When walking-enthusiast website Walkscore.com rated Las Vegas the No. 18 most walkable city in the country, we all scoffed, of course. When being a pedestrian is seen more as a liability than an advantage, you know there’s a problem with the way walking is seen around town. So when we noticed that two of the city’s most dangerous and interesting areas (which also happen to be connected geographically) are the top-rated neighborhoods in the Valley, including the Downtown proper area and the “Meadows Village” neighborhood, otherwise known as the crime-ridden “Naked City,” we had to take a look to see what walking was like in these ped-friendly areas. Here’s a quick rundown on my walking tour:
1. Various “Rest in Peace” etchings in concrete. Yes, these tell tragic stories about the crimes off of Boston and Fairfield avenues, that’s for sure. But these concrete eulogies also make really good landmarks when you’re trying to decide which duplex to run away from faster—and don’t even get me started about using them for a poor-man’s compass.
2. Police tape. It’s a real obstruction when you’re trying to get around on foot, but when you realize that beyond the tape are machine gun-holding SWAT team members getting ready to flush someone out of their house, you think better of complaining about that trip for smokes on Maryland Parkway getting cut short. Bummer also if you’re trying to get back to your apartment, only to be scared half to death by the explosion of flash grenades—those things are loud.
3. Narrow streets. You probably want to keep street-crossing to a minimum through these neighborhoods, as the two-lane-wide swath makes it almost impossible for oncoming traffic to see you. Still, being barely seen has its advantages. Like when you’re trying to sling some dope quickly before the cops see you ... Or, in a more practical case, if you’re planning an improvised “Naked City” flag football game.
4. A potentially drugged-out, ex-Marine cross-dresser who claims to have killed 28 people in Nicaragua. This guy (gal?) not only gives really good directions on getting around police barricades, but he could also entertain you for hours, telling you about how he’d rather be shot than experience the shock of a flash grenade going off next to him. And he’d know, too: after all, he has been shot before.
5. A great walking workout. The fear of being mugged quickens your pace and makes walking to your destination that much healthier ... and more efficient.