Memoir — From the December 2013 issue

Loving Las Vegas

What the prudes get wrong about Sin City

Download Pdf
MicroFiche

I pity people who’ve never been to Vegas. Who dismiss the city without setting foot on its carpeted sidewalks. I recognized myself in the town the first time I laid eyes on it, during a cross-country trip the summer after college. My friend Darren had a gig writing for Let’s Go, the student-produced series of travel guides. Let’s Go: USA, Let’s Go: Europe, Let’s Go: North Korea (they always lost a few freshmen updating that one). The previous year his beat had been New York City. We’d spent the summer eating 50¢ hot dogs at Gray’s Papaya for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and “researching” dive bars like Downtown Beirut and King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, which were beacons of pure, filthy truth in a city still years away from its Big Cleanup. This summer he was assigned the Southwest. The subways didn’t run that far out, but his roommate Dan had a car, a brown ’83 Toyota Tercel, and the idea was we’d hit the open road and split the writing duties and the money three ways.

This article is only available to magazine subscribers. If you are a subscriber, please sign in. If you aren't, please subscribe below and get access to the entire Harper's archive for only $34.99/year.

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Download Pdf
Single Page
Share

More from Colson Whitehead:

Readings From the July 2011 issue

Last Night

Fiction From the June 2009 issue

The great reboot

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $34.99

United States Canada

  • Cameron Tully

    Colson Whitehead’s playful and intelligent essay reminds us of the possibility of well-placed subordinatoin :”The magic formula of this oasis of mild, middle-aged debauchery — offer everything but the gambling cheaply, and if you gild it, they will come — was hit upon by Bugsy Siegel in the 1940s.” A humbling read for all writers!

THE CURRENT ISSUE

May 2014

50,000 Life Coaches Can’t Be Wrong

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Quinoa Quarrel

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

You Had to Be There

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Study in Sherlock

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content