On Wednesday, the city of Las Vegas approved an agreement with the operators of the Strat Hotel to build a pedestrian viewing deck for the Gateway Arches landmark on the eastern side of Las Vegas Boulevard. The $200K platform — to be built in a parking lot across from the hotel owned by the Strat’s parent company — is expected to open shortly before New Year’s Eve.
The 80-foot-tall Gateway Arches opened in 2020 at the base of the Strat Hotel, between St. Louis and Bob Stupak avenues. They were designed by Selbert Perkins and constructed by YESCO at a cost to the city of Las Vegas of $6.5 million. Deep blue by day, they light up in various colors at night. More than 13,000 programmable LED lights are said to be involved.
Unfortunately, to snap the perfect iconic selfie with the arches, thousands of tourists have so far proven their total willingness to get run over by a car. That’s because the most desirable viewing angle for the arches lies directly underneath the intersection of their 140-foot-long legs, smack in the middle of always-heavy Strip traffic.
On the plus side, two years is a lot sooner than the 49 years it took Clark County to realize that a viewing platform at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign at the Strip’s southern entrance was preferable to having people Frogger across a highway to get to the median where that landmark was installed.
Though it will not provide the perfect viewing angle of the arches, the Gateway Arches viewing platform will provide the perfect viewing angle from the perspective of the Strat’s marketing department. That’s because the hotel’s famous tower will occupy the background of all photos of the arches taken from the platform.
Two addresses were provided for the platform by the city, 2121 and 2045 South Las Vegas Boulevard. This error was astutely pointed out by Casino.org’s own inimitable “Vital Vegas” blogger Scott Roeben. (“Sorry, we can’t help with that one,” Roeben wrote. “We suspect there were lawyers involved.”)
According to the Los Angeles Times, the idea for the arches was hatched after a truck hit and destroyed a Welcome to Fabulous Downtown Las Vegas sign in 2016. City officials saw this as an opportunity to think about a more unique way to mark the entrance to downtown than an utter rip-off — down to the design and lettering — of the more famous Strip sign. (Surely, downtown is more than just a less-famous knockoff of the Strip!)
The Gateway Arches is what they came up with. But the arches have another problem — though a far less dangerous one than tourists running into traffic to photograph them.
As a promotional tool for downtown, it doesn’t really work. Though the arches were built as the entrance to downtown from the Strip — which is why a 7-ton “City of Las Vegas” emblem dangles from them — most tourists think of them as the northern entrance to the Strip. That’s because the same “City of Las Vegas” emblem greets tourists headed in both directions, and most tourists have no idea that the Strip lies wholly outside the city.
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