Everything about Las Vegas is big. The city’s known as the wedding capital of the world, it’s entirely appropriate that 100 couples were married to make it an extra special occasion.
A land auction, held back on May 15, 1905, initiated a revolution that saw this desert valley transform itself the fastest American city and the home to almost two million inhabitants in just one century. This auction was re-enacted on May 15 on Fremont Street – the current home to the more old-style, less flashy casinos such as the Lady Luck and 4 Queens. In true Vegas style, a huge half-a-million dollar firework display was held over The Strip on New Year’s Eve.
This most flamboyant stretch of road brings in almost US$7 billion a year in gaming revenue alone. But there so much more to it than the casinos. If you haven’t seen any Joe Pesci mob movies, let me fill you in. Stretch limos weave there way through the traffic and neon is ubiquitous. The Strip is a mere five kilometres long but it is filled with lights, excitement and the dreams of an optimistic following.
For one thing, what other street can you walk down and visit Egypt, New York, Paris, Rome and Hollywood? Where else can you see Tom Jones, Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond – and a score of other classic institutions – in consecutive nights? And where else can you get into a lift and not raise an eyelid at the Elvis impersonator, the Wookie and the cocktail waitress in a bunny girl outfit standing next to you?
Text by James Moore