Fremont Street, the original tourist strip in the world’s greatest tourist city, is an almost forgotten fragment of history in a town habitually hostile to remnants of the past, where landmarks are more like to be imploded than preserved. Crowded from view by the billion dollar pleasuredomes on the Strip a mile away, the motels on Fremont Street teem with wrenching pathos, eye-popping weirdness, and unexpected contentment.
Decades ago, the quintessentially 1950’s-style neon signs of the El Cortez, the Pair-a-Dice, the Desert Moon and other motels beckoned vacationers and gamblers. Now, the motels shelter a strange mixture of drug dealers, crack whores, born again Christians, freaks and outcasts of all sorts – along with a surprising number of ordinary families. These are people who, like Fremont Street, have been largely forgotten, falling from sight amid Las Vegas’ unprecedented boom years – in much the same way that the poor and marginal have fallen from sight everywhere in America.
- Vince Beiser