Friday, 15 May 2015

Day 3 – Thursday 16th April

Consumerism lies at the heart of the American way of life, especially the outlet mall which is the epitome of American shopping, but to me it felt worn and sad. Once the pride of America, malls have become vintage, and based upon experiences in malls in England such as West Quay in Southampton, it seems as if other places are simply better at being ‘American’. Many instead now choose to shop online, or in places such as Town Square. Town Square couldn’t have been more different from the outlet mall if it tried. Everything about it felt fake, although in reality it is somewhere people actually go, the very name of the place itself oozing a sense of community. Town Square didn’t feel American to me, there was an odd European charm to the place, yet I felt like I’d landed on the set for The Stepford Wives.
(A photo by Alasdair Spark, showing the AstroTurf park in Town Square)
Each of the casinos along “The Strip” all compete to draw in anyone with a dime to their name. They all boast something different, from the entertainment of New York New York, to the more upmarket and classy MGM. Venturing into NYNY felt like an assault on the senses. There was so much going on, from the rollercoaster, to the many food stands, and all the shops selling a fabricated New York experience. The cliental seemed younger here compared to other hotels, perhaps due to the emphasis of entertainment over gambling. The Excalibur couldn’t have been more different in comparison, with the medieval theme feeling a bit past-it. It almost went a bit too far into the ‘novelty’ category, making it look a bit lost in the glory of The Strip. It felt much emptier, forgotten and overshadowed by all the much more exciting casinos on The Strip. But in each of the hotels, there is a sure feeling that there is so much more to do than just the casino, and that gambling is just a small portion of what is on offer. This changing nature of entertainment in Las Vegas keeps guests coming back for more, and keeps it always current and relevant in contemporary America.
(Right: The outside of New York New York, showing many iconic sights of New York City.
Left: A themed souvenir shop in New York New York playing on the iconic I Love New York brand.)
Freemont Street felt a lot more like the Vegas I had initially expected. Here, it felt like the rule book had been chucked out the window, and that anything goes. So many things surprised me here, from the relaxed attitude to nudity on the street, the sheer volume of smokers in the casinos, and how the dealers and tellers were all pretty young women, whereas on Las Vegas Boulevard they were all trusty old men. Freemont Street has all the makings of a cultural hub, a multi-cultural place with people from all walks of life gathering here to let their hair down. Is Freemont Street old Vegas? Or perhaps, is Freemont Street a poor man’s Vegas? One thing seems very certain to me though, here  everything is designed to make you feel like you’re in Vegas, while only spending a fraction of the cost.

(A 'Welcome to Fabulous Downtown Las Vegas' sign at Freemont Street, playing off the iconic imagery of the 'Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas' sign on Las Vegas Boulevard)
(Large neon signs at Freemont Street, showing how bright and bold the area was, although to me this felt a lot tackier than Las Vegas Boulevard.)


No comments:

Post a Comment