A year after it closed, and after 61 years of operating on the northern end of The Strip, the famous Riviera Hotel and Casino was imploded earlier this week in dramatic fashion – complete with fireworks and Hollywood-esque explosion sounds. The 24-story Monaco tower was turned into a pile of dust at around 2:30 AM on Tuesday.
Famous for its connections to Las Vegas’ mobster past, “The Riv” was no stranger to the spotlight. The hotel’s first headliner was Liberace and Dean Martin was once part-owner. It also served as a backdrop for the original Ocean’s 11, the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, and 1995’s Casino, according to the Associated Press.
“[The Riviera] looked like a 50s Rat Pack casino up until yesterday,” Geoff Schumacher of the Las Vegas Mob Museum told U.S. News & World Report.
Now the Tropicana and the Flamingo are the only mob-era casinos still in business on the Strip. The original pieces of the Tropicana are still intact, but even the Flamingo has been completely rebuilt.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority bought the Riviera property for $182.5 million last year, and spent $42 million to level the 13 buildings which spread of 26 acres. The space will be used to expand the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The Monte Carlo Tower will be imploded in August. This is Las Vegas’ third major structure to be imploded this year, including the Clarion and Gramercy hotels.
(Photo credit: AP Photo/John Locher)
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