Tuesday, February 20, 2007

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.]

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