37 Things For An Unapologetically Judgmental New Yorker To Hate About Las Vegas

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Steven Thrasher
No. 13: There are actually LINES to PAWN YOUR SHIT
The Voice just returned from a trip to Las Vegas. While we enjoyed the UNITY 2012 and NLGJA conferences, we were disturbed by the "city" itself. Here are 37 reasons why we hated it, presented in no particular order, except that No. 37 is the most insidious.

1. The architecture of confusion reigns supreme, so that you never have any sense of direction, time, or space

2. Carrot Top

3. There is more than one Hard Rock Cafe

4. There's a pyramid with THREE different Starbucks inside of it

5. There is little difference between the strip and the airport, but the airport is better. (While both have slot machines and trap people inside a closed system, the airport has better, cheaper and healthier food options.)

6. Vegas is the only city in America to make brute, Darwinian capitalism look more out of control than it is in New York. (Wall Street usually takes your money far more discretely than The House.)

7. Vegas is devoted to American car culture and it is nearly impossible to walk outside. Yet inside, ironically, you must walk more in a day just trying to get from your hotel room to a convention center conference room than even the most hardcore New Yorker could have ever dreamt possible.

8. The New York, New York Casino interior doesn't look like New York City, but rather like the Times Square Vegasification of New York City (as re-imagined in Las Vegas). #verisimilitude

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Steven Thrasher
No. 8: New York, New York, it's a helluva casino!
9. Hotel guests refer to The Shining multiple times a day

10. There are 31 flavors of Cirque Du Soleil, all peddling the same shit with a different soundtrack. (This secretly makes you worry that maybe New York and Vegas aren't so different!)

11. The Luxor's Bodies and Titanic exhibits make you worry that the South Street Seaport could overrun all of NYC. (This really makes you worry that New York and Vegas aren't so different.)

12. A 10 minute cab ride from the airport to a hotel on the strip (see No. 5, there's little difference between the two, but the journey must be made) costs almost $30

13. There are actually LINES for people to PAWN THEIR SHIT. (After they have lost everything else, people can go to a 24-hour pawnshop to lose even more.)

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Steven Thrasher
No. 13: Just when you think you've lost it all, rest assured that Vegas can take more

14. There is something called "The Fremont Street Experience"

15. It seems as if there is a law banning any benches in public spaces. Feet hurt? Need to sit down for a moment? You can only sit in front of a slot machine. Now give us your money.

16. There is a restaurant where people over 350 lbs can eat for free

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Steven Thrasher
No. 16: At the Heart Attack Cafe, there is a scale to see who gets in for free and an ambulance standing by

17. People roam around Vegas in tribal packs, exuding testosterone or estrogen like prowling animals in heat

18. It's like depression has a zip code (89119)

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Steven Thrasher
No. 19: Don't those giant pools look refreshing from up high? Wait 'til you get on deck

19. The pools, like everything else, are a mirage. You are charged an additional $10 "daily resort fee" to use them on top of your room rate. But, they look so big and inviting outside your hotel room window from 30 floors up, you forget the fee and run gladly to the mirage for relief. But when you go out to the pool, it's well over 100 degrees and your flesh starts to burn right off of your corpse body. It is then you realize that the best parts of the pool have been blocked off and you need to pay $70 to use them. As for the "free" area (which you've paid $10 to use) there is not one square inch of shade. This has been carefully orchestrated by a sadomasochistic landscape architect to grab you by the short hairs, so that you'll be so boiling hot, you'll actually consider renting a poolside cabana for $250.

20. Who do they book to sign autographs? Pete Rose.

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Steven Thrasher
No. 20: Pete Rose has found someone to bet on paying for his autograph

21. People can actually smoke inside

22. You are forced to walk through the worst malls of America just to get to your bed

23. It's the convention capital of the world, but what responsible person would book a convention there? If you're trying to gather a group of people for a purpose, why would you so do in a place where they are endlessly distracted from actually attending your event?

24. You can't tell the gay guys from the straight guys, because almost any guy who would travel to Vegas willingly becomes equally shitfaced and tacky within an hour of arrival

25. It costs over $20 to print out a six page MS Word file at a hotel

26. At the Mandalay Bay, there is a pair of giant, alabaster tits coming out of a wall that are molested many times a day in exactly the same way by tourists. People actually lick the nipples for Facebook photos to send to the folks back home, even though they're sucked on by more mouths than the Octomom's.

27. There is something called the House of Blues. (And finding that making people exit through the gift shop isn't an obvious enough tactic to take your money, they make people enter through and wait in the gift shop for 10 minutes to get a table, even when dozens are clearly available.)

28. The decimation of the Native American people is on full display, as Native American women on the strip pass out cards with pictures of blonde women strip shows to hordes of horny men

29. It's in some ways sadly like that other loud Nevada party town - Black Rock City

30. It's nothing like that other loud Nevada party town - Black Rock City

31. Hotel staff treat you like a criminal every second you're not gambling

32. When you realize an entire "city's" "economy" is based on this madness, it makes sense why it spent 22 straight months as the metro area with the highest rate of home foreclosure

33. The most aggressive alpha male frat bro types don't wander around in flip-flops to mark their territory - they wander around in bare feet!

34. There are few places in America as beautiful for viewing a sunset as the Nevada desert...but this view is ruined in Vegas by things like a light column so bright, it can be seen from outer space

35. Once inside the Casino Industrial Complex, there are endless "restaurants," each offering the same food options which all taste terrible, deliver little nutrition, and cost a fortune

36. There is something called the State Farm All-White Freedom Friday Party (which, ironically, is only attended by black people) advertised between something called The Hoodie Awards and something called Tyler Perry's For Better of Worse Beach Party.

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Steven Thrasher
No. 36: All...white...freedom?

37. The architecture is so hideous, Daniel Liebskind's complex actually fits in contextually.

37. When you start seriously considering that Vegas is a city which takes your money outright, and New York is a city that just takes your money when your landlord assaults you, evicts you for not paying back a predatory loan you never received, and throws you in jail for trying to close your Citibank account, you realize the towns are more alike than you'd like to admit. (See No.'s 10 & 11.)


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You can follow staff writer Steven Thrasher on twitter (@steven_thrasher) or reach him by email (sthrasher@villagevoice.com).



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12 comments
pc3450
pc3450

Add this to your list:  Las Vegas has the most ignorant people I have every encounter - and I've lived and visted most of the largest cities in the world.  I moved here from NYC and regret it every day - rarely do you run into a person that has an IQ of over 70!  No kiddng.  I think every doctor here graduated last in their class.  Ignorant is a nice word - honestly, people here  are plain stupid.  Forget ever having an intellectual conversation with anyone here!

lafemmefidele2010
lafemmefidele2010

I LOVE YOU! I HATE LAS VEGAS TOO! WOW! I'M NOT ALONE WHEN IT COMES TO HAVING SENSE!

ebilbray
ebilbray

Now as a native Las Vegan I will be the first to admit that we have more then our share of problems.  However, this blog shows a real laziness on the part of the journalist.  It showed zero investigation of the city of Las Vegas and its almost two million residents.

 

Two years ago, my husband and two daughters went to visit family in NYC.  I was excited to show my daughters the vibrant New York that I had fallen in love with as a young woman.  But not long after we arrived, my eight year old scrunched-up her nose, announcing, “this place is dirty, and it smells.”    My husband and I laughed because to a little girl from suburban Las Vegas, it was dirty, and it did smell.   HOWEVER, we then took her to everything that showcased the positive of NYC.  We went to museums, galleries, central park, and the Statue of Liberty.  My daughters now see the wonder that New York has to offer, not just the negative.

 

So let’s talk about your comments.

 

1. The architecture – Did you take the time to go downtown?  We just opened up The Smith Center, our premiere performing art theatre.  I just had dinner recently with a NYC resident who was preforming in the road production of Memphis.  He said it was one of the most beautiful theatres he has seen…ever.  Oh, and yes not far down the road is a little thing called the Hoover Dam, a classic example of Art Deco architecture.  These are just two obvious examples.  

2. Carrot Top – I have seen him at my local supermarket where he seems like a pretty nice person.  He also shows up from time to time to watch his nephew practice on our local swim team.  The kids love him.  Sorry you don’t.  But I don’t like Andrew Dice Clay, so we are even.

3. Who cares about the Hard Rock Café?   We have some great restaurants, with world-class menus all over the strip.  And off the strip too.

4. There are hundreds of Starbucks all over New York, including 171 in Manhattan alone.  LaGuardia airport may only have one Starbucks, but JFK has three too.  If you don’t like Starbucks, why don’t try any one of a number of independent coffee houses located all over Las Vegas, such as The Beat downtown, Samba Latte in Boca Park, or Chocolate & Spice on West Sahara.

5. Our airport is a lot better then JFK or LaGuardia

6. Are you really going to compare “The House” to Wall Street?  People know the odds when they gamble and most do it for fun.  Wall Street deceived middle America, and ALL OF US are paying the price.

7. I think it is a pretty easy walk down the strip.  But yes, like most western cities, we do have a car culture. 

8. Have you talked to the USPS?   They used the artwork from the New York, New York hotel for the NYC postage stamp a few years ago. 

9. The Shining took place in a remote old-fashioned hotel…on a mountain-top.  Don’t see the comparison.

10. Did you actually see a Cirque show? They are beautiful.

11. I have not seen either exhibit. Did you?

12. Rent a car.   It does not cost a lot, and parking is free everywhere in Las Vegas, unlike in New York, where you could pay $50 a day to park, or more!

13. People are lined up because they want to be on the TV show Pawn Star.

14. The Fremont Street Experience is kind of fun…corny, but fun.  Did you actually go?

15. There are lots of benches in public parks off the strip.

16. It's called a gimmick

17. Do you think that is different in any other city?  Humans are pack animals.

18. See # 6.  Las Vegas has been hit very hard.  Thank you Wall Street. But notice, how I don’t let Wall Street define NYC.

19. I can’t stand the hidden fees that hotels now pass on.  But do you seriously think that is exclusive to Las Vegas?  But on the other hand, how much did you pay for your room.

20. I am sure NYC has seen book signings from those more notorious then Pete   Rose

21. You got me there.  I don’t like smoking either.

22. In New York you are forced to walk by street vendor after street vendor.

23. We are the convention capitol of the world because most people like to visit Las Vegas.

24. I cannot tell who is gay or straight anymore either. I think that is called being middle age.

25. See #12.  Kinkos is a five-minute car ride.

26. If your 26th point is accurate, then that is gross. I cannot explain tourists.  But I’ve seen worse in the New York subway.

27. I have seen some great shows at “House of Blues.”  I never cared about the gift shop.

28. Our local, elected officials have tried to ban this for decades.  But the Supreme Court overruled them, citing the first amendment’s freedom of speech protections.  I would think a journalist from the Village Voice would understand.

29. Keep in mind, Black Rock City (i.e., the home of the Burning Man Festival) is a good ten hours away. It is like comparing NYC to a seaside in Maine. 

30. See point #29.

31. See point #26.

32. Yes, we do need to diversify our economy.  But our issues with the economy are a lot more complicated than being a one-industry town. 

33. I would not even try to defend this point.  Alpha males act like fools everywhere.

34. You said you did not leave the Strip?  I see beautiful sunsets all the time.  

35. Las Vegas has great restaurants. It is a known fact.  It’s true they can be expensive, but that’s generally true in NYC as well…have you read any of the restaurant reviews in the Voice lately?

36. I don’t know anything about this group, but it looks like a minority organization that is trying to build confidence.

37. You are repeating yourself.  Go to point #1.

38. In Nevada, local hometown girl, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto was one of the most aggressive AG’s in the United States to fight the banks during this foreclosure crisis.

 

I will be back in NYC with my family in a few months.  Perhaps we can grab coffee so you can see a real-live, normal, Las Vegas woman, not the caricature of my community you have created.  And it doesn’t even have to be at Starbucks, if that’s your preference.

 

Sincerely,

 

Erin Bilbray-Kohn

 

 

ebilbray
ebilbray

Now as a native Las Vegan I will be the first to admit that we have more then our share of problems.  However, this blog shows a real laziness on the part of the journalist.  It showed zero investigation of the city of Las Vegas and its almost two million residents.

 

Two years ago, my husband and two daughters went to visit family in NYC.  I was excited to show my daughters the vibrant New York that I had fallen in love with as a young woman.  But not long after we arrived, my eight year old scrunched-up her nose, announcing, “this place is dirty, and it smells.”    My husband and I laughed because to a little girl from suburban Las Vegas, it was dirty, and it did smell.   HOWEVER, we then took her to everything that showcased the positive of NYC.  We went to museums, galleries, central park, and the Statue of Liberty.  My daughters now see the wonder that New York has to offer, not just the negative.

 

So let’s talk about your comments.

 

The architecture – Did you take the time to go downtown?  We just opened up The Smith Center, our premiere performing art theatre.  I just had dinner recently with a NYC resident who was preforming in the road production of Memphis.  He said it was one of the most beautiful theatres he has seen…ever.  Oh, and yes not far down the road is a little thing called the Hoover Dam, a classic example of Art Deco architecture.  These are just two obvious examples.  Carrot Top – I have seen him at my local supermarket where he seems like a pretty nice person.  He also shows up from time to time to watch his nephew practice on our local swim team.  The kids love him.  Sorry you don’t.  But I don’t like Andrew Dice Clay, so we are even. Who cares about the Hard Rock Café?   We have some great restaurants, with world-class menus all over the strip.  And off the strip too.There are hundreds of Starbucks all over New York, including 171 in Manhattan alone.  LaGuardia airport may only have one Starbucks, but JFK has three too.  If you don’t like Starbucks, why don’t try any one of a number of independent coffee houses located all over Las Vegas, such as The Beat downtown, Samba Latte in Boca Park, or Chocolate & Spice on West Sahara.Our airport is a lot better then JFK or LaGuardia You really are going to compare “The House” to Wall Street?  People know the odds when they gamble and most do it for fun.  Wall Street deceived middle America, and ALL OF US are paying the price.I think it is a pretty easy walk down the strip.  But yes, like most western cities, we do have a car culture.  Have you talked to the USPS?   They used the artwork from the New York, New York hotel for the NYC postage stamp a few years ago.  The Shining took place in a remote old-fashioned hotel…on a mountain-top.  Don’t see the comparison.

10.  Did you actually see a Cirque show? They are beautiful.

11.   I have not seen either exhibit. Did you?

12.  Rent a car.   It does not cost a lot, and parking is free everywhere in Las Vegas, unlike in New York, where you could pay $50 a day to park, or more!

13.   People are lined up because they want to be on the TV show Pawn Star. 14.   The Fremont Street Experience is kind of fun…corny, but fun.  Did you actually go?

15. There are lots of benches in public parks off the strip.

16.  Its called a gimmick

17.   Do you think that is different in any other city?  Humans are pack animals. 18.   See # 6.  Las Vegas has been hit very hard.  Thank you Wall Street. But notice, how I don’t let Wall Street define NYC.19.   I can’t stand the hidden fees that hotels now pass on.  But do you seriously think that is exclusive to Las Vegas?  But on the other hand, how much did you pay for your room.

20. I am sure NYC has seen book signings from those more notorious then Pete   Rose

21. You got me there.  I don’t like smoking either.

22.  In New York you are forced to walk by street vendor after street vendor.

23.  We are the convention capitol of the world because most people like to visit Las Vegas.

24.  I cannot tell who is gay or straight anymore either. I think that is called being middle age.

25.   See #12.  Kinkos is a five-minute car ride.

26.  If your 26th point is accurate, then that is gross. I cannot explain tourists.  But I’ve seen worse in the New York subway.

27.  I have seen some great shows at “House of Blues.”  I never cared about the gift shop.

28.  Our local elected officials have tried to ban this for decades.  But the Supreme Court overruled them, citing the first amendment’s freedom of speech protections.  I would think a journalist from the Village Voice would understand.

29.   Keep in mind; Black Rock City (i.e., the home of the Burning Man Festival) is a good ten hours away. It is like comparing NYC to a seaside in Maine.  30.   See point #29.31.   See point #26.

32.  Yes, we do need to diversify our economy.  But our issues with the economy are a lot more complicated than being a one-industry town. 

33.   I would not even try to defend this point.  Alpha males act like fools everywhere.34.   You said you did not leave the Strip?  I see beautiful sunsets all the time.  35.   Las Vegas has great restaurants. It is a known fact.  It’s true they can be expensive, but that’s generally true in NYC as well…have you read any of the restaurant reviews in the Voice lately?

36.  I don’t know anything about this group, but it looks like a minority organization that is trying to build confidence.

37. You are repeating yourself.  Go to point #1.

38.  In Nevada, local hometown girl, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto was one of the most aggressive AG’s in the United States to fight the banks during this foreclosure crisis.

 

I will be back in NYC with my family in a few months.  Perhaps we can grab coffee so you can see a real-live, normal, Las Vegas woman, not the caricature of my community you have created.  And it doesn’t even have to be at Starbucks, if that’s your preference.

 

Sincerely,

 

Erin Bilbray-Kohn

 

 

theranthrope
theranthrope

Dear Village Voice, can I make a list of all the things I've heard that other people say they hate about New York City, despite the fact that I've never actually been there, but still get paid for it? PLEEEEAAAASE?

jamespreza
jamespreza

As a native of Las Vegas, i've heard the hate and criticisms for decades. So when someone pointed me here (probably trying to piss me off), I was pleasantly surprised to find the same old cliched and lazy Vegas criticisms repackaged in a not so new way. But, hey, at least you recognized that LV and NYC are very similar shark tanks. I'll give you credit for that one.

dotinga
dotinga

From one NLGJAer to another:  The reason there's a huge line at the pawn shop is because it's the star of the top-rated TV show "Pawn Stars." Also: the Hoodie Awards honor African-American community leaders. (The State Farm All-White Freedom Friday Party is part of that. They wear white.) ... I learned this because I actually bothered to ask.  And the airport shuttle is about $7, so you can avoid the cab. The other stuff: well, yeah. 

OriginalGardenr
OriginalGardenr

You have to work pretty hard to be this negative about any vacation, but especially one in Vegas. Seriously, you must have blinders on if this is your view. I've lived here for over a decade, so am understandably insulted at your depiction of my adopted hometown, even if yours is a distorted view of the strip only.  Vegas is awesome- I have loved being able to grow veggies all year long in a climate that is free of snow and ice (haha yankee sucker!), living literally a mile from an enormous variety of entertainment (surprise, not just carrot top!), concerts from every musical and comedic artist, free parking and valet at every venue, and restaurants from every top chef in the world -and not just on the strip- Raku is probably the best Japanese restaurant in the U.S., according to Zagat (and me) and Lotus of Siam is in a strip mall next to the Green Door and a lovely gay bathhouse and is an incredible Thai restaurant that you would never know about because you are too busy walking around the strip looking for a bench.  Vegas is a hard-scrabble town full of hard-scrabble people, but you shouldn't be scared to leave the strip sweetheart. We are invigorating downtown, creating the next Silicon Valley, and making the Silver State into the Solar State, so next time you want to take a piss on a bunch of people who already get the short end of the shrift -re: recent articles on Nevada's status as 50th in education, Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, the robo-signing foreclosure scandal in NV, yadda yadda yadda- feel your inner Monte Python and try and look on the bright side of life. Dedicating this much thought to this "beef". How about something freaking REAL?  There are real beefs to be had!

brendan.macwade
brendan.macwade

Mr. Thrasher must be some really, really jaded New Yorker. Vegas is a playground, and you get treated well even if you don't gamble (like me). Also, did he not notice the number of restaurants there that have sibling locations that are difficult to get into here in the Apple? Vegas has a Serendipity III with a take out window. They have Sushi Samba, Dos Caminos, a China Grill, and a Mesa Grill (that last one is difficult to get into 17 years after opening in NYC, but in Vegas, you can get a table easy and it's almost precisely the same menu). I love Vegas. After 17 years in this town, a city that shamelessly makes you have fun has to be a good thing. The fact that it will be out of fresh water in 5 years is another problem.

Vegas
Vegas

That wasn't Vegas you saw. Next time, peel the citified scum off your eyes, squeeze some tiny drip of journalistic courage out of your tiny balls and venture beyond cynical castoff knee-jerks masquerading as writing. There's a real city beyond the "city" you saw.

sevenfoot
sevenfoot

Mr Thrasher hit it right on the head. I grew up in So California but I have lived in Vegas for over 20 years. This city is completely and utterly devoid of any culture NOT based on taking all your money. I have said it a million times, "Las Vegas should have a guy at the airport to meet you as you exit the plane that kicks you in the balls and when you bend over in agony he takes your wallet, spins you around a cpl of times and puts you back on the plane."

theranthrope
theranthrope

sevenfoot. Cool story bro. It must have been so terribly difficult for you "living" in Vegas as seeing you've not once left the safe confines of the Strip. Though, that's probably for the best, or actually, even better yet, just stay in California, TOURIST.

 

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