Familiar landmarks are getting touched up, rebuilt…or ripped out completely.
“Girl, you’ve had some work done!” That’s a familiar phrase between lady-friends. The same could be said for structures along the Strip, where spring cleaning is well underway. The hard-hatted nip/tuck surgeons were out in full force this week…and along with plastic, they were going through plenty of paint, plaster, and concrete. It’s just like a Hollywood movie set (referring to the scenery, not the actors…well, maybe).
A short stroll from the Mirage to Bellagio revealed a continuous line of construction crews performing various manners of refreshing. Not all of it was cosmetic, though (sorry to say). Hence the inclusion of a “Lost Vegas” tag in the sidebar.
As soon as I turned south on Las Vegas Boulevard from Mirage’s Rhumbar entrance, it was obvious that something big…very big…was going on. A giant pylon had risen from the sidewalk in front of Caesars Forum Shops. While black and ominous in its current form, the bleak-looking structure is actually an electronic LED sign.
Sadly, it now stands in the place once occupied by a lovely fountain that I used to enjoy sitting near. The splashing always made the air in that spot much cooler on summer days and was a great spot to watch Caesars July 4th fireworks show one summer. The fountain was also a convenient meeting place when friends needed to re-group. Now, it’s gone, just like the fountains of Monte Carlo and Paris. #Progress…
Courtesy of Google Street View, before “the fall.”
The next day I strolled the same path and was intrigued to watch a few of the color tests. No doubt the sign will be in full operation very soon.
Continuing southward, the Trevi Fountain replica on the corner has been cordoned off and drained for maintenance. A worker assured me that the fountain itself is going nowhere and that the major task at hand is the installation of stamped concrete in the area.
Two blocks away, another fountain fronting Caesars Palace was getting TLC by way of paint and plaster. Unfortunately, some hateful graffiti remained…hopefully not for long.
Meanwhile, at the Roman Plaza, cherry-picker cranes were hoisting workers over the exterior of the Absinthe tent. They appeared to be sealing and painting over gaps in the vinyl covering, which sits atop a portable metal structure. The current, contemporary tent replaces a historic wood-and-glass Spiegeltent which collapsed during a rainstorm several years ago.
The most dramatic photos I took involved something completely unscheduled – repair to fire damage on the roof of Bellagio‘s shopping corridor. You may have seen news footage of the mini inferno, which was caused by a faulty light fixture on April the 14th.
I happened to be at the Rio during the conflagration, which shut down the same section of the Strip for the third time in recent weeks (an armed robbery and unrelated police stand-off were the others, both of which our Michele Di Palma told you about here).
As you might expect from a resort of this caliber, the Bellagio‘s facilities-management wizards quickly erected scaffolding and tarps on the exterior before repairs could begin in earnest. Appearance is everything in a five-star resort.
Inside, stanchions were erected along the staircase above chief editor Michael Movestro’s loathsome Starbucks. Bits of charred debris continued to tumble down along the exterior windowsills during the day, and workers frequently came inside to check for problems and safety issues.
Maintenance men were also checking for damage and debris in the water of Bellagio‘s famous 8.5-acre lake. Despite what could have been a tragic event above, the fountain shows appeared to be running on their regular schedule.
Inside, the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden was in full bloom with birds, flowers and the beautiful colors of a Japanese spring, a pleasant contrast to the stench of soot and ash not far away:
To the casual eye, pretty much everything was normal on the Strip during my stroll this week…and that’s to be expected. After all, Las Vegas is a city of fantasy and illusion. A little “spring cleaning” isn’t going to get in the way of that…
Photos: [Sammasseur, ABC-TV, Google Street View]