I was in my glove box there other day looking for something, not sure what it was and has no real relevance. There was something that I did find. It was an old Rivera Hotel card key from my last recent time in Vegas. Who knows, a hundred years from now it might be worth $50 or so. It was a cool find as since then The Rivera Casino and Hotel has been torn down and now gone. Last of the original, old school, Vegas casinos. A footnote in history. The last casino from a different time long over, and mostly forgotten. but, it harkens back to a time when The Rat Pack was Vegas. A place that was only for a select few. A place that only the mob could make and did run the town for a long time. A time when when wearing a Fedora hat was common because you were a gentleman. Not because of some attempt at a fashion statement, or a wannabe hipster. A refugee for gambling, booze, and sex. All things wicked.
Vegas was a mere oasis in the mojave desert between somewhere and no where. My first time thru Vegas I was just a kid. A family road trip to Disneyland and Vegas as a stop over. I still remember making the turn as you peak over the hill which gives you your first look down into Vegas coming from the Hoover Dam. Just a small island of lights in a dark desolate desert. It was the Rivera where we stayed for a night. No mega-hotels, casinos, and resorts as there are today. What now is referred to as Old Town Vegas was still considered a part of the strip. Ah, the bright lights. That would be far from the last time in Vegas.
Some fifteen years later I found myself at Northern Arizona U. Just about an 4 hour drive away. There were a brave few that would party in Flag till closing, then head out into the night to for gambling and a few more cocktails in the AM in Las Vegas. That was not something I had the cahoots for that non-sense, but my hats of those who did. That’s not to say I didn’t go….By that time the small oasis had grown into a big city. Henderson had grown into a suburb, one of a few of them surrounding the strip. And, by this time the growth of the new strip had become to be. Old Vegas, was at that point just that.
Now, there is the City Center and a few other mega-resorts. Over they years it went from a town for a the select few and run by mobsters, to a corporate “family Friendly” haven that thanks to the ripping 90’s worked out. Some attempt at an adult disneyland that you could bring the kids along. However, as the economy changes so does Las Vegas, but always a place for sinners and a few saints.
I can’t speak for everyone, but after my last visit in September of 2009 I must say I enjoyed the old town, but I certainly wasn’t in a situation that I had lots to spend. The new strip has so much and does require lots of walking, but a bit of gambler I’ll take old town. I have been a sinner quite enough. And, that is what Las Vegas is for, the rest is just a distraction from the the true Las Vegas. If I were to win the power-ball I would love to go back and take full advantage of all Vegas has to offer. Which is about everything. And, now the city has gone back to it’s roots as an adult playground with plenty of temptations. Somewhere that even the honest, and pure can get a bit wicked and sinful. As that is the true essences of Las Vegas.