As a regular listener, I don’t think Marketplace is generally down on Las Vegas. But when American Public Media’s Kai Ryssdal introduced the Feb. 3 show (heard locally on KNPR) with, “First of all, yes, Las Vegas has a downtown,” I wanted to reach through my radio and give him a crisp whack with a craps mop. Dude, Vegas was born downtown.
Ryssdal also ventured into the Ogden to speak with Zappos’ Zach Ware, and set my blood boiling when, peering from Ware’s upper-level apartment window, stated, “The downtown Las Vegas urban space is pretty bleak,” after observing “a parking structure, and one-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight … vacant lots.” You come to Las Vegas to report on politics and end up with a property inventory? Thankfully, Zappos’ Ware responded to Ryssdal’s misguided application of conventional urban wisdom by redirecting him to a very Vegas concept: Our vacant lots (many of which may have been desert since before Ryssdal was born) don’t scream sadness; they whisper opportunity.
Add two tired reports about home foreclosures (Ryssdal: “This being Las Vegas, there is no grass to be brown.” Sigh …) and one on the diversification of our tourism industry (Dining! Shopping! Clubbing!), about the only semi-bright spot was local entrepreneur Noberto Madrigal’s Lunas Construction—a segment unsurprisingly produced by locals at KNPR.
The Marketplace folks seemingly knew what they wanted to say before they arrived, something I find unfortunate given that I (and several other longtime Las Vegans) spent time with a reporter for this series, offering some balanced and positive perspectives.
Maryland Parkway, Revisited
After my recent discussion about the University District, native Brian “Paco” Alvarez brought to my attention that the vacant Carl’s Jr. building at Harmon Avenue and Maryland Parkway was acquired by the University Board of Regents, and is currently being rehabbed for use by the Art Department as studio and gallery space. Nice.