Plaza Podcast Sheds Light on Fremont Street History and Glorious Drama

The latest installment of Plaza’s “On the Corner of Main Street” podcast is full of all the things you love in a Las Vegas podcast: History, inside scoop and ample amounts of us being a smartass.

That’s right, it’s our second time as a guest on the show, and after diving headlong into all the latest Las Vegas news, we bask in the glow of some spectacular awkwardness.

Plaza podcast

It’s not really a corner, but we’re letting is slide because they had us on the show again.

Plaza’s podcast has become a must-listen, and features the casino’s CEO, Jonathan Jossel, as well as Plaza staffers Lisa Melmed and Gary Vickery.

The juicy center of episode 40 is a frank discussion about the history of the relationship between Plaza and its neighbor, Fremont Street Experience (where we used to work in digital marketing).

A heated debate on Twitter about the impact of the Fremont Street Experience light show canopy and SlotZilla zipline inspired an exploration into the evolution of downtown and who allegedly did what to whom and when.

Shakira light show Vegas

How could this 16,433,152 pixel beauty cause so much controversy? Listen to the podcast.

Did the Fremont Street Experience canopy ruin the views of Glitter Gulch (not the former strip club, the original meaning) or save downtown from a slow, painful demise? Maybe both?

Would downtown be better off without the Viva Vision screen and zipline? Would there even be a downtown Las Vegas without the video screen and zipline?

Was the SlotZilla zipline landing platform a slap at Plaza due to tensions related to a lawsuit between Fremont Street Experience and Plaza, or is its design based upon engineering constraints?

Why did it take years for the zipline landing platform to be enhanced visually, and was the installation of a video screen a magnanimous gesture or a concession at a time when Fremont Street Experience was looking for City funding for its digital display upgrade? (The Oscar on Plaza’s Oscar’s Steakhouse refers to Oscar Goodman, former mayor of Las Vegas. His wife, Carolyn Goodman, is the current mayor.)

That SlotZilla structure might be small in size, but it’s been the source of a big kerfuffle.

All these dots and more are connected on the podcast, and we’d recommend a listen despite our participation.

Especially interesting are Jonathan Jossel’s insights into what Fremont Street might have been.

At one time, it was proposed Fremont Street would be a waterway. No kidding, the plan would’ve involved 22-foot-wide canals, gondolas, the whole nine yards. The name: “Las Venice.” Read more.

There was also a plan to have a parade in the sky, with floats running along tracks high above Fremont Street.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because Rio ended up with a similar attraction. Rio’s “Masquerade Show in the Sky” closed March 30, 2013.

Show in the Sky

This was going to be a Fremont Street thing for a minute.

We only recently learned the half-barrel shape of the Viva Vision canopy was the result of plans related to the parade in the sky, which was nixed after construction began. It’s not ideal for a video display. The Fremont Street Experience parking garage was actually built to be the storage, maintenance and take-off point for the overhead floats. Who knew?

You can listen to the Plaza’s podcast on the casino’s Web site, or try the embedded thingy below.

If you’ve never heard the podcast before, you’re missing out and have a lot of catching up to do.

3 thoughts on “Plaza Podcast Sheds Light on Fremont Street History and Glorious Drama

  1. Charles in Richmond, VA

    Way back when the Fremont Street Experience had just opened, I and an employee were in town for a trade show. I decided we’d take a cab to downtown to see it. I’m not sure I’d even been to downtown prior to that. Anyway, we got in the cab and the driver asked us where we wanted to go. I said, We want to go see the Fremont Street Experience. He sarcastically replied, Oh, something to tell your grand kids about.  Well, I think my grand kids (7 & 10) would like it.

  2. project design

    Big canal named “Las Venise”<~~~that's why I love Las Vegas!
    I feel "if you have a major credit card" and you get arrested in Las Vegas as a tourist for a minor offence, they should offer you upgraded accommodations….a special jail (a pharmacy for hangovers), high speed internet before bail comes in, and a free pass to the Mob Museum (all for a price)!

  3. Rich

    Is any view guaranteed?? The Plaza (and/or Oscar’s) should have purchased an easement that protected the view.


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