We’ve reported on our concerns when it comes to Downtown. Now, it’s the neighborhood’s movers and shakers’ turn. In our new guest column series, Talking Downtown, bar owners, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders vent their frustrations, champion successes and muse on improvements. Interested in writing a guest column? Email us.
Have you ever heard a Las Vegan, native or transplant, remark “Las Vegas is a small town”? Well, in Downtown Las Vegas, it’s not just a small town—it’s more like a big high school.
Walking these streets reminds me of roaming the halls at Western High School. I see the cool kids, the privileged and the poor. I see the squares, the poets, the hustlers and I see the unseen, forgotten souls who blend into the urban blight. A few of the chums from my own high school are currently operating their businesses right here in the same Downtown neighborhood as I am—and that fact makes me exuberant.
Look! There is Rose crossing the street on her way to cure a hangover with breakfast at Casa Don Juan. There is Dennis, our favorite mailman—ahem!—letter-carrier, with a jolly smile and a wave. His skin is blistered red, his hair is icy white and his uniform is postal blue. I see there goes Figler as always, and there is Bondi strolling about seemingly without a care while certainly on his way to somewhere.
Here is a parade of individuals jogging to and from their respective crossfit and boxing gyms. Couples of all ages, sizes and colors are holding hands while walking along Main Street, peeking into boutique windows. In this area of Downtown, it’s become far more difficult to identify the tourists from the locals based on sight. Take a walk around the 18b on any given Saturday and try to count how many photo shoots you will happen upon in the streets and alleyways. Around every corner there’s a young female model wearing some haute couture, posturing against a graffiti mural backdrop or a rapper talking into a handheld camera. Over on Las Vegas Boulevard there’s a line of people from far, far away desperate to get inside the most famous pawn shop in the world.
Pedestrians, bicycles and motorists coexist, mostly respectful of one another, within the neighborhoods of downtown Las Vegas. However, I steer clear of Charleston if and whenever possible. It’s like a vicious torrent of torrid road rage from thousands of automobiles merely passing through this community every day without so much as a care for our otherwise quiet little town.
Slow down and take a look around. Go for a walk through our small town.