Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More on the Vdara Death Ray

I am a very lucky reporter. I know this, that I have a knack for accidentally being in the right places at the right times. And so it was yesterday when I headed over to the Vdara pool to check out the vaunted "death ray" for myself for an AOL News follow-up to the Saturday Review-Journal cover story that has set the Web afire.

As good fortune would have it, I was there right when no less than Bobby Baldwin, CityCenter's CEO and president, was also walking the area with a group of suits and pantsuits examining what it is that Joan Whitely exposed in her R-J piece.

That is, in short, that the position of the glass, concave Vdara tower is producing unbearably hot reflections of the sun onto areas of the pool deck. The hotspot moves from place to place as the Earth rotates, melting things and singeing hair. It's nicknamed the "death ray" and is certain to be a question on "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" this weekend or my name is Ralph.

So, anyhow, here's Baldwin, in the white shirt and red tie, leading his team as they inspect the ground in various places and then look up, unmistakably, at the side of the building.

Many people think, thanks to the R-J graphic that has been heavily replicated across the Web, that the "death ray" is something you see, that there's a glowing sphere that you can wisely avoid.

It's not so simple. It does move from place to place even during the hour I was there and you don't really know you're in it until you walk through it. Then it is very noticeably hotter. The ground, which I could walk on without sandals, became scorching, and I nearly burned my fingers touching the metal lounge chairs. I am not sure how this fellow here is bearing it, but he's going to have a rude awakening, to be sure. Hard to imagine what it must be like out there when it's 115 degrees out or how it took until late September for visitors to alert the media.

I'm pleased with my AOL piece, which did add something new to the conversation inasmuch as I've obtained letters and emails from 2008 showing that a vendor warned CityCenter officials that their solution to the known problem would be inadequate. Some of that may be the sour grapes of a vendor who didn't get a contract, but that company is the leader and innovator in the field and their warnings, as it happens, turned out to be right.

Also, I got to quote from "Five Hundy By Midnight," although my editors removed the line by Tim Dressen about your organs cooking. They also removed my reference to a hilarious Tweet from @misadventurer noting that it was ironic that the resort that starts with the letters VD would produce a "burning sensation." Oh, well!

Meanwhile, I really loved this particular shot of Vdara. With the inexplicable black background, it certainly does read "death ray."



Anonymous said...


"Our pool is so hot it sizzles...YOU!"

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for the next edition of Nevada Week in Review. Sooooo hoping somebody mentions the Vdara Death Ray!

We used to be part of the Alienated, Undesirable Vegas Locals. Now we moved out of state!

Now it seems that any news we hear about Vegas is nothing but bad news. No jobs. No jobs. #1 in foreclosures.

I just love listening to more tales about how the mighty empire has fallen!

My favorite part on Nevada Week in Review is when they start whining about no money for education! It's so funny now because I never understood WHY ON EARTH anyone would consider Vegas to be a great place to raise a child???

Not gonna miss the overly-aggressive bums harassing me during the holiday season when I'm pumping my gas or in the grocery store. Only Vegas!

What? No Paris & Lindsey? Ahhhh...

Anonymous said...

Vdara Death Ray:

Yesterday was only 2 stories.
Today 94 news stories +1 new face book page.

Why can't they use the Vdara Death Ray on that horrible canoe monstrosity in front of the hotel?

Anonymous said...

So did you ask Bobby Baldwin about the problem and what they're doing to fix it? Or did you just take photos of him?

Seems like a missed opportunity to ask the honcho what's going on without the PR filter.

Glenn said...

Saw you on the today show this morning.. NICE!