Time is undefeated and it will move on. Nothing stays the same, sadly. Another icon of Las Vegas has been the neon. Hard to imagine Downtown Las Vegas or the Strip without neon. Nowadays, the “neon” is actually a gigantic LED TV screen. It looks sharp and can be updated with a few keyboard entries and a click of a mouse. Neon itself is a dying art and there is not much of it left. If you take a walk down the Fremont Street Experience, you will find several old neon signs still up, even though they have nothing to do with the business below or within the building.
You can still see the famous “Vegas Vic” the neon cowboy but his sidekick (companion?) Vegas Vickie was removed back in June 2017 as well as the Las Vegas Club sign to make room for the renovations coming to Fremont Street. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, she is supposed to be restored and put back up for all to see in another location, but no one seems to know where.
This past Monday, 6-27-16, marked another passing in Las Vegas. Not the funeral type, but the passing of another mainstay in Downtown Las Vegas. This date was the last day of operation for Mermaids Casino, Glitter Gulch and La Bayou. The trio were purchased by Derek Stevens, co-owner of The D Las Vegas and Golden Gate Hotel and Casino. He plans to renovate them but is quiet on what that will be.
What I will miss about these two casinos is that they are a throwback to when Downtown casinos were just that, casinos. I know that was many years ago, but many years ago, a trip to Sin City meant staying at one of the surrounding motels and going to the casinos to gamble. Eventually most evolved to becoming hotel and casinos properties, but not Mermaids and La Bayou. The latter was also the only all coin slot machine casino left. Remember the days of the slot girls walking around with their apron full of rolls of quarters and dollars? Looking back, that must have been punishing work.
From a gastro point of view, I will miss the deep fried twinkies and oreos, even though I only had them once, as I always thought “I get one on the next trip”.
It must have been nostalgic in the hours before closing and really wish I could have been there to take part in it.
When you love Las Vegas as much as I do, you might get nostalgic when you hear of icons and landmarks from Sin City’s past being removed. Today, the Riviera Hotel and Casino was imploded. In case you didn’t know, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority bought the property to expand the convention center.
Seeing these old school properties that made Las Vegas what it is today, get moved out is way of life in the 9th island, but the memories will always be there. Casinos such as this one, the Sands, Desert Inn, Flamingo and Tropicana can only have your imagination reeling back to a different era of this city. Only the Flamingo and Tropicana remain today.
A few years ago, I was talking with a couple from California at a blackjack table at the Golden Nugget . They were telling me how it was in the late 60’s when they would hang out at the Desert Inn pool and hear pages over the hotel loudspeaker for Don Rickles, Dean Martin etc. I was waaay to young to have enjoyed Las Vegas at that time, but I wish I could have enjoyed a part of it.