C’est Las Vegas

To cut to the chase: The Stardust hotel tower came down on schedule last night–2:35 a.m. PDT by my watch. The demolition crew did its job well and the 32 stories of concrete and steel folded into itself and plunged to the desert floor. The blasts startled and deafened; the collapse roared; the ground shook when all that mass slammed into the ground. And the throng, such as it was–a smattering of Stardust fans and former employees scattered among a sparse, subdued crowd that had wandered up the Strip for the night’s best free show–scurried toward the bright lights nearby to get away from a roiling cloud of concrete dust that enveloped the neighborhood. In the quick exodus, I actually heard one person say, “It’s like 9/11.”


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7 Replies to “C’est Las Vegas”

  1. I’m crying. No I’m not. But if I had worked there, I proably would be. Implosions make me sentimental.
    Interesting they do it in the middle of the night there. I wonder if it’s because it’s a 24 hour town, or if there’s some environmental type reason. The two I attended (one in Springfield, and the other in Chicago) were both right at or after daybreak on Sunday mornings.

  2. The timing was interesting. Some of these things have happened early in the evening; and the people putting them on used to do some wild and crazy stuff to make it more exciting: on a couple of occasions, drums of jet fuel were placed in strategic locations to create an extra added (and scary and smoky) dimension to the spectacle. When the Jetsonian Landmark Hotel met its fate, fireworks were set off at the base and the implosion was set up so that the tower would split before it collapsed; that was all to provide footage for “Mars Attacks.”
    I know intellectually that people feel sentimental about these events. I guess there’s some symbolic power to watching your former workplace get reduced to rubble in five seconds; on the other hand, I’m not feeling it: That building (as I noted elsewhere) is all of 16 years old. What’s the diff, except to provide the rubes with a show as long as the job must be done anyway? Which brings us back to the timing: It’s apparent that some in Las Vegas are now thinking about liability and public health concerns that wouldn’t have occurred to them even a decade ago. So the event is made pretty unfriendly in terms of the hour of the day it’s held and the conditions for spectators–people were kept a good way off.

  3. Would love to see one, particularly at night. Wonder why they do that, though. Seems daylight would be better and less expensive for the cleanup.

  4. Weird picture. It is vaguely the way it looked in our neighborhood (in Brooklyn) on 9/11, the people milling around. Those people shouldn’t be breathing that dust. Difference is the day/night thing.

  5. John: In watching the videos of early implosions, I noted the presence of big-ass dust clouds. I meant to get a dust mask, but didn’t before I went out to the scene. About half an hour before the implosion, though, this woman came up the street hawking dust masks–the real cheap kind, but better (I think) than nothing. So I got one–for two bucks. I was also mindful of the wind direction; although it was nearly calm, I got on the downwind side. After the building came down, the cloud came rushing across the 200 yards or so between me and the building. I stayed and watched (and taped–I had my little camera with me and took a video I’ll try to post somewhere) until it was about 50 yards away, then started walking with the crowd. People were congratulating me on having a dust mask. One of the odd things was that there was a very distinct edge to the cloud; after five minutes or so, I was out of it, though if I stopped it would catch me; after 10 minutes, I was completely in the clear, though you could see a thick haze looking north on The Strip. The pictures I saw from the following morning made it look like the area was a total mess. That dust was on everything. A token version of what you experienced.

  6. That “walking out” of the cloud was like walking through a wall. Very strange. Careful of those dust masks too. They don’t give much protection.

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