No fireworks? No problem.
Hundreds of Riviera fans, insomniacs or people who just enjoy the sight and sound of a big building being brought down gathered around the Riviera on Tuesday morning to give it a send-off into history.
“I’ve never seen anything like this so I’m glad I came out for it,” said Thomas Snyder, a Seattle resident who came to visit friends and family the day after the June 24 Monaco implosion, then learned of Tuesday’s implosion and flew in especially for it.
His hosts, Kevin and Cynthia McLaughlin of Henderson, had never seen a Las Vegas implosion live either so they decided to witness history on a calm morning when the temperature was hovering at 89 degrees.
Snyder was struck by how quickly the building dropped once the charges went off. He said he missed the implosion of the Kingdome in his home city in March 2000.
“I have to fly out later today, but it was definitely worth coming and seeing this, even though it only lasted a few seconds,” he said.
The Riviera’s 17-story Monte Carlo tower as well as the Strip-facing low-rise facade holding the casino floor were reduced to rubble in 15 seconds in a carefully planned implosion just after 2:30 a.m.
The remains of the last buildings of the Riviera campus will be shoveled up and removed in the next few months to give the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority new ground for outdoor exhibits that are part of some major trade shows on the horizon.
All along, it’s been the LVCVA’s goal to take over the land from demolition contractor W.A. Richardson Builders LLC by the end of the year so that the 26 acres can be prepared to hold exhibits for the monster ConExpo-Con/Agg construction equipment trade show March 7-11.
The project began with some traditional wrecking-ball demolition leading up to June 14’s implosion of the 24-story Monaco tower.
The LVCVA turned that implosion into a spectacle, complete with speeches by dignitaries, a countdown to the destruction and a fireworks display prior to implosion.
Tuesday morning, there was none of that.
While spectators gathered in the streets around the last tower standing, about 35 videographers, photographers and other journalists gathered at the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Gold Lot adjacent to the Riviera campus to chronicle Southern Nevada’s 22nd implosion of a high-rise structure or parking garage.
LVCVA officials had warned that the buildings to be destroyed would not be illuminated — but they were — and that the implosion was scheduled for 2 a.m.
The start time was moved back to 2:30 and on the dot, there were three large blasts followed by the collapse of the Monte Carlo tower upon itself and the coordinated downing of columns from west to east of the main facade, away from Las Vegas Boulevard.
Once the buildings were down, there was an eerie silence punctuated by the sound of car horns linked to their car alarms honking all over the neighborhood.
The dust cloud from the implosion billowed upward, then drifted southeast, engulfing the Gold Lot media area within a couple of minutes of the initial blast.
Traffic leaving the area was tied up briefly because of the numerous street closures around the Riviera for the implosion.
Contact Richard N. Velotta at email@example.com or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta