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Turn back the clock: 1994

Discussion in 'Misc. Vegas Chat' started by ClownHo, Apr 6, 2014.

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  1. ClownHo

    ClownHo High-Roller

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    My first trip to Vegas, including a visit to downtown one afternoon, was in January 1997.

    I never saw downtown when there was traffic on Fremont Street between LV Blvd. and the Plaza. Many of you have.

    I can imagine what it was like when streets abutted the casinos and cars actually parked along the curb in front of the Golden Nugget.

    Nonetheless, it has been 20 years since that portion of Fremont was closed to traffic for installation of the canopy and the creation of the pedestrian mall we know today. Any of you Vegas veterans care to share memories of what it was like navigating downtown prior to 1994? Was it as crowded as the sidewalk in front of the Flamingo is on a busy day? Was jaywalking to reach a casino on the other side of the street the norm? Anybody hustling timeshares on the streets of Fremont in 1991?
     
  2. azpokerkid

    azpokerkid Tourist

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    I turned 21 in October 1991 and always stayed DT for the first 3-4 years I went to Las Vegas. (And I went a lot back then)

    I remember playing in the WSOP in the valet area at Binions, drinking green beer and watching the St Patricks day parade on Freemont Street, and just the general old Las Vegas feel. I'm going to Las Vegas in 5 days with my wife and 3 others couples. I haven't been downtown in probably 15 years. I'm hoping it's as fun as it use to be for me.
     
  3. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    I've killed so many brain cells since then, but as I recall...
    Cars parked on both sides of Fremont
    Not really that busy on the sidewalks
    Jay walking common
    No porn slappers or timeshare types.
    1974-2000 I was still a Strip person who made an attempt to get downtown at least once per trip. 2000+ we became "downtown people"
     
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  4. bubbakitty

    bubbakitty native Texan; born and bred.

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    Imagine no t-shirt shops nor kiosks or costumes schlepping around you. And stars at night beyond the glow of the casino lights.....and the Mint sign racing along trying to catch itself....it was very different. I recall "needy" appearing persons (usually / mostly male) being present but not accosting anyone. Just there. And not sure about 1994, but the walk over to El Co or Western was not as well looked upon as today.....and certainly not after dark. You need to pay attention to those things around you as time goes by....in 20 years people will ask what was around the Linq area prior to it coming....and "there was ANOTHER O'Sheas?"....time waits for no one.
     
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  5. topcard

    topcard Older than the Stardust!

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    It was different, to be sure! In may ways, there was more energy back then... it was 100% about the gambling and everyone along Fremont was trying to lure you in... no kiosks or characters...frequent & routine jaywalking.
    Visually? I found it much more appealing than than the FSE show & canopy... but I do prefer the pedestrian mall set-up over the old days.
     
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  6. Bazzito52

    Bazzito52 Low-Roller

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    My first trip to Las Vegas was in 1978, so I remember driving on Fremont Street very well, as well as the way things were downtown then.

    Driving on Fremont Street could be dangerous at night. The bright neon of the casinos would make the traffic lights difficult to see, so you really had to be alert driving downtown.

    And yes, jaywalking was commonplace - but illegal. I recall trying to step across the street from The Horseshoe to The Fremont and feeling the hand of a police officer on my shoulder pulling me back. "We don't allow jaywalking here, son," was his admonition to me as we both looked over to the guy on his other side who was drinking from an open tequila bottle. No comment to that law-abiding citizen!

    There were at least two pawn shops right on Fremont between LVC and The Mint as well as a restaurant, Cosmo's Underground, that you'd walk down a flight of steps to enter. It was dark, quiet, and the Italian food was really great. After dinner you'd walk up the stairs and out the door and find yourself right back in the thick of the hustle and bustle.

    The Pioneer Club's Vegas Vic was in full operation and every 15 minutes of so you'd hear "Howdy, Pardner! Welcome to Las Vegas!" as he waved his arm to the throng. AND the Pioneer had a $.50 crap table right on the sidewalk! Somehow, I seem to recall the cocktail waitress reaching into a barrel full of ice to fetch cold beers there. I think that I do, but can't be sure. They did that somewhere downtow, I know.

    Want to place a sports bet or a bet on a race? You'd have to leave Fremont and go to one of the sports books (LeRoy's and the Santa Anita, as I recall) located on the side streets. Races, games and the various lines were posted on chalkboards and marker boards that would be updated by a small army of men who were contantly writing and erasing. Multiple big-screen T.V.s? Not so much. The calls would be broadcast to the bettors sitting around at desks. If you've seen "The Sting," then you'd immediately recognize the scene - except the Vegas books weren't nearly as stylish.

    And you'd also have to go inside to get a drink. The bars were inside the casinos and alcohol wasn't hawked on the street like it is today. :drunk:
     
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  7. Iceicecool

    Iceicecool Low-Roller

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    In the late 1980's as a child living in vegas, my parents would frequently drive us up and down Fremont St. just for fun and to show us the lights. About all I remember was the large number of homeless people everywhere, usually passed out along the sidewalk. With as many neon lights as there were, I always remember it feeling very dark and dangerous in that area.
     
  8. ajonate

    ajonate Low-Roller

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    I started coming to Las Vegas in the early 1970s. It's hard to believe now, but Fremont was a 4 lane road.

    There were light periods just for pedestrians. At Fremont & Casino Center there were caddy-corner crosswalks, where you could walk from the SE corner to the NW corner directly. All car traffic stopped during the pedestrian period.

    The intersection of Fremont & Casino Center was also largely brick, which is visible in this Crime Story intro clip.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7U2rXyjZTI

    Cool beans! I gambled in the Pioneer, Coin Castle, and The Mint. The Pioneer (where Vegas Vic stands) is a gift shop, the Coin Castle is La Bayou, and The Mint became part of Binion's.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
  9. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    On my first trip to Vegas, we drove out to the Landmark and down Fremont Street just before both of those opportunities disappeared.

    I don't recall much about FS, but I do recall thinking "I am not getting out of the car!" :) It was sketchy looking. A couple years later we went back downtown after the canopy was installed and loved it, but I wasn't ready to slum it on my first trip. :haha:
     
  10. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    1994

    [YOUTUBE]77Wsfi3fB70[/YOUTUBE]
     
  11. ClownHo

    ClownHo High-Roller

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    It wouldn't surprise me to find no souvenir shops along Fremont in 1994. It's pretty obvious some of the shops that are there today could easily be small, repurposed casinos. During my inaugural trip downtown in 1997, after a full day of seeing strip casinos and two nights staying at MGM, I was surprised to find a small casino that just offered machines. I am pretty sure I was in La Bayou before it was La Bayou. There was a woman working inside the casino who was basically trying to sell me on playing a certain machine, as if she knew it was ready to pay. It felt like a carnival barker trying to get me to play a game. I was obviously surprised by this, as I'd never encountered anything like it in a casino. This fool didn't part with his money, at least not there.

    Although Fremont was a pedestrian mall, we were there on a Saturday afternoon and it wasn't very busy. I can't remember if there were any kiosks on the mall then, but if there were, I'm guessing just a few. It didn't have much of a vibe during the daytime back then, as we all know. I'd love to see a picture of what it looked like back then.

    I'm not surprised there were pawn shops on Fremont back then. I am surprised to learn that once upon a time casinos didn't have sports books.

    I had never seen a caddy-corner crosswalk until a couple of weeks ago when I was in San Antonio.

    I remember that short walk from LV Blvd. to El Cortez years ago. I made it during the day. I didn't feel unsafe, but I also didn't want to make eye contact with anyone I happened to cross paths with, either. Mostly the street was full of empty storefronts.

    It always amazes me how much money lines the pockets of the thousands walking about on Fremont St. at any given time, yet you can go a half-block off Fremont St. and find real estate that is just standing there empty. I'd wonder how that could happen, but Neonopolis has shown that no matter how hard you try, you just can't manufacture demand for retail downtown, unless you put it in stacked containers. :rolleyes2:
     
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