Pieces of History
El Cortez removed the carpeting from its 42,000-square-foot casino floor last September, and now you can own a piece of the carpet. The carpet was first installed in 2007, one of many carpet replacements that happen in the life of a casino.
And yes, like all casino carpeting, it is about as psychedelic as they come. Bright colors and swirling patterns are par for the casino course, but the El Cortez carpet has an interesting twist: floral patterns. Red and green flowers with golden stems adorn a black background perfect for dropping and losing your chips in a colorful jungle.
According to The Washington Post, there are plenty of fans of all things gaudy. “It is perfect kitsch — gaudy, beautiful and floral,” said Holly Vaughn, a Vegas native and El Cortez regular. “It’s hip now, like a Coogi sweater, and it has a little bit of nostalgia.”
Vaughan is such a fan of the El Cortez carpet that she was ejected from the casino for taking photos of the carpet. But she managed to grab enough images to create hundreds of pins bearing the carpet design, which she sold online.
Other fans of busy, kitschy patterns might like to pair the carpet squares with a vintage sofa or dining table. Maybe a splash of color for the old vintage Tiki Bar could use the floral flooring.
Out with the Old
El Cortez has already replaced the old carpet with an updated version of the floral chaos. The new carpet was woven by Brintons of the UK, and features giant jungle leaves over (yes) a floral background with a black base. The new carpet combines the usual psychedelic colors while screaming Welcome to the Jungle.
El Cortez general manager Adam Wiesberg decided to sell pieces of the old carpet after news of its replacement sparked public outcry. To preserve a piece of nostalgia while calming the vintage casino fans, 100 pieces of the carpet are now for sale in 16″ x 16″ squares. The 100 pieces are brand-new remnants from the original and have never been used. They were stored in case of the need to repair the old carpet.
Downtown Las Vegas is the historic core of the casino town, established long before the Las Vegas Strip became a thing. For several years, mobsters like Bugsy Siegel owned a piece of El Cortez, which speaks to the history of Las Vegas.
El Cortez is located near the Mob Museum and has its own homage to Vegas history baked into the place. A bistro named Siegel’s 1941 whips up food like the Meyer Lansky burger or Moe Green veggie sandwich, named after mobsters who tread upon the casino carpets of old.