Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Las Vegas Church Building Moving

The white church has sat abandoned for several years. Across Las Vegas Boulevard is Circus Circus. And on the same side of The Strip, just across the street is The Riviera. The Algiers used to be right next door, but is completely gone. And soon apparently, the white church will be gone too, or at least, relocated.

The church which sits on busy Las Vegas Boulevard, just north of The Riviera, is being raised in preparation to be physically relocated. I do not know where it is to go, and the project is moving slowly, yet the building is off the ground, and a truck has been in front for at least a week.

This isn't big news, mediawise; but if you are "into" Vegas, then it is a little astounding to see something which seems so out of place, considering the current real estate values. It is no longer a strip of little independent buildings, and soon this one will go away too.

Las Vegas - Goodbye Barbary Coast

No time has been wasted by Boyd Gaming in changing the website of the newly defunct Barbary Coast Hotel And Casino. A visit to yields no trace of the old Barbary. Instead, the site is now a general Coast Casinos source.

Out with the old and in with the new. Barbary Coast is being replaced by Bills Gamblin' Hall And Saloon. This will take place over just a few days, as only minor changes (such as signs) are being effected. The website for the new place, which is owned by Harrahs, is

If you visit the site, you will see the new sign for the Las Vegas Boulevard side, which will replace the old Barbary Coast sign.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Las Vegas, Barbary Coast, Done Deal

In a press release, Boyd Gaming Corporation has announced that it's deal with Harrahs Operating Company, Inc. has successfully closed. Harrahs gets The Barbary Coast Hotel And Casino, and Boyd gets 24 acres north of the site of The Stardust Hotel And Casino (defunct).

Boyd appears likely to use its newly gaines property (which at one point was The Westward Ho Hotel And Casino, but now is a dirt lot) as an expansion property for their Echelon Place project. [Echelon Place will be the successor to The Stardust.]

Harrahs will rename Barbary Coast, "Bills Gamblin Hall And Saloon."

The Barbary Coast may close for several days in order to effect this change, however it was not made clear in the press release if that is to occur today, as was previously announced.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Station Casinos Being Bought

Station Casinos, which operates 12 hotel - casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada and the surrounding area, is going to be bought. They operate the new and beautiful Red Rock Casino, among others.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Castaways Casino Implosion - Las Vegas, Nevada

The Castaways Casino Implosion - Las Vegas, Nevada.

While we wait for The Stardust to fall, let's take a look back at The Castaways Hotel and Casino implosion.

The Castaways was imploded on Wednesday 11 January 2006.

Unlike The Stardust, only the lower level windows of The Castaways were removed. As well, the sign atop The Castaways remained in place and was destroyed with the fall of the building.

When The Stardust goes down, it will just be steel and concrete. No signs.
The implosion of The Castaways took place at approximately 7:07 AM.

From the flash and smoke of the first charges, to the kickup dust cloud caused by the totality of the building hitting the ground, took about 6 seconds. Since this was in daylight, it was easy to take still photographs.

Although it is not official, it seems that The Stardust will be imploded at 2:00 AM (two hours after midnight). The darkness will make it a difficult still shoot. So will the crowd and crowd control.

Las Vegas will never be the same.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Las Vegas - Barbary Coast Hotel And Casino

Las Vegas - Barbary Coast Hotel And Casino

The official done-deal word of the closing of The Barbary Coast has not been announced yet. I would not bet against it though. Before the end of this month, the much loved Las Vegas Hotel And Casino, The Barbary Coast, will close for several days. When it reopens, it will be named Bill's Gamblin Hall and Saloon.

One must wonder just how long that entire stretch of block will remain in it's present incarnation. Whatever The Barbary Coast is called, it is still a small structure at a major intersection.

Nobody will announce much that is significant until after The Stardust falls next month. The risk of being overshadowed in the news is too strong.

After The Stardust is gone, I would expect to hear news being released, which is right now sitting on the burners. [How much longer until The New Frontier announces something?]

Meanwhile we have arrived at the final weekend of The Barbary Coast.

7 Things Missed About The Stardust Hotel And Casino In Las Vegas

Seven things that will be missed about The Stardust Hotel And Casino in Las Vegas.

1-Good parking and road access. Never feeling "stuck" inside a garage.

2-A sports book with a "serious" feel. A SPORTS BOOK.

3-Interacting with employees who had a sense of history and pride in their job. More so than many others in Las Vegas.

4-A casino floor that had levels (minor as they were, the steps/ramps did give a feel that one was going from area to area rather than just being in a large room)...the casino floor was travelable.

5-The wonderful and comfortable seating in the hotel lobby.

6-The excitement of reaching the sports book side, after a long walk through the more animated areas.

7-The fantastic experience of exiting through the sports book doors, at night, and seeing off to the right the three sided Stardust advertisement sign turning -- this was a genuine Las Vegas experience.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Stardust - 436 Hours

3000 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, Nevada

There are 436 hours until The Stardust implosion, (scheduled for 0200 Monday 12 March 2007).

Ground level demolition is not complete, but soon will be. The famous Stardust sign from the center entrance at Las Vegas Blvd. has been removed in sections, and now sits on the ground. The main entrance is no more. Only the south facade remains, while crews perform clean up on the west side.

More to come.

Echelon Place - Las Vegas

A press release about Boyd Gaming, which included details about Echelon Place has got me rather interested in this project.
[Echelon Place will be built on the site of The Stardust, in Las Vegas, Nevada.]
Some of the interesting points concerning Boyd Gaming and Echelon Place are:
  1. They are preparing to commence construction of Echelon Place in the second quarter 2007.
  2. They expect to open Echelon Place in the third quarter 2010.
  3. Echelon Place will have five unique hotels
  4. The property is designed in such a way that although a large property, vehicle and walking access will be easy.
  5. There will be seven vehicle arrival points.
  6. Approximately 9000 parking spaces.
  7. Approximately 5000 rooms (cumulative from all five hotels).
  8. 140,000 sq foot casino.
  9. The pool and recreation area will have multiple levels.

There will also be the expected range of theaters, convention space, restaurants, clubs, and retail space.

As well Boyd is making use of their land in such a way that they will be able to add to the planned construction if and when they so desire, without interrupting their initial construction phase.

As sorry as I was to see The Stardust go, I am very pleased with what Boyd has planned for this site. My expectation now is that they will create a place that may well be the finest on The Las Vegas Strip.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Year Of The Pig At The Venetian, Las Vegas

The Chinese New Year (Year Of The Pig) is being recognized at The Venetian.

On the former site of The Sands, The Venetian has a magnificent outdoor area. Here you can see red banners celebrating The Year Of The Pig.

They style of The Venetian is to not just put up ads or signs, but rather to make their message be art. In this way their property is made beautiful, without a sense of being cheapened for commercial purposes.

A fine example of this is the Phantom Of The Opera art/advertisement which adorned their tower. Art does not have to be limited to a rectangle on a wall, and someone at Venetian knows that and practices that very well.

The official website of The Venetian is:

The Ballys Las Vegas Question

How much longer will Bally's Las Vegas remain in it's current form?
Specifically I am thinking of all the space which contains the running water, trees, walking paths, and moving sidewalk entryway. That is a lot of space to be non-income producing (from a bean counters point of view) in the current climate of counting every square foot.
In actual practice, it is difficult to definitively know what the true bottom line effect of such non-income producing areas are. It is possible that the mix of open area brings people in to the inner area (to spend money) who otherwise would have passed by without spending a dime. But people who count for a living don't go for that.

I have heard that that Caesar's Palace Las Vegas is considering doing away with the outdoor Roman Plaza. It's new, and nice to walk around, and apparently it's days are numbered.

So the question remains - how long will the open air space in front of Bally's Las Vegas, remain open air space?

Barbary Coast - One Week Left

As a reminder, the Barbary Coast Hotel & casino in Las Vegas, Nevada is scheduled to close in approximately one week. On or about Tuesday 27 February 2007, The Barbary Coast will cease to exist. The location will close for approximately two days, and will then reopen under a different name.
Souvenirs were in short supply last week. I do not know what the situation is today, but it can not be better, as they were not going to be getting any more Barbary Coast named merchandise in.
Souvenirs which had the Barbary Coast name on them, were being sold at 50% off last week; items such as shirts, golf balls, and mugs.
In the event that the traditional items have all sold out by now (a very real possibility) there is still the safety souvenir of taking a photo of the front of the place before the sign changes.

Las Vegas - Boxing

Ricky Hatton and Jose Luis Castillo will fight for the IBO Junior WelterWeight Title on Saturday 23 June 2007, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Basketball games are not expected to break out on The Strip that weekend.

The Stardust Alone

The Stardust closed at noon on Wednesday 1 November 2006. That night, the wood wall which now surrounds the property, was not yet up. Instead, the closed property was approachable in some areas, and blocked off with yellow construction horses in others. The main driveways on the Las Vegas Boulevard side, were blocked off with orange construction blockades.

All of the lights were still on, and blinking. The gaming machines inside were still lit up, though the slot screens had the ominous OUT OF SERVICE message on them. Music played on the outdoor speakers, just as always. The fountains which for many years had shot small streams of water from one fountain to another were turned off.

For some reason, no one was there (no passersby); at least not for many minutes at a time. Standing there that night was an incredible experience. I had been photographing The Stardust for a while - somewhat intensely. Earlier that day I had marched out of The Stardust, in the exiting conga line. Now almost 12 hours later, the place was pretty much the same in appearance, except that it was closed, and I could not go inside.

If I recall correctly, I was cold that night, and I definitely was tired and wanted to go home, but I needed to take a few photos of a place which seemed to be frozen in time. Out of the entire population of the planet, for a few minutes, I was the only person standing on Las Vegas Boulevard by the main entrance area of The Stardust. I don't think that I was paying my respects. Maybe the experience was just a side effect of being alone, in an area where one could never be alone. I mean, the parking spots were all vacant, no valet, no anyone. Yet the lights were blinking, and the music was playing. And I took pictures, alone, because that moment would not last forever.

[One photo shows the main entrance area, the other shows the north entrance to the keno lounge.]

Monday, February 19, 2007

Five Places To Visit In Las Vegas

Five Places To Visit In Las Vegas

Changes often occur unusually quickly in Las Vegas. When people visit Las Vegas for the first time, they often visit the major new places, and go back home. Some time later, those who become more interested in Las Vegas may develop a desire to visit places which existed on their first trip, but alas are no more. This is a very common experience. It has happened to me, and to many people with whom I have spoken.

Two things which are almost certain about a first trip to Las Vegas are:

1-You will not have enough time.
2-Everything will appear closer than it is.

This leads to comments such as:

a) We didn't get to...(insert name of place not visited)
b)I am tired of walking

I can not imagine someone visiting Las Vegas who would not want to check out the New York New York Hotel. It is an incredible place inside and out, and must be visited. However, let me also point out that there are places which may well not be here the next time you come. And if you wind up being interested in Las Vegas enough to come and visit a second time, then you undoubtedly will have some thoughts of places which you had the opportunity to visit, but not sense enough to visit.

This is very easy to understand. The new places, The Venetian, New York New York, and others, are all so obviously incredible, that a smaller older place such as The New Frontier (which is not very new) does not compete well for a newcomers attention. In order that you may one day not wish that you could go back in time, here is a list of places which may or may not be at risk of being due for a "significant change."

1-The Stardust - The Legendary Stardust closed on 1 November 2006. The ground level buildings have almost all been razed. As I write this, the sign is being taken down. Both hotel buildings have been gutted, and windows removed. It is a skeleton, and is scheduled to be imploded at 0200 on 12 March 2007.

There are major, new places nearby. As wonderful as they may be in their own right, it is quite possible that all that some of the new places will ever be, will never reach the level of all that The Stardust has ever been. Do not miss taking a look at this legend. What is left of it will disappear very soon, and if you are reading this after 12 March 2007, I suppose that it is gone.

2-The New Frontier. Not that you would confuse it with a different Frontier. This is a rather old place on The Strip. The sign might be the oldest on The Strip. It is next to The Stardust, so you can certainly visit both at the same time. There have been several rumors of The New Frontier closing. It stands to reason that sooner or later a small place like this will seek to make something larger on their valuable property.

3-The Riviera. No news here, but it is an older place, and is probably worth a visit.

4-The Las Vegas Hilton. This is the Star Trek themed casino (it is very well done). They have The Star Trek Experience which you must see to believe. As this Las Vegas hotel is off The Strip many people do not make it there. Recently I have heard a rumor that the site may be redeveloped in a year or two. The Las Vegas Hilton is a long block away from The Riviera (up the block from the main entrance of Circus Circus).

5-Circus Circus. I have heard nothing about Circus Circus closing - but it is an older place (with new parts as well) and it would be unfortunate to visit Las Vegas and not experience Circus Circus. It is a true original oddity, and worth a visit.

Las Vegas - MGM Grand and NYNY Basketball Jerseys

The Statue Of Liberty at New York New York, and The Lion at The MGM Grand, have both been wearing basketball jerseys as part of the Adidas NBA advertising campaign.

Las Vegas - NBA All Star Game

Las Vegas, Nevada - The NBA All Star Game is over, but Las Vegas still has many remnants of the event, in the form of building advertising.

Here is a shot of the MGM Grand with it's NBA All Star themed Adidas ad. As well, the lion at the MGM grand wore a West basketball jersey, and the Statue Of Liberty at New York New York wore an East jersey.

I will put photos of those up soon.

There is an interesting-enough-to-read article about the game at:

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Farewell To Mary Kaye - Revolutionary Las Vegas Singer

Farewell To Mary Kaye
GroundBreaking Las Vegas Singer, Musician, Entertainer

Mary Kaye sang and played guitar at well known places such as The Sahara, The Tropicana, and the old Last Frontier.

The Mary Kaye Trio was revolutionary in bringing later night, and very early morning performances to the Las Vegas lounge scene. Casinos which at the time had crowds thin out early, remained more lively and packed through the night as a result of this entertainment change - 24 hour Las Vegas.

Thank you and farewell.

For more information on this breaking news item, you may wish to go to:

The Klondike - Las Vegas Hotel

Las Vegas Hotel The Klondike as it looked in its prime; before the lights went off, and the fence went up.

Las Vegas And The Defunct Klondike Hotel Welcome The NBA

The NBA and their fans are in Las Vegas this weekend for the All-Star game. Adidas is advertising heavily on taxis as well as entire sides of buildings. And the Klondike hotel which closed in June 2006 has taken life again (sort of) as a parking lot for vehicles with NBA permits.

The Klondike Hotel is just past the Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas sign, and has been closed for about 8 months. Since closing, it has mostly sat dark and fenced in.

The fence has been opened again this weekend so that the parking lot can be used for "NBA Authorized Access - Permit Required."

An odd sort of honor for The Klondike, as it sits long closed, and awaiting it's eventual and apparently delayed destruction.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Stardust Las Vegas - Lawrence & Gorme

On the big sign, Steve lawrence and Eydie Gorme were billed for closing out the main Stardust showroom; the one which had been called The Wayne Newton Theater, until Wayne left some time ago.

In the news, stories were run about how Lawrence and Gorme had the honor of closing out The Stardust. Indeed they performed there on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and then the Theater went dark.

But that Thursday, Friday and Saturday, was October 26th, 27th, and 28th. The final night of The Stardust was Halloween 31 October 2006. And on that night, and into the early hours of Wednesday 1 November 2006 a band called WonderBoogie played in The Stardust's Starlight Lounge.

Lawrence and Gorme closed out the Theater, but Wonderboogie got us all through the last night.

I will be posting about that last night, and Wonderboogie in forthcoming posts.

Stardust - A Few Weeks Ago

Stardust - No Sign No Color

As seen on Friday night 16 February 2007

It used to say STARDUST at the top of the building, and I suppose that in a way it still does; that is, one can still see where the letters were. Unlike The Castaways Hotel, the letters here, will not ride down with the building at implosion time.

Since the letters are gone, I figured the color may as well be gone too - so this is in black and white.

Stardust Duel

This shot reminds me of the movie Duel (Steven Spielberg 1971). It is the main entrance of The Stardust.

The area was dark and the shot was taken at 1/6 sec handheld. (1/8 was just too fast.)

The [STARDUST] sign at the top of the building is gone. The main doors can still be seen, though the roof which shielded the main door area is gone.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Boardwalk - Las Vegas, Nevada

It has been over a year since The Boardwalk has closed. The site has been razed and new construction is taking place (Project City Center).

This is a toast to the fun open style of The Boardwalk.

In the summer, they had water misters on the boardwalk. On Saturday nights, they had Purple Reign. And 24 hours a day they had a buffet (the only 24 hour buffet on The Strip).

Barbary Coast Casino Changing Name

The Barbary Coast Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, will change it's name to Bills Gamblin Hall and Saloon. This will occur on or a few days after 27 February 2007.

The Barbary Coast is located on the northeast corner of Flamingo and Las Vegas Boulevard. Diagonally across from The Barbary Coast is where Nicolas Cage sat on a bench while nuns handed out pamphlets, in the movie Leaving Las Vegas.

The Legendary Stardust Sign

On Thursday 15 February 2007 some of the letters of the famous Stardust sign, were removed. The sign is going to be relocated to The Neon Museum, and the letters coming down are part of that transition.

Although the sign is from 1965, the letters are from 1991. (In 1991 the current style of letters replaced Jetsonian lettering.)

The side of the sign, which is shown in the accompanying photo, is the south side. This is the side which was certainly photographed the most, as its position accompanied the front face of the main building.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Las Vegas Casino - Las Vegas Ghost

Las Vegas, Nevada (The Strip)

Valentine's Day - 14 February 2007

The Stardust looms like a ghost over The New Frontier Hotel & Casino. Windows all removed except for the far left column, where some remaining purple windows offer a glimpse of what the building looked like just a few months ago.

Boardwalk Las Vegas

A little more than a year ago, (January 2006) The Boardwalk Hotel & Casino was being stripped in preparation for it's implosion. The Boardwalk is gone now, but this photo shows how the south casino entrance looked on 28 January 2006.

The Stardust Hotel & Casino is vanishing more every single day. As of Valentines Day 2007 the ground buildings north of the main entrance are gone. The main tower and the older 9 story building are both gutted and windowless. Supposedly they will be imploded on 12 March 2007.

This is what got me thinking about The Boardwalk. I suppose that if I did things in a standard boring way, that the accompanying photo would be one which I took of The Stardust a few hours ago. Perhaps my next post will contain one of those.