The Plaza Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas has scheduled a fireworks show each night from July 2-4 to celebrate Independence Day and the resort’s 50th anniversary.
The Plaza is slated to launch the fireworks from different locations on the resort’s towers and rooftops. The 955-room Plaza is on Main Street. It was built at site of the now-demolished Union Pacific Railroad Depot. When the hotel-casino first opened July 2, 1971, it was known as the Union Plaza.
Earlier in May, the Nevada Preservation Foundation awarded the Plaza a bronze plaque designating buildings that are at least 40 years old. The Plaza is the first commercial building awarded a plaque, according to the foundation.
Also in May, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman presented the resort with a city proclamation recognizing its historical significance. She noted the Plaza was built on the site of the 1905 land auction that marked the city’s beginning.
Oscar Goodman, a former Las Vegas mayor and Mob attorney, said he once thought of the Plaza as being on its last leg, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Goodman is the current mayor’s husband.
“I said if they didn’t clean the place up, I’d get one of my old clients and we’d arson it,” the former mayor said. “It was horrible; it really was. You’d walk in and expect to see a body strewn somewhere. I think there was dried blood on the carpet back then.”
Goodman’s remark reflected his view of the property in 2005, when he was about in the middle of a 12-year term as mayor, according to the newspaper.
“There was a time that everybody said downtown was crime-ridden and homeless-ridden. The perception became the reality,” he said. “Now the homeless are being taken care of. They’re not on the streets the way they were with the Greyhound station closed. Downtown is probably one of the safest places in the valley now.”
These days, the former mayor appears at a periodic speakers event in Oscar’s Steakhouse on the Plaza’s second floor. Though Goodman doesn’t own the restaurant, it is named after him in a licensing agreement.
Many of the stories he conveys at the dinner series center on some of the Mob clients he has represented, including Tony “The Ant” Spilotro. Spilotro was the Chicago Outfit’s overseer in Las Vegas during the 1970s and into the ’80s.
Goodman appeared as himself in the 1995 Las Vegas Mafia movie Casino, based on that era.
Plaza CEO Jonathan Jossel told the newspaper discussions are underway to build additional Oscar’s Steakhouses in New York, Japan, or the United Kingdom.
New Billion-Dollar Casinos
Jossel said Las Vegas is “constantly changing and evolving,” he told the Las Vegas Sun.
As an example, he cited construction of the Circa Resort, an adults-only hotel-casino that opened last year. The 777-room Circa is at the corner of Fremont and Main streets, across from the Plaza. It is the first hotel-casino built from the ground up in downtown Las Vegas in 40 years.
Even just five years ago, people would have laughed at the prediction of a billion-dollar resort being downtown,” he said, referring to Circa.
South of downtown on the Strip, the $4.3 billion Resorts World Las Vegas is slated to open June 24. The Strip is outside Las Vegas city limits.
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