Cleaning up after America’s Party on the Las Vegas Strip

Updated January 1, 2018 - 7:40 pm

As thousands of revelers in Las Vegas celebrated the new year on the Strip, they took with them pictures and memories but left behind much more:

Trash.

An expected 330,000 people’s worth of trash. Estimates were not available Monday, but the cleanup to ring in 2017 gathered more than 12 tons of garbage.

It took an army of street sweepers to clean up Las Vegas Boulevard after thousands rang in the new year, but that left sidewalks and pedestrian bridges littered with plastic cups, party hats and countless other items.

Armed with her broom, dust pan and a garbage can on wheels, 48-year-old Luisa Escondido spent her first day of 2018 weaving through drunken partiers and gathering up debris.

“This is the first year I did this,” she said, wrangling a few plastic cups into her dust pan. “Next year I take the day off, have fun and someone else cleans up after me.”

Escondido didn’t get to go to America’s Party this year, but she said she had fun. As a group of men walked by, laughing and stumbling, one of them fumbled and dropped a bag full of marijuana. He panicked as Escondido pretended to sweep it up.

“Next time, don’t drop it,” she said, laughing as the man stuffed the bag into his pocket and jogged to catch up to his friends.

By 4 a.m. Monday most revelers were starting to head in. Outside the CVS near Harmon Avenue, women in flip flops or bare feet bare carried their heels and tip-toed through the trash. Other people kicked their way through it.

“There’s definitely more than normal,” said Roberto Acuna, another sweeper. “There’s the normal garbage and there’s the hats, there’s the cups, there’s the weird stuff.”

“Weird stuff,” according to Acuna, includes shreds of clothing, women’s shoes, half of a flip phone and a wallet. He also missed out on the celebration, but he said he’d rather come later for work than deal with the crowd.

Crime and misdemeanors

While the street sweepers went to work, the Metropolitan Police Department was busy with cleanup of its own.

According to Metro, officers made eight misdemeanor arrests and issued nine citations on the Strip overnight, along with three misdemeanor arrests and one citation on Fremont Street.

Dispatch logs show police responded to more than 100 calls on the Strip between midnight and 6 a.m. and 31 calls on the Strip between 10 p.m. and midnight, including three assaults, two fights and one animal complaint.

The Las Vegas Fire Department also stayed busy, with three brush fires and three tree fires between 10 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., spokesman Tim Szymanski said. Fire officials handled five minor medical calls and took three gunshot victims to hospitals.

Two of those people died, marking the 168th and 169th homicides Metro investigated in 2017, not including the victims of Oct. 1. In total, the killings wrapped up a violent year in Clark County, where police in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson investigated 261 homicides, including the victims of the Route 91 harvest festival shooting and deadly police encounters.

The Review-Journal previously reported Metro had tied its 2016 record for homicide investigations Saturday, but the Clark County coroner’s office recently ruled a death investigated by police as a homicide to be natural.

Taking the temperature

Las Vegas broke another record in 2017. The year proved the warmest in Las Vegas’ recorded history, averaging 72.3 degrees — just over the average of 72 in 2014 — the national weather service reported.

The weather service said 2017 also marked the first time McCarran International Airport never reached 32 degrees or colder.

But with the new year came new life. It appears the first baby of 2018 was born at 1:14 a.m. at Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Gretchen Papez said. The baby and its family was unavailable to comment Monday.

Acuna, the street sweeper, said he’s looking forward to the birth of his first child this year. She’s due in April, but he and his girlfriend can’t agree on a name.

Escondido said she’s been ready for the new year for a long time.

“Last year was bad, bad, bad for everyone, everywhere,” she said. “This year we’re gonna do better.”

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter. Contact Max Michor at mmichor@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter.

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