On my December trip I stayed at New York New York. That gave me a good opportunity to explore MGM's latest invention....The Park. The Park is located between New York New York and Monte Carlo. No. Not the Atlantic Ocean. It stretches from The Strip to T-Mobile Arena. After reading the marketing buildup on The Park, I was curious to find out if The Park lived up to its Hype. Here's an interactive Map of The Park. https://www.theparkvegas.com/en/about.html#Interactive Map. When I say 'Hype', I'm not kidding. For example, here's what the MGM Web Site says about The Park "Welcome to the Neighborhood. Explore The Park, an immersive outdoor dining and entertainment district, and discover an unrivaled sports and entertainment venue, T-Mobile Arena. Throughout the world, beautiful and engaging public spaces have become a trademark of the finest cities and Las Vegas is no exception. MGM Resorts has re-imagined the traditional pedestrian experience by creating a dynamic destination located just off the famed Las Vegas Strip. Whether you’re looking for a spot to gather with friends or to grab a quick bite before an epic show, The Park and T-Mobile Arena offer something for everyone. Discover the energy and excitement of Las Vegas’ newest must-see neighborhood. An eclectic blend of restaurants, bars and entertainment tucked into rich desert landscaping" The 20000 Seat T-Mobile Arena as seen from our room on the 56th floor of the Chrysler Building Ice Rink set up in front of T-Mobile Arena. Also note the "looming, massive, flower-like shade structures". MGM claims these are "artistic inclusions designed by a New York architecture firm and fabricated in the Netherlands, looming over the area at 55 to 75 feet tall." Soooo. To summarize: The park is actually a 'Neighborhood.' And it's "Immersive" and an 'eclectic blend' of restaurants and has an 'unrivaled venue". It's "beautiful", "engaging" and has been "re-imagined". It's a "Dynamic destination"....and full of "energy" and "excitement". In addition to T-Mobile the $100 Million "Park Theater" at Monte Carlo opened during our stay as a second major entertainment venue. It sits right there on Park Avenue. Park Theater Minions working on Cher Of course, MGM minces no words in Hyping the Park Theater. "The stunning 5,200 seat Park Theater will redefine entertainment in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, providing artists an intimate space to create one-of-a-kind performances for guests to feel up close and personal. Park Theater is outfitted with a cutting-edge projection video wall providing an immersive experience for concert goers. The flexible venue can also transform to host award shows, events and can function as a convention space." Wave to the Park Theater Minions! And finally there are displays of public art. Bliss Dance Bliss Dance Daytime Nudity The Park is anchored by "Bliss Dance". Here's what MGM has to say about that: "Bliss Dance is a breathtaking, 40-foot-tall sculpture of a dancing woman, celebrating the strength of a woman who is both safe and present. The structure and scale of Bliss Dance was inspired by artist Marco Cochrane's first experience at Burning Man, an annual arts and culture event in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, where Bliss Dance later debuted. Most recently, Bliss Dance resided on San Francisco's Treasure Island as a public display before being refurbished and returned to the desert as a centerpiece of The Park's natural landscaping and Nevada-inspired design." The Las Vegas Review Journal interviewed Cochrane and reported that "In creating the tower-of-power “Bliss Dance,” artist Marco Cochrane aims to remind viewers to look beyond the nude body and see the humanity within. He also wondered whether it would be possible to sculpt a nude female figure where the nudity “didn’t come across as the main element,” one where “the expression of self was stronger than the nudity.” http://www.reviewjournal.com/the-strip/t-mobile-arena/bliss-dance-artist-marco-cochrane-reminds-viewers-see-humanity-within Let's put this in perspective. The goal was to put a 40 foot nude woman statue in the center of drunken slobs, hockey fans and sex workers....in the home city of the annual Pornography Awards...And to not have that massive nude woman statue objectified as a nude woman. Good luck with that. Park People Finally, I was intrigued with the description of a temporary art installation...Park People. "LEGO bricks will come to life at The Park on October 14 for a one-of-a-kind art installation constructed by renowned artist Nathan Sawaya. Visitors to The Park, MGM Resorts International’s newly opened outdoor dining and entertainment district on the Las Vegas Strip, are invited to discover Sawaya’s new installation PARK PEOPLE featuring large-scale monochromatic human figures crafted entirely from LEGO bricks and situated curiously on elegant wooden benches. Strategically placed throughout The Park, the nine brightly colored sculptures are all taking their individual respites, allowing guests to sidle up next to these “secret keepers” and bare their souls, or take selfies with their new LEGO friends." I always wanted to ‘sidle up’ to a LEGO ‘secret keeper’. 1:30 AM Friday December 16, 2016. My Gambling Buddy Robin and I had been at Times Square in New York New York for an hour observing the Dueling Pianos and drunk Dueling Pianos observers. Robin had one of those $50 My Vegas Awards and we were playing Video Poker. That allowed me to indulge in many Bombay Sapphire Martinis and our Bartender helped 'Spread the Wealth Around' with free drinks to select people around the bar. We then grabbed a beer and a quick bite at the Reverse Happy Hour at Tom's Urban Restaurant…Right there at NY NY. I was feeling no pain. Robin headed up to the room while I was headed on a mission. I wanted to see each of those Park People. I wanted to experience The Neighborhood at night. I imagined it would be a Vibrant, Pulsating richly rewarding experience where I could mingle with enlightened tourists and savvy artistic locals. As I approached the exit to the Park, I had a proposition from a nice young woman named Moeshia. She suggested she had 'magic hands' and would like to go up to my room and give me a massage. I asked her directly: "Are you a hooker, Moeisha?” "No, I am a sex worker" she responded. What great fortune. This could be a big winner in my annual photography contest with Robin. "I'll give you $5.00 if you let me take your picture while you're flipping me off" I suggested. "I'll [insert slang for oral sex here] for $200." was her counter offer. We were pretty far apart in our negotiation. Where Is Everybody? (Twilight Zone Season 1 Episode 1) "The barrier of loneliness: The palpable, desperate need of the human animal to be with his fellow man. Up there, up there in the vastness of space, in the void that is sky, up there is an enemy known as isolation. It sits there in the stars waiting, waiting with the patience of eons, forever waiting ... in The Twilight Zone. " I stumbled out the door into the heart of The Park. To my surprise, there was no one there. No one. Not a drunk tourist. No security. No revelers or beggars or cleanup crews or sex workers...No one. How very strange. And yet as I began to stroll The Park, I realized I was not alone. THEY were there in all their Glory. The 9 Park People were calling me. This was truly art I could appreciate. I asked each to don my Lucky Hat and say a few words for this very blog. And they did. And so now I give you my very own art installation. I call it: Park People and what they told AlanLeroy Bliss Dance Nighttime Nudity Conclusion The purpose of this expose was to see if The Park lived up to The Hype. Unfortunately, nothing ever does. I even doubt that Moeisha has ‘Magic Hands’. So what is it…REALLY? It’s a pedestrian mall with 4 restaurants (Beerhaus, California Pizza Kitchen, Bruxie and Sake Rok), a 20,000 seat arena, a 5000 seat theater and some outdoor art and nicely landscaped open space. It reminds me of a mall in Fresno….but without the arena or theater. It’s not the Champs-Élysées. But it’s got to be a lot better than what was there before it…because I don’t even remember anything there before it. Free Parking maybe? If we’re going to do a fair comparison, we need look no further than the other pedestrian mall that was built at great cost between two casinos on the strip---The LINQ. The LINQ has 30 retail and restaurant establishments AND the World’s Largest Ferris Wheel. It cost about $550 Million. The Park has that Arena and Theater and a lot more space. It cost about $550 Million too. Honestly I think The Park has more potential, but neither will pencil out as half a billion dollar investments. Sadly my favorite part of the Park (Park People) have now left for greener pastures….but I believe they’re still trying to communicate with us all…you just need to listen.