Las Vegas is a city with a warning for America. Empty suburbs, exposed ribs of unfinished mega-casinos, and a desert reclaiming lost territory for coyotes and barrel cacti. It’s a stark reminder of what threatens America’s other big cities. What happened in Vegas isn’t staying in Vegas.
Las Vegas used to be synonymous with hope. It is literally an oasis in the desert. It was a place dreams were made and fantasies came true. During the boom years, almost anything seemed possible. Two-hundred-and-forty-foot Bellagio fountains? Soaring Stratosphere hotel? Even the Eiffel Tower and the Great Pyramids? It’s got them all—to the soundtrack of coins crashing and neon lights flashing. It was paradise for the escapist.