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Las Vegas gets ready to blow up famed Riviera hotel-casino

It’s the best free show in Las Vegas, and it’s happening early Tuesday. After a nine-year gap, a once-famous resort along the Strip is about to come tumbling down.

The 24-story Monaco Tower at the Riviera, which closed last spring, will vanish within a minute or two after explosives are detonated about 2 a.m. Tuesday.

A second tower, the Monte Carlo (not to be confused with the hotel-casino resort of the same name), is slated for implosion sometime in August.

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The building is located at 2901 Las Vegas Blvd. If you want to watch, know that police make sure visitors and locals are kept at a safe distance from the implosion.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which now owns the historic hotel, says Riviera Drive and a portion of Las Vegas Boulevard will be blocked off.

Guests at the SpringHill Suites Las Vegas Convention Center, which faces the Strip, will have a birds-eye view of the implosion. Located at Riviera Drive and Paradise Road, the hotel is directly east of the Riviera.

A recent check of the hotel’s website revealed that high-floor, king-bed suites priced at $139 are still available for Tuesday.

Some guests at the Westgate resort, the former the Las Vegas Hilton also along Paradise Road, also may have a good view.

The practice of imploding hotels instead of demolishing them started in 1993 with the demise of the north tower at the Dunes, where the Bellagio is now located.

In 2007, the Stardust and the New Frontier were brought down using explosive charges.

The Riviera, which opened in 1955, regularly hosted some of the biggest names in show biz. The visitors bureau intends to use the land to expand the city’s convention center.

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