Um, did we miss something here? Weren’t “the aughts” supposed to be the decade of returning to our ring-a-ding-ding roots? Frank and Sammy and all that? Seems a lot like lip service when we entered the decade with the Stardust and Frontier signs intact and we left it with them, or pieces of them, anyway, in the Boneyard. If you happen to be looking the wrong way as you pass the Flamingo, you can drive down the Strip today and see hardly any iconic neon at all. The only significant new neon markers on the street are the red letters “ph” high atop the new Planet Hollywood Westgate tower. They’ve become a sort of beacon as you look across the Valley, a sad reminder of the bright glow that put us on the map, and of what happens when “Old Vegas” is good enough for a marketing campaign but not good enough to preserve.
It’s time for the Strip to take a page out of downtown’s playbook (when’s the last time that happened?) and decorate itself with neon—old neon, new neon, it really doesn’t matter at this point. Just get creative and appreciate that there was a time when we were the best in the world at something, and that maybe we should get back to the business of greatness.