introduction
Riding the Deuce
One late November afternoon, while on our first research trip to Las Vegas,
Karen and I decided to take the
Deuce.*
This is the double- decker bus that
plies the Strip from Mandalay Bay to the Stratosphere, then on to the remote
Fremont Street area. The Deuce offers the Vegas novice—such as ourselves—
a great mobile counterpoint to the paper maps of the Strip that first- time
tourists tear out of the free guide and coupon books available at many of
the Strip’s attractions. Given the particular spatial arrangement of the Las
Vegas Strip—a dense urban artery that appears to be wholly divorced from
a grid—the Deuce provides end- to- end continuity and articulates the indi-
vidual megahotel- casinos like a series of spinal vertebrae. Indeed, the Strip is
very like a tremendous spinal cord—all neural transmitters bereft of anything
that can be considered a brain.
Little did we know on that fateful first day of our research that our project
on Vegas would span a decade. We began our intermittent research trips dur-
ing the boom years just prior to the onset of the Great Recession, and we con-
* Susan Willis
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