Best New Show of 2016: The Bronx Wanderers

2016 took a lot of things from us: Prince, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Alan Thicke, Florence Henderson, and here in Las Vegas, it took the Broadway show, Jersey Boys. While we were still mourning the loss, a little show opened up at Bally’s just one month later that helped ease the void in our souls. The Bronx Wanderers is, in our [obviously not that expert opinion] the best new show in Las Vegas for 2016. And the best part? It features A TON of Frankie Valli’s songs in a couple different medleys.

 

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Vinny Jr., Vinny Sr., and Nicky Adinolfi. [Photo via The Bronx Wanderers]
Founded by Bronx-born patriarch, Vinny Adinolfi [a former record producer] and his two sons, Vinny Jr, and Nicky, The Bronx Wanderers tells the stories behind the songs that have inspired the elder Adinolfi through a musical journey of high energy, just try not to sing along, hits by pop icons including Dion and The Belmonts, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Elvis, Billy Joel, The Beach Boys, Queen, and Bruno Mars.

 

While Vinny Sr. is clearly the leader and de-facto emcee of the show, it’s Vinny “the kid” who really shines. A true showman; he can sing, he can play a few different instruments, and his personality and showmanship just radiate from the stage. If Las Vegas is looking for the “next Wayne Newton,” this kid is it. His version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is perfection.

The Bronx Wanderers is part oldies, part rock ‘n roll, but 100% entertaining. It’s such a great time that we’ve seen it twice in the three months it’s been running.

The Bronx Wanderers play nightly at Bally’s in the Window’s Showroom – go check it out in 2017.

New Year, New Vegas

Happy New Year! New Years are all about optimistically looking towards the future and anticipating all the [good] changes and things to come. While people love to muse about becoming a new version of themselves, Las Vegas as a city embodies that mentality on the regular.

No other city in the world experiences as many changes as this neon paradise does every year. Hotels, restaurants, shows, nothing is safe, nothing is sacred; it could all be completely changed tomorrow – as evidenced by the pile of rubble that the iconic Riviera became in 2016 – but like the mighty phoenix, something new will swiftly rise up. With that said, let’s look to some of the new changes and additions we’re most looking forward to in 2017!

Backstreet Boys: Oh my God, they’re back again. It was music to nearly every millennial girl’s ears when Planet Hollywood announced that the original, the best, boy band of the late 90s, early 00s would be the latest stars of yesteryear to embark on a residency at The Axis at PH. The Boys join a rotating roster of 90s super powers including Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez and Lionel Richie. Backstreet Boys: Larger Than Life begins rocking your body in March.

In-N-Out at The Linq: In a city overflowing with amazing restaurants, the number one restaurant Lyft riders requested rides to using the service in 2016 was In-N-Out Burger. For decades travelers have either cabbed, called an Uber or a Lyft, or [gasp] made the trek to walk to the In-N-Out on Tropicana, but those days are finally over. In-N-Out is slated to open their very first Strip outpost on the Linq Promenade in January 2017. Can you say late night Animal Style everything?!

Chik-fil-A: While we’re on the subject of fast food, let’s talk about this earth-shattering news: VEGAS IS GETTING CHIK-FIL-A. The southern staple is slated to open it’s first outpost in Henderson on January 26. This may not be as exciting to travelers but Vegas locals are counting down the days until they can get those chicken tenders and waffle fries.

Pro-Sports Hit the Strip: Professional sports have long stayed far away from Las Vegas due to the perceived risks associated with legal sports betting. All that changes this year when Las Vegas gets it’s first professional sports team to rally behind with the newest NHL expansion team: the Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights will train in Summerlin and play their games at the brand new T-Mobile Arena at The Park.

NoMad Las Vegas & Park MGM Grand: As hotel nerds, we love any new or renovated hotel news. 2017 will see MGM’s Monte Carlo Hotel split into two hotels, Park MGM Grand, a luxury resort which will anchor The Park, and a Las Vegas version of the Sydell Group’s New York City hotel, NoMad Hotel. The space will also house a Vegas version of the celebrated Italian food market concept, Eataly.

Blue Ribbon Brasserie: Another New York to Vegas concept, Blue Ribbon Brasserie is slated to take over the space in Cosmopolitan currently occupied by Blue Ribbon Sushi. Blue Ribbon Brasserie is a late-night (but really, anytime) industry favorite in Manhattan with the best duck club sandwich ever.

Las Vegas is constantly evolving and these are just a few of the changes 2017 will bring, they just happen to be a few that we are most looking forward to. Well these, and the re-opening of the pedestrian bridge outside of the Tropicana – seriously, how long does it take to complete a pedestrian bridge?!

THE HOLIDAY SEASON SKATES INTO THE PARK

park-xmas1Thanksgiving may still be a few days away, but tonight kicked off the Christmas season at The Park with the lighting of a 60 ft Christmas tree. This year marks the first year the dining and entertainment district, which opened last spring, has been open for the holidays.

The Park, and specifically Toshiba Plaza at the base of the T-Mobile Arena, has been transformed into a winter wonderland for the holidays. Guests enter the district through oversized ornaments and continue along the path beneath festive sparkling branches, dripping with icicle lights.

At the Toshiba Plaza, the aforementioned Christmas tree is anchored by a fairly spacious ice skating rink where guests can practice their axels and spins for the 2018 Winter Olympics. If skating’s not your thing, or you’re worried about broken bones[!!] there’s a bevy of tents surrounding the rink serving up their finest winter offerings from cupcakes to candy apples – and don’t forget the hot chocolate to warm you up!

You can lace up your skates for two hours for $15 – there’s a 20% discount for locals and military. The rink is open limited hours 4pm- 10pm [except on the weekends] until Dec. 10, and from Dec. 10-31 it opens at 10 am. and closes at 10 pm daily, with the exception of New Year’s Even when it closes at 12:30am.

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Santa’s home at The Park?

So Santa. In what looks like it’s straight out of a Christmas season Coca-Cola commercial, the jolly guy in the red suit will be available [I’m pretty sure in a Coke tent with an assortment of props because it’s 2016 and no one poses in a photo booth without props anymore, right?] during the same hours as the rink – except yesterday apparently, when I was there, of course. Pictures are $20 for a 6×8 photo.

 

But my favorite part, which I also have yet to see because I was there before 5pm [or because they were hanging out with Santa, I guess we’ll never know] is that they will have Christmas carolers strolling throughout Toshiba Plaza, The Park, as well as the NYNY bridge, and Monte Carlo Plaza. I’m a sucker for some good old fashioned Christmas carols. Seriously. So stay tuned for more on that one.

And if you were expecting a warm desert winter [like those who enjoy the pool in the winter] socks and gloves are available for $4 each.

Go forth and be festive!

 

FIRST LOOK: LUCKY DRAGON OPENS EARLY

dragon-1Lucky Dragon, the Strip’s first property tailored specifically for the ever-growing Asian market, quietly opened it’s doors last Saturday- two weeks ahead of it’s Dec. 3 scheduled grand opening. The casino, which is coupled with a boutique hotel, is the first to be built from the ground up in Las Vegas since The Cosmopolitan opened six years ago.

Small, yet mighty, the circular casino offers an authentic Asian, primarily Chinese, experience in everything from the gaming  [no poker room, few blackjack tables, lots of baccarat] to the cuisine which takes its cues from the street food found in Taipei and Beijing. The 27,500 sq ft casino is anchored by a stunning 2.5 story, 1.25 ton glass dragon sculpture which floats above the center bar.

The 9-story boutique hotel [where rooms are currently going for $499/night but are expected to fall after the Dec. 3 grand opening] is accessible via a sky bridge from the casino as well as directly from the outside. The ground level features a tea garden with the city’s only tea sommelier to guide guests in their choices.

 

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No fourth floor.

What you won’t find at Lucky dragon is a fourth floor as the number four is seen as unlucky; conversely, you will find the number eight hidden throughout – such as the eight-sided center bar, as the number eight is proposed to bring good fortune.

 

Gorgeous as it is, Lucky Dragon certainly doesn’t feel like a typical Strip property. The intimate casino feels more like a locals casino, and that’s probably on purpose. Despite the fact that mere days before scheduled December opening, Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport will begin receiving direct flights from Beijing thanks to Hainan Airlines, Lucky Dragon’s target customers are more likely to drive in from Southern California or the Las Vegas Valley than they are to fly in from Asia. Indeed, their target customers are the more than 200,000 Asians already in Las Vegas, as well as those in other immigrant communities in Southern California, Northern California, as well as Vancouver.

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dragon-4Lucky Dragon will still “officially” open it’s doors on Dec. 3 with an extravagant series of Asian demonstrations, including a firecracker show, which according to Asian custom is a way of driving away evil spirits, as well as a traditional lion and dragon dance to bring good luck and good fortune to all. In addition, the world’s largest Kung Fu tea service will run throughout the hotel during the day.

Lucky Dragon is located just off the north end of the Strip at 300 W. Sahara Avenue.