It ain’t your father’s Las Vegas, baby.
The city known worldwide for gambling, its history with the Mob and behavior you’d rather not tell your mama about is rebranding itself with an eye toward the future — one that includes mostly Millennials.
Researchers have learned that this generation, so named because they came of age around 2000, are Las Vegas’ new and future customers, and they don’t care to be cooped up in smoke-filled rooms with slot machines, poker tables, no clocks and nary a hint of daylight.
These Millennials want casual gathering places where they can enjoy creative mixed drinks (think fresh blackberry mojitos), craft beers, board games, pool, foosball and good music. Throw into the mix some novel cuisine from local, sustainable farms and an environment friendly to high-tech.
And don’t forget the Wi-Fi so that what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas.
That’s what The Park is all about — an oasis among the madness, you might say. An alternative to sleeping ‘til 2 p.m. A bit of paradise where there once was a parking lot. (Boomers will understand that reference, and they are welcome to enjoy The Park, too.)
A formerly empty property situated between the New York-New York and Monte Carlo hotels, the space was transformed by 200 full-sized trees (75 are rescues), two 100-foot water walls that create a cooling microclimate, 16 multi-ton steel sculptures that create shade, and the extensive variety of drought-tolerant landscaping. The icing on the cake: Bliss Dance, the 60-foot-high feminine figure that looks over The Park and its visitors.
Taken together, it’s a place you want to be.
All of this lies within steps of the new $370-million T-Mobile Arena and Toshiba Plaza, where big-name acts are booked through the year.
The venues’ proximity to The Park and surrounding restaurants means visitors can park their car or walk from their hotel, grab some eats, then stroll over to a concert.
Future acts at the arena include Billy Joel, Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks, Guns N’ Roses, Janet Jackson and George Strait.
The convenience means more fun and less hassle — a formula that appeals not just to Millennials but those of all ages.
The Park was an obvious hit even before the official ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier this month.
In the hours before the opening, visitors were already congregating — populating the tables, benches, low walls and adjacent restaurants.
This is just what the park’s creators had in mind. The elements of the space are meant to draw discourse and pause.
Landscape designers employed materials that are part of Nevada’s topography, like the 1,000 tons of multi-hued, meta-quartzite used to build the planters that double as seating. The quartzite came from a quarry about 30 miles south of the city, and its subtle color striations — rust, gold, burgundy and plum — are meant to be reminiscent of the hues found in the Mojave Desert.
The shade structures, sometimes referenced as “tulips” (I think they look more like lilies), are not only impressive but highly functional. And once the sun goes down, The Park is transformed.
With the help of thousands of LED bulbs and other illumination, the water wall shimmers, the six-story Bliss Dance sculpture glistens, and the shade sculptures become a fantasy of color and light.
In many ways, say promoters, The Park “represents a return to the land for a city whose development history has traditionally stood in stark contrast to its native ecology.”
E’Louise Ondash is a freelance writer living in North County. Tell her about your travels at email@example.com
E’Louise Ondash is a veteran, award-winning journalist who was an investigative reporter, feature writer and columnist for the Times Advocate and the North County Times. She has written travel features for The Coast News since 2003.