It would be easy to go a whole weekend on the Las Vegas Strip without spotting a sign of a crisis. Never mind that more than 14,000 people are living on the streets – and that Nevada ranks second in the nation in homeless population per capita.
Seeing evidence of this is a matter of knowing – or perhaps choosing – where to look.
One might begin with the slot machines on a busy casino floor – tourists, blackjack tables, cocktail waitresses in impossibly tiny outfits. And if one were willing to pay the price of admission, an elevator could transport the seeker to more vice and excess upstairs – rooftop pools and lavish suites. But the homeless still wouldn't be found.
But what if there were an elevator that went downward? Let's say that you could descend below the sunken lounges, past kitchens and utility closets, through layers of concrete. It is here that Las Vegas' truly gritty underbelly can be found; a hidden matrix of tunnels beneath the Strip, another version of the city born out of storm drains.
Sucked Into The Tunnels Beneath Las Vegas (NPR, image: Danny Mollohan)