VISITING THE MOB MUSEUM

It’s official name is the National Museum of Crime and Law Enforcement but that takes much too long to say.

It’s better known by it’s shorter and more well known name, The Mob Museum.

It’s located in Downtown Las Vegas and visiting it was number 11 thing to do on my bucket list .

It’s open every day until about 5:30pm or so

If you’re a senior like me , admission is about $20 , if you aren’t, you pay $25.

There’s also a discount if you happen to be from Las Vegas.

This building, on Stewart Street, used to be the Las Vegas post office.

Before that , it was the building where the trials on Mob Activities in the United States took place.

You even get to visit the actual courtroom where real mobsters and their associates were grilled by United States Senators about their illegal activities .

There’s three floors in the museum , and when you pay your fee, they advise you to start on the third floor and work your way down so that you can understand just how this all began.

Guides also give you a crash course on the history of Las Vegas .

I’m sure most of you weren’t aware that the Las Vegas Strip isn’t actually in the city of Las Vegas , Nevada, but it’s located in the city of Paradise , Nevada.

Mobsters actually were interested in the Las Vegas Strip , not so much what is now Downtown Las Vegas.

One of the most popular exhibits in the museum is part of the wall from the St, Valentines Day Massacre in Chicago.

You’ll learn the events leading up to the massacre and the reason why it happened .

There are a lot of hands on exhibits, one

of which is standing in front of one of those lineup panels just like you see in all those crime shows.

People can see you, but you can’t see them.

In the basement , there’s a replica of an actual 1920’s speakeasy .

On the walls are pictures of the stars of that era like

Duke Ellington , Josephine Baker, and early actresses like Clara Bow and Anna May Wong.

There’s also an area in this speakeasy where you can taste moonshine .

(I declined doing that, so did my friend , )

All in all , I learned so many things that I didn’t know .

If you go to Las Vegas , make the Mob Museum a stop.

This also is a part of American history.

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SPENDING MY LAS VEGAS NIGHTS AT THE STRATOSPHERE HOTEL

When I stay in Las Vegas, there’s my usual go to places to park my suitcase.

It’s either the Las Vegas Hostel on 13th street, The D, where I used to work when it was known as Fitzgeralds, and the Four Queens .

All of these places are located in Downtown Las Vegas .

For my trip from February 19 until the 27th, I stayed at the Las Vegas Hostel and a new hotel for me, The Stratosphere on the Las Vegas Strip .

Now if you’ve ever been to or have seen pictures of the Las Vegas , you know the Stratosphere .

It’s the hotel with the tallest tower west of the Mississippi .

The hotel rooms aren’t in that tower , but there’s a restaurant called Top of the World, a club called 107 Sky Lounge , not to mention the three thrill rides that are there.

You can bungee jump from the tower if you wanted to.

When I first checked into the hotel that calls itself , “The Strat “, I was in a standard room on the fourth floor.

The room had the biggest king sized bed and tub that I had ever seen .

It didn’t have a coffemaker or a refrigerator but it did come with a big screen tv(hey a girl needs to watch ESPN Sports Center).

My first room was on the fourth floor, but because a friend who was making her first trip to Vegas was staying with me, we changed rooms to the type of rooms known as “elite” rooms.

These rooms have just a shower,but they have a refrigerator and a coffemaker as well and they’re on higher floors.

We were on the 20th .

I got my room by going on Expedia but if you go on Stratosphere ‘s own website , you can find very inexpensive rooms.

Many people who stay in town usually don’t think of this hotel as their first choice.

They claim it’s too far away from the action of the Las Vegas Strip .

I have no idea what they’re talking about because this is Las Vegas , action is everywhere you turn.

If you want to see the light show on the Fremont Street Experience or take in the dancing waters at the Bellagio , the Deuce bus, which stops in front of the Strat , can get you there.

You can even take a picture of the Las Vegas sign.

No, not the sign at the beginning of the Strip that says ‘Welcome To Las Vegas “, that’s the more famous one.

I’m talking about the newest one that’s across the street from the Stratosphere .

It also welcomes you to Las Vegas, and it’s basically at the dividing line between the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas.

Many tourists who spend their Vegas nights choose many other hotels to stay at, but this gal is going to be spending alot more nights at the hotel near

the end of the strip at the Stratosphere .

GOOD EATING AT M AND M SOUL FOOD RESTAURANT IN LAS VEGAS

You might just miss this restaurant if you aren’t staying farther down the Las Vegas Strip .

It’s located across the street from the Stratosphere .

It always seems to be crowded and if you happen to go into the M and M Soul Food Restaurant , you’ll understand why.

As often as I go to Vegas, I had heard of this restaurant buut never visited becayse I didn’t know where it was.

I’m sorry that I missed this place .

The food that they serve here is what a lot of Southern blacks , like my parents, who moved to New York from North and South Carolina, grew up eating.

There on the menu were things that I remember my family members making, shrimp and grits, which the restaurant only makes on the weekends , smothered pork chops, fried chicken, chitterlings, short ribs, meat loaf smothered with gravy,and what I had oxtails with gravy.

The sides are also what I grew up on and still make by the way , collard greens , fried okra, mac and cheese , potato salad , rice and beans , and black eyed peas .

Just looking at the restaurant menu,which closes at 9pm every night, makes my mouth water .

I don’t know what took me so long to discover this restaurant , but I am so glad that I did .

WALKING THROUGH THE HARD ROCK HOTEL AND CASINO

There are many branches of the Hard Rock Hotel all over the world, and while I have never stayed in any of them, I have spent time at the one in Las Vegas, which I did this past June.

Last week, while I was in Atlantic City, I spent time at the Hard Rock Hotel there.

This branch opened this past June.

It has many of same things that the one in Las Vegas has.

There’s even a Sugar Factory Restaurant right inside, the very same one that sells those humongous drinks just like the one in Vegas does.

This hotel used to be the Trump Taj Mahal, but like most of Atlantic City casinos, it was forced to close due to bankruptcy.

The hotel reopened as the brand spanking new Hard Rock Hotel, and like the other Hard Rock branches, there is a huge guitar right outside.

The only thing this one shares with the one in Las Vegas is the name, although Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic fame has brought the one in Las Vegas so we really don’t know how that will change the hotel.

As much as I love the city of Las Vegas , sorry, not sorry, but the Hard Rock Hotel in Atlantic City makes the one in Las Vegas look like the baby sister that gets the hand me down clothes from big sis.

This place is BEAUTIFUL AND SPACIOUS !

It’s also very high tech.

If you want to get a drink while you’re at the slot machines, you don’t flag the waitress down as she walks by.

Oh no.

Look on your slot machine.

Right in the middle of your machine, there’s a drink icon.

Push it for whatever you want to drink, water, wine, beer, or hard beverages.

The waitress will bring it to you.

Just remember, tip your waitress when she brings your drink, no matter what it is.

Don’t be stingy with your tip either.

(However, when I ordered a Pina Colada, the waitress never brought me my drink. Maybe I didn’t order it correctly or something, I don’t know , but that’s another story for another day. I didn’t need that drink THAT badly.)

As for the casino floor, there are lots of tables and slots and you can move around freely.

As I mostly play the slots, I looked for the slot machines that I play a lot.

I’m “old school” so it’s machines like Wild Cherry, Double and Triple Diamonds for me.

Always the penny machines by the way .

(My machines didn’t let me down. I hit for $78 and $46 on the same machine. Thank God for the bonus play. Instead of putting in the usual $20 that I play with, I only put in $6.50 to start with.)

The Hard Rock does have the cafe inside and yes, there are pictures of past and present musicians lining the walls of the restaurant, not to mention the rest of the hotel.

While the first floor is a sight to see , it pales in comparison to what’s happening on the second floor.

You can take the escalator as you watch the screen all around you showing different artists in the concert series known as “Hard Rock Calling.”

As I rode the escalator up to the second floor, the screen showed the rock group The Killers in concert followed by the Country and Western group, Lady Antebellum.

I could have watched the screen change all day, not to mention how mesmerized I was watching the stairs in between the two escalators changing colors.

The stairs were too beautiful to walk on.

I took the escalators to the second floor and checked out the food court as well as check out some of the stores.

(You don’t have to ask. Yes, I did buy some stuff to take back to New York City . )

Besides the pictures of muscians on the walls, there is an area known as “The Rock Vault”, which celebrates artists and venues in New Jersey .

I left the Hard Rock amazed at how dazzling this hotel really is.

It’s a Las Vegas style hotel with a party atmosphere and it’s right in my backyard .

I don’t need to fly across the United States to party like a rock star or like it’s 1999 (sorry but I just had to go there.)

A two to three hour bus ride from New York City to Atlantic City is all I need to get lit at the Hard Rock .

COMING HOME ON A DELTA FLIGHT

My great 30 Plus Teams Tour of Las Vegas is over and I’m returning home to New York’s JFK .

I’m NOT a happy camper after a week in Las Vegas .

I used to work for Delta and fly them from time to time .

I had an idea of what their planes are like.

Or I thought I did.

At Las Vegas McCarron International Airport , you have to make sure that you have your boarding pass BEFORE you get on line.

If you have bags to check, pay before you get there, because they DON’T take cash.

There are machines in the airport where you can buy a card to pay for your checked baggage , but you pay $5 more for it.

The agent that checked me in told me a way to get around paying extra for a prepaid card and how to keep my money.

It’s called consolidation .

Put my handbag in one bag so that I only have a personal item and a carry on.

It worked as my carryon bag fit in the overhead bin and the personal item did fit under my seat, which had a blanket , still wrapped in plastic.

I relaxed on the flight even though as usual going through good old TSA, was always an adventure.

As I settled in my seat, I watched the safety feature.

I have to give Delta major props for having one of the most innovative safety videos .

Not only do they tell you what to do and what not to do, the flight attendants are all wearing Delta uniforms from all the years that Delta has been flying.

I don’t know who in Atlanta thought of this or how they found all of these uniforms, but it was brilliant , just saying .

I was able to take out my headphones and either watch tv, listen to music, track the flight, which I did quite often, or see a movie.

As I didn’t like any of the movies or music, I watched some tv.

Being the sports diva that I am , yes I did watch some of the shows on ESPN.

I can’t tell you about the beverages or food served on the flight, nor can I tell you if my flight had a lot of turbulence .

I have no idea on either.

After the takeoff, I settled into the middle seat and went to sleep.

I didn’t wake up until the flight was landing at JFK .

Yeah, I was THAT tired.

As much as I was unhappy about leaving Las Vegas , it was good to come home and just jump on my bed with my comfy pillow and my even comfy stuffed animals.

Thank you for getting me home safely , Delta .

PARTY TIME DAY OR NIGHT IN LAS VEGAS

I go to Las Vegas, Nevada a lot.

This year was no different and not just because this city is the newest city on the 30 Plus Teams Tour.

As many of you may or may not know, I go every June for the NHL Awards .

This year in Vegas was no different than any other time that I visit.

No, let me stop lying.

This year was different.

I did something in the city that’s New York City on steroids that I’ve never done before.

I went to the clubs in town .

That’s right, I said clubs .

You know those places where people of all ages go to drink, dance and sometimes act like a damn fool?

Yeah, those type of clubs.

Now you might ask what’s the big deal all clubs are the same no matter what city you’re in.

There’s bouncers and a velvet rope that stops you from getting into the club, especially if you’re by yourself .

I’ve seen clubs in other cities and I can tell you, just like a whole lot of other things, clubbing in Vegas is different .

No where else that I know of has nightclubs AND dayclubs.

Ain’t no party like a Las Vegas party no matter what time of the day it is.

Now with all the times that I’ve been to Vegas, you would think that I would know how to get into clubs.

I dont mean paying an arm and a leg to get into the club, but how does one get on these “guests lists”?

You could have one of those annoying “promoters” give you their card while you’re walking down the Las Vegas Strip with your friends and family but how do you know these people aren’t those infamous timeshare people that you see everywhere in town.

Since I never went to a club in Vegas but was always interested, I just didn’t know .

Enter a company recommended to me by a resident of Las Vegas called No Cover Nightclubs.

Now before I continue, this company didn’t pay me to talk about them and say nice things.

This is my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

The people who run this company and website are wicked awesome .

If you happen to be in Las Vegas and want to go clubbing on certain nights, these are the people you talk to.

They can get you into the hottest clubs in town.

Just log onto their website, NoCoverNightClubs.com, sign up, put the club or clubs that you wish to go to and what night, and voila, you’ll get an email telling you that you’re on the guest list and what time you should be in the “guest list” line.

Yes, you’re special .

You have a line for you and your friends.

Or you can be like me.

I went with three people-

Me, myself, and I.

I had a great time too.

The email that you’re sent tells you what to wear, what time to get there and that you’ll get two free drinks.

They’re mostly rum or vodka, anything else, you pay for it.

Best of all, you pay NOTHING to get into the club.

No cover, remember ?

While I was in town, I went to two nightclubs, Marquee in the Cosmopolitan and Hyde at Bellagio.

I was supposed to go to the club at the Golden Nugget, but sorry, I can’t party like a rock star at almost 66 years old the way I did at 36 years old.

I loved the Hyde because the crowd was older and the music kept me on my feet until 2:30 am.

(Forget the fact that the night that I went was the night before the hockey awards and the Hyde was having an invite only hockey party . Yours truly, the Sports Diva was on the guest list . Talk about 30 Plus Dreams ! )

There is a dress code of course, so leave the sweatsuits, sneakers , hats, and tshirts back in your hotel.

This is Vegas, dress to impress!

Now, if you’re on the guest list for the dayclubs, like I was for Rehab pool at the Hard Rock Hotel , same thing applies.

Get there at a certain time, go to the line that says “guest list” and you’re in, ready to party.

Have some identification with you and get ready to be searched just as though you’re at the airport.

This applies for both the nightclubs and dayclubs.

For the nightclub, I had to be in line by 10:30pm and for the dayclub, by 11:30am and with a bathing suit.

Don’t laugh. If you had on a tshirt and shorts,and no bathing suit, you can forget about getting in.

You weren’t but you can wear a hat.

I wore my New York Yankees hat just cause I am that team sports apparel fashionista .

Like at the Hyde, the music was so good you just had to dance even if you were in a pool.

I had to keep reminding myself that this is Las Vegas and the party starts early, even if it is a Sunday.

When I returned to New York almost a week later , I couldn’t believe that I actually went clubbing.

But I did and I had the best time ever.

Thank you No Cover Nightclubs , I will be visiting your website , NoCoverNightClubs.com, the next time I come to Las Vegas .