A Simpler, Soberer . . . Las Vegas?!

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

With a skewed, vertigo-inducing photo taken at the top of a Strip roller-coaster at the head of their piece, Julie Hjerl Hansen and Thomas Hebsgaard of the Danish commentary weekly Information recently presented an interesting profile of the recession travails of Sin City itself: Las Vegas, Nevada (An Amusement Park in Decline). Their lede here provides a good summary, here it is:

A bad hand. Las Vegas is used to pulling through even when the rest of the USA is in crisis. But it’s not like that anymore. The financial crisis has hit the casinos, while the housing market has collapsed – and these days Las Vegas is the city in the USA where the most people are put out on the street.

It’s easy to see why Hansen and Hebsgaard chose Las Vegas specifically for their “US metropolis in economic crisis” feature. Predominating above all must have been the way that city exerts a certain fascination upon most foreigners, in that it is literally impossible for them to find an analogue to it in their own countries (no matter where they may be from – the gambling paradise of Macao, off the southern coast of China, probably comes the closest), and therefore to easily understand the place. Like an unconquered peak to a mountaineer, Vegas must represent to the ambitious journalist the same sort of challenge, defying one to ever come to grips with it, to ever master what really makes the place tick. (more…)

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