After September 11, 2001, the false became true at Las Vegas Blvd and Tropicana.
At New York-New York, near the base of the 150-foot replica Statue of Liberty that fronts the imagined skyline of Manhattan, locals and tourists began to tie t-shirts on the sidewalk rail. The leave behinds marked 9/11 and the swell of messages became a gradual public happening.
That was the real power of this humble shrine. It wasn’t just about t-shirts and caps from fire and police departments all over the U.S., but how people made a New York landmark, reproduction or not, a site-specific memorial.
Then in partnership with UNLV, New York-New York converted the corner into a permanent display in 2003. Many tourists would stop for a moment to take a photo and not consider it an oddity. In July 2013, casino expansion began and the 9/11 memorial was taken away. UNLV are the caretakers of the memorabilia left on a corner that refused to forget.
ABOVE: Luis Varela Rico