Wandering down the Las Vegas Strip at night can be a jaw-dropping experience. This is the Excalibur Casino, an adult Disneyland.
Gambling interests in Nevada will make around a billion dollars in profit this month, so it is no surprise they can afford to build the massive pleasure palaces that line Las Vegas Boulevard. A walk down the Strip, as it is known, can be a jaw dropping experience, especially at night. Even McDonald’s has a sparkling sign. A recent article in the Smithsonian Magazine noted that Las Vegas is lit up by over 15,000 miles of neon tubes.
The New York, New York Casino. The line snaking across the front of it is a towering roller coaster that adds screams to Las Vegas Boulevard.
New York, New York Casino on the Las Vegas Strip,also features an imposing Statue of Liberty.
Not to be outdone, the Paris Casino features the Eiffel Tower.
The Paris Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
Even McDs adds a touch of glitter on the Strip.
A stroll down Las Vegas Boulevard during the day also brings impressive sights, such as this one of the Wynn Hotel and Casino.
Wandering through the various casinos can also provide a day’s entertainment. The Venetian Casino in Las Vegas features canals, gondolas, and gondoliers who sing. The sky is fake.
And there is glamour… some of the world’s top entertainers perform in Las Vegas. We took in Zarkana, the latest acrobatic Cirque du Soleil extravaganza, and two musicals.
Las Vegas been a glitzy kind of place ever since gambling was legalized in Nevada and the first mobsters set up shop in the town during the 40s, 50s and 60s. Those were the days when the Rat Pack roamed the streets and Frank Sinatra introduced John Kennedy to Judith Exner, a mistress the President shared with Mob Boss Sam Giancana.
The excellent Mob Museum in the older part of Las Vegas shares this and many other stories about the history of the mob in America. It is well worth a visit. Peggy and I, along with our friends Ken and Leslie Lake, spent three hours in the museum. We also took advantage of its location to wander down Fremont Street and experience Las Vegas as it once was before the Strip took over.
Among the three floors of displays in the Mob Museum in Las Vegas is this electric chair.
A trip down Fremont Street is a trip down Memory Lane. At one time, this would have been one of Las Vegas’s top casinos.
I confess to liking the old neon signs of Las Vegas as much as I like the glitzy neon of the strip.
This old Binion Cadillac with its Wild West theme is a fitting companion to the neon horse above. The Binion of Binion’s Casino was one of the early casino owners with close ties to the mob.
In addition to being glamorous and glitzy, Las Vegas can also be tacky. Souvenir shops line the streets. Hustlers push everything from “free” drinks to nude women. People dressed up in dozens of costumes ranging from Bat Man to Sponge Bob and Darth Vader invite you to have photos taken with them… for a fee, of course.
My friend Ken Lake chose to pose with these “show girls” over Sponge Bob. It cost him a couple of bucks. I figured the least I could do was feature him in my blog.
I am not sure this display at the Hilton fits tacky but it was amusing.
Peggy, in another life, may have been a palm reader. Alas Ms. Laurie was out, so Peggy is still wondering about her future.
Peggy also modeled for me in the pawn shop where the popular TV program Pawn Stars is filmed.
I’ve saved my last two photos for those of you who have clown phobias. This guy is outside the Circus Circus Casino.
We were walking back to our hotel one evening when I turned around and the Circus Circus clown was staring at us over a building. Does evil fit?
NEXT BLOG: I leave Las Vegas and return to my tour of Mediterranean Ports. Venice is up next.