, you heard my thoughts on Monte Carlo. In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I elaborate:

If you were born in a gambling city back when that meant you were a little different from everyone else, you grew up vaguely holding Monte Carlo as the platonic ideal of what a gambling town should be: refined, elegant and timeless. Actually visiting the place, though, reveals something quite different.

via In Monte Carlo, Back to the Past | Vegas Seven.

One of the points that struck me is that Monaco is proof that there is life after casino gambling, even for cities that have been historically defined by it. With a trip to Atlantic City last week, I’ve got a lot to consider when it comes to what happens after the gambling gold rush ends.

I don’t know what this signifies, but on my AC trip I saw that the storied Monaco Motel, where I once worked as a desk clerk, assistant night manager, and even occasional night manager, has been demolished. Looks like the plan is to build $1.2 million condos there.

JFK in Las Vegas | Vegas Seven

In this week’s Vegas Seven, I’ve got the cover story: a look back on John F. Kennedy’s visits to Las Vegas:

It was a meeting for the ages: the midcentury King of Cool getting together with one of the nation’s fastest-rising political stars. The star of From Here to Eternity and the hero of PT 109. An idol of the pop charts and a Pulitzer Prize winner. And it could only have happened in Las Vegas, in that heady era when Frank Sinatra reigned from the stage of the Sands’ Copa Lounge and everyone, even presidential aspirants, wanted a front-row seat. On February 7, 1960, future President John F. Kennedy got one.

via JFK in Las Vegas | Vegas Seven.

I had to do some real digging for this one, and I’d like to thank Larry Gragg for his help in sharing his citations for articles about Kennedy. If you like, you can learn more about his book Bright Light City right here.

I’m also glad that I get a chance to do long-form pieces like this for Seven–it’s a good bridge between the bi-weekly Green Felt Journals and academic articles for me.

Investing in America | Vegas Seven

Busy week, so I’m just posting this week’s Green Felt Journal about the EB-5 program, which is changing Las Vegas:

“Invest In Your American Dream,” reads the text next to a photo of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. The words are quickly replaced by “LAS VEGAS EB5 IMMIGRATION CENTER IS YOUR BEST CHOICE,” with a view of the Strip at night, followed by “THE OPPORTUNITY TO OBTAIN U.S. GREEN CARD,” against a pastiche of a billowing American flag with extra stars, the Statue of Liberty and the Capitol building. Then, just to make the message clear, we get “THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPERIENCE AMERICAN LIFESTYLE,” laid over a skyline that’s definitely not Las Vegas.

via Investing in America | Vegas Seven.

I learned a good deal researching this one…it will be interesting to see where the program goes in the next few years.

The History of Our Future | Vegas Seven

I’ve been wanting to write more about Macau, which is such a huge gambling story, for a while, and when given a feature slot for Vegas Seven, jumped on the chance to talk about Macau’s impact on Las Vegas. The result is this week’s cover story:

Back in the early days—2006 or so—American executives signing on for tours of duty in Macau felt like they were stepping into the Wild West. Street violence had subsided since the island’s 1999 reversion to mainland control, but there was still a sense that this was a frontier, a place where anything could happen. And when strangers rode into town—often from the former frontier town of Las Vegas—they went where strangers always go first: the saloon. In this case, that meant the Embassy Bar at what was then the Mandarin Oriental hotel. It was an admittedly upscale saloon, but for an expat executive it was an oasis, a free-port, a place to make crucial first connections and ease into Chinese life. It offered just enough reassuring familiarity, and just enough tantalizing strangeness.

via The History of Our Future | Vegas Seven.

At 4,000 words, this is a long magazine piece for me, but I think you’ll agree it packs a lot of story into those words. The great art really helps. I’m as proud of this as I am of anything I’ve written so far.

Vegas to the Moon! in Vegas Seven

A few weeks back I got an email about an event connected to the launch of Virgin America’s thrice-daily LAX-LAS flights. I usually don’t go to those kinds of events–there’s not too much to “cover” outside of photo ops. But I got thinking…wouldn’t it be fun to ask Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson how Vegas might factor in his plans for regular open-to-the-public spaceflights?

That’s the genesis of this feature in Vegas Seven:

Could Las Vegas become a launching pad for a new type of tourist—the kind who’s looking for a thrill ride that can’t be found behind the velvet rope?

In the past five years, ideas that once seemed outlandish—medical tourism, a tech corridor, green energy—have been seriously considered as viable tools for our economic development. Why not space tourism?

via Vegas to the Moon! | Vegas Seven.

I also did a companion piece about a company that’s already flying out of McCarran. It won’t take you to space, but it will get you weightless:

You want to experience the feeling of spaceflight, but you don’t have the 200 grand to fork over to Sir Richard. What to do?

As always in matters of semi-sane wish-fulfillment, Las Vegas can help. The Zero G Weightless Experience—available several times a year at McCarran International Airport—never leaves Earth’s atmosphere, but does let participants leave gravity behind.

How to Get Spacey Without Going to Space

Between this and last week’s video game wagering piece, I’m all about proposing strange new worlds for Las Vegas to consider.

The British Are Coming! in Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I take a look at how a British invasion has changed Las Vegas nightlife:

The two biggest demographics in Las Vegas these days seem to be nightclubbers and international visitors. As a bit of anecdotal evidence of the trend, the casinos in development that have stoked the imagination plan to cater either to the former SLS, Gansevoort or the latter Resorts World. So when you get the two together—international visitors who like to party—you know you’re talking gold mine. Add in that they’re from one of the most lucrative feeder markets for Vegas—the United Kingdom—and you’re practically printing cash.

via The British Are Coming! | Vegas Seven.

Interesting that my last two GFJs have been about the influence of other cities (London, Macau) on Las Vegas.

The Strip in 2013: Recovery and Retrenchment in Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I take a look at what lies ahead for Las Vegas in 2013. Seem like the right time:

The New Year has its restorative elements—the celebrations, the resolutions, the fresh hopes. But, against the background of the Great Recession, it’s also another occasion to fret about what lies ahead for Las Vegas casinos.

via

The Strip in 2013: Recovery and Retrenchment | Vegas Seven

Although at first it might seem like there’s not a lot planned, there’s going to be considerable investment and construction on the Strip and Downtown. I look forward to seeing how things shape up.

Name Games in Vegas Seven

This week, I’ve got a “Latest Thought” in Vegas Seven where I finally weigh in on whether we should rename McCarran International Airport. I say, why stop there?

There’s been plenty of talk this summer of renaming McCarran International Airport. At first, it seemed like a lot of talk from people who hadn’t thought much before talking: A name change would be neither cheap nor easy, and this isn’t exactly a time when the public coffers are overflowing. But with Sen. Harry Reid recently declaring that he thinks a name change is in order, this is clearly a subject that needs further discussion.

via Name Games | Vegas Seven.

I’m glad I got the chance to have a little fun with this one. It’s certainly not at the top of the list of ideas I’d want to hear about how to keep Las Vegas relevant in post-recession America.

My Boardwalk Homecoming in Vegas Seven

I’ve got a very special Green Felt Journal out in today’s Vegas Seven. No, it’s not like a “very special episode” of Diff’rent Strokes or The Fact of Life that’s going to pontificate on a current social issue. Instead, I’m talking about the usual stuff I talk about in that space–gambling, casinos, and tourism–but in a much more personal way than I usually do. Here’s a snippet:

The Atlantic City I left was on the other side of history: a city left for dead, one that maybe, someday, might come back. Like Las Vegas, it blew up its past; some of my earliest memories were the implosions of the grand Boardwalk hotels. But this wasn’t replacing the Dunes with Bellagio. Old Atlantic City—the Traymore, the Marlborough-Blenheim, Million Dollar Pier—hadn’t been improved upon; gold had been replaced with concrete and red neon, when anything was built at all. Unlike Las Vegas, you never could shake the sense that you were one or two generations from the golden age.

via A Boardwalk Homecoming | Vegas Seven.

I usually don’t get that autobiographical, because there’s usually not that much of a need for me to put myself into the story. After all, it’s usually pretty straight-forward stuff–a personality profile, a sketch of a current issue–that calls for, at most, some editorial comment, but not much personal reflection.

So this is a different kind of writing for me, but for this story, it’s a path that I had to take. If it succeeds, it’s largely due to the unstinting support and fantastic sounding board of my editor, Greg Blake Miller.

On a more (literally) pedestrian note, I’ve also got some thoughts on Revel over on Two Way Hard Three. I liked the place, quite a bit, but there were a few things that left me scratching my head.

Busy day on Two Way Hard Three

I had a busy day yesterday. I added a previously-written column on the history of Steel Pier right here and I wrote two pieces for Two Way Hard Three.

The first was a fun little piece about Vegas insider moves:

Everyone wants to feel that they’re a Vegas insider. It might be something as basic as knowing that the airport connector isn’t the most direct route from McCarran to the MGM Grand, or it might be something as esoteric as being able to quote, from memory, the names of all of the bouncers at every Vegas nightclub.

Basically, it feels good to know that you’re doing Vegas right. There are so many rookie mistakes to be made (and hey, even locals make them all the time) that it’s great to know that you didn’t waste your time or get ripped off.

Little Vegas insider moves

Then, reacting to news that Steel Pier was for sale (and the justification for it), I shared a few thoughts on Steel Pier:

To me, Steel Pier is symbolic of the failures of the casino industry in Atlantic City. When it was being built, a bridge over the Boardwalk to Steel Pier was considered one of the marquee attractions of the Taj. This would have hosted a restaurant or nightclub offering tremendous views of the Boardwalk. I can only imagine how great it would have been to sit down for a meal or go out for a night of dancing with the lights of the Boardwalk and the ocean waves surrounding you.

Trump selling Steel Pier reveals much

I hope you read and enjoy both pieces.