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Frontier latest to implode

Nov 20, 2007 4:05 AM

They blew up the venerable New Frontier hotel and casino in Las Vegas last week. With festivities, fireworks and 1,000 pounds of artfully arranged explosives, the 16-story tower keeled over sideways, and the 1942 landmark, Vegas’ first "theme" casino and the site of Elvis’ debut in town, was a field of rubble.

It will be replaced by a multibillion-dollar casino and resort.

At least four luxury megahotels and casinos are to open nearby, most of them on sites where earlier hotels and casinos had been blown up.

Implosions of unneeded or unwanted buildings are a regular occurrence in American life and most especially in Las Vegas. There are Web sites devoted to the explosive demolition of its famed casinos: Aladdin, Dunes, Sands, Landmark, Hacienda, Boardwalk, Castaways, El Rancho, Stardust (last March) and now New Frontier.

They were replaced by complexes that are bigger, more garish, more over the top — meaning they, too, in time are likely to be replaced by something more excessive. In the process, we seem to have created a new American form of folk art: the casino implosion.