A review of the New York-New York Hotel Las Vegas by Bob Sehlinger
When it opened in 1997, this architecturally imaginative hotel-casino set a new standard for the realization of Las Vegas mega-resort themes. The guest rooms are in a series of distinct towers reminiscent of a mini–Big Apple skyline, including the Empire State, Chrysler, and Seagram Buildings. Though the buildings are connected, each offers a somewhat different decor and ambience.
A half-size Statue of Liberty and a replica of Grand Central Station lead visitors to one entrance, while the Brooklyn Bridge leads to another. The interior of the property is broken into themed areas such as Greenwich Village, Wall Street, and Times Square. The casino, one of the most visually interesting in Las Vegas, looks like an elaborate movie set. Table games and slots are sandwiched between shops, restaurants, and a jumble of street facades.
The street scenes are well executed, conveying both a sense of urban style and tough grittiness. New York–New York sacrificed much of its visual impact, however, by not putting in an imitation sky. At Sunset Station, by way of contrast, the Spanish architecture is augmented significantly by vaulted ceilings, realistically lighted and painted with clouds. This sort of finishing touch could have done wonders for New York–New York.
Like its namesake, New York–New York Las Vegas is congested to the extreme, awash day and night with curious sightseers. There are so many people just wandering around gawking that there’s little room left for hotel guests and folks who actually came to gamble. Because aisles and indoor paths are far too narrow to accommodate the crowds, New York–New York succumbs periodically to a sort of pedestrian gridlock.
Manhattan rules, however, do not apply at New York–New York: it’s OK here to make eye contact and decidedly rude to shove people out of the way to get where you want to go. If you find yourself longing for the thrill of a New York cab ride, go hop on the roller coaster. New York–New York’s coaster isn’t the only one on the Strip, but it’s the only one where you can stand on the street and hear the riders scream.
The showroom features Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity. Lounges include a dueling-pianos bar, a high-energy dance club, and a Coyote Ugly bar. Based on the movie of the same name, the bar features a platoon of dancing female bartenders with enough attitude to stop a real New Yorker dead in his tracks.
Guest rooms at New York–New York have been renovated and upgraded. However, the swimming area and health and fitness center are just average. Full-service restaurants are a little better than average, though Gallagher’s Steakhouse, a real Big Apple import, can hold its own with any beef place, in or out of Las Vegas. Nine Fine Irishmen is a pub serving up live Irish music nightly, along with excellent pub fare that proves the Irish cuisine has come a long way. There is no buffet. Counter-service fast food is quite interesting, if not altogether authentic New York.
Want to know more? The Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas by Bob Sehlinger gives in-depth description of all Las Vegas hotels, the casinos and much more.