The Neon Museum in Las Vegas, a location for revamped iconic signs, started providing Spanish-only tours this month.
The museum’s official director, Aaron Berger, told the Las Vegas Sun he embraces the addition. Tours are also accessible with English-speaking guides. Although interpreters have been there in the past, this month marks the first time the 45-minute rubberneck tours are rendered solely in Spanish.
“It really has been, from my perspective, a barrier and not welcoming all the participants who could be coming through the Neon Museum and have an opportunity to explore, learn and just have a good time in our facility.”
Out of 3 million Nevada residents, 29.2% are Latino or Hispanic, the Las Vegas Sun announced, citing 2020 Census data.
In Southern Nevada’s Clark County, the home for Las Vegas, the percentage is higher. Of 2.3 million Clark County residents, 31.6% are Latino or Hispanic. The national average is 18.5%, according to the US Census Bureau website.
The museum’s training supervisor, Matt Martelo, said the goal in offering Spanish-language guided tours is to share the wealth of information they have with as many people as possible.
Historic Glitter Gulch
The charitable museum opened in 1996 north of the downtown Las Vegas casino district. The on-site facility includes several classic hotel-casino signs that once rose above Glitter Gulch downtown and bordered both sides of the Strip south of the city limits.
Amid the downtown, signs are one from the Golden Nugget’s ancient days. The Golden Nugget’s heritage includes some owners whose names have been linked with the Las Vegas Valley’s casino antiquity.
One owner was the founder of the casino, Guy McAfee, a former Los Angeles vice-captain who launched the sports betting hall after World War II.
Another owner was Steve Wynn, a casino developer who started the megaresort boom in 1989 with the Mirage Hotel and Casino on the Strip opening.
The Golden Nugget is currently owned by a privately held Texas firm, Landry’s Inc, whose CEO, Tilman Fertitta, also owns the NBA’s Houston Rockets. MGM Resorts currently own the Mirage.
Mob Casinos on the Strip
In addition, the museum has several signs for famous Las Vegas Strip resorts that are no longer running. These include the Stardust and Riviera.
According to the book Las Vegas Babylon by reporter Jeff Burbank, the Riviera opened in April 1955 at $10 million. Constructed on the east side of the Strip, the Riviera was a Mob-associated casino whose regulators included well-known underworld figures, including Moe Dalitz and Gus Greenbaum. Some backdrops from the Godfather series were video-recorded at the Riviera. The resort was closed in 2015.
The Stardust was the Mob-guided resort at the center of New York reporter Nicholas Pileggi’s book, Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas. Based on the book, Pileggi and supervisor Martin Scorsese co-wrote the 1995 Las Vegas Mafia movie casino. The name Stardust was used in the book. In the movie, the name was changed to the Tangiers for legal reasons.
The $4.3 billion Resort World Las Vegas was constructed on the Strips west side. That is where the now-pulled-down Stardust was once located. Resorts World opened in June.
Gandolfini Father and Son
The movie, which launched simultaneously in theatres and on HBO Max, centers on the familiar series characters during their younger ages. It is set against a scene of late 1960s ethnic strife in Newark, New Jersey.
In the movie, 22-year-old Michael Gandolfini characterizes Tony Soprano in his younger age. Gandolfini’s father, James, acted as the adult Mob boss in the cable TV series which ended 14 years ago.