VEGAS MYTHS BROKEN: The strip town is named for its sunbathing showgirls


Published on: January 15, 2024 at 08:12 pm.

Last updated on: January 14, 2024 at 09:47 h.

In the 1960s, when the Meadows Edition neighborhood in Las Vegas was beautiful, showgirls lived there. They loved to sunbathe naturally in their apartment’s pools because they don’t like tan lines.

Minsky, Las Vegas, The Naked City
This is it no Photo of showgirls sunbathing in a swimming pool in the Las Vegas community nicknamed the Naked City. It was taken across town, in August 1958, at the private residence of Harold Minsky, producer of Minsky’s sitcom In the Dunes. (Photo: via Life magazine)

That’s the popular story of how the “Naked City,” a community of apartment buildings and low-rent homes in the stratosphere north of the Las Vegas Strip, got its nickname. And it’s great.

No journalistic reference to Naked City appeared in a Las Vegas newspaper before June 20, 1982. Las EGas Review Magazine The cover story is titled: “The Naked City is the Battleground of Las Vegas.”

In that story, Lt. John Conner reported that he investigated 10 killings in the neighborhood in 16 months. “Most of them appear to be drug-related,” the head of the homicide division said.

Understanding the myth

The Meadows Addition — “Las Vegas” is Spanish for “the Meadows” — was created in the late 1940s as a grid of 16 streets named after other cities, including New York, Chicago, Cleveland, St. Louis and Philadelphia. Before Sahara opened in 1952, Desert Street existed entirely in this community, where it was known as San Francisco Boulevard.

When its first apartment buildings opened in 1953, the Meadows Addition became a popular home for strip workers, including showgirls, who found the low rents and short commutes ideal. But Las Vegas’ expansion off the Strip eventually gave hospitality workers and performers a choice of nearby accommodations, including beautiful new homes that were also more affordable and more suitable for raising families.

By the late 1970s, the Meadows Addition had been forgotten by almost everyone except drug dealers, gangs, and illegal sex workers. Locals and policemen gave him that name naked city, A 1948 film noir about a New York City police hunt for a murderer, which later inspired a gritty 1958–1964 television series of the same name.

Actually, that’s 1982 RJ The story stated that the neighborhood “Metro police officers call the ‘Naked City.'”

“The way the phrase appears in local newspapers, complete with the context in which Metro used the phrase, and the way it has been used consistently, are all things that are difficult to ignore,” said Jeffrey Carlson, who is publishing the study. Las Vegas vintage History site, which features a post on Naked City.

Over the decades, Carlson said he has spoken to dozens of area residents in their 60s and 70s who had “never heard the name.”

A one-bedroom apartment in a Meadows Addition apartment rents for $950 a month (Photo:

The naked truth

The name didn’t sit well with Naked City landlords. Among them was Bob Stupak, who in 1979 opened the Vegas World Casino Resort on land he owned in the neighborhood.

In 1996, Stupak replaced it with the Stratosphere whose 1,149-foot observation tower remains the largest structure west of the Mississippi River, redesigning the Vegas World towers for the new purpose.

Stupak’s friends in city government agreed to rename the neighborhood as Meadows Village in the late 1980s. They also told and retold the cover story of the sunbathing showgirls, insisting that the Naked City moniker had nothing to do with the crime.

Several local businesses have signed on to celebrate the rewritten history, including Naked City Pizza, Naked City Audio and Naked City Sweets.

“The subject matter is interesting to me because it is not a tourism story like many other Vegas myths, and because the gap between the bright, exciting legend and the bitter reality of the counterstory is so far apart,” Carlson said. “In personal words, I am I want to Believe the story of the suntanned showgirl, because the alternative is depressing.

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