New York-New York in Las Vegas is to me a great example of a themed hotel that wouldn’t get built today, even though its kitsch and charm is a big part of what makes it so appealing.
As someone who worked in New York for years, I have so many inside jokes, little nuggets of things that this hotel brings to mind, that this will probably be a longer write-up than my normal travel pieces, but as I’ve also stayed here numerous times I have a lot to share about the property as well.
The Casino Floor
New York-New York’s casino floor is a decent size, placed in the center of things. Table games are lined in rows stretching out from the middle, where there’s a central bar.
The slots are plentiful and are a great mix of older and newer machines, as would be expected for a property this age, and the slot floor tends to keep up with newer machines while maintaining popular favorites. There are certain banks of ancient machines I’ve been able to count on continuing to find there, while also seeing newer games that I will pay anytime I see them.
They have a high limit area, but also a small number of higher denomination machines on the main floor. Some older quarter three-reel machines continue to maintain a presence along side the dominant penny machines.
Video Poker tables are standard for Mlife, meaning not good. It hasn’t stopped me with noodling with video poker and getting comped drinks at the Times Square Bar now and again, but
Table minimums are on the lower side – although I haven’t been since reopening, New York-New York was one of the casinos promising things like $5 Blackjack. I don’t personally recall seeing it there, nor craps, but I’ve seen reports that it’s been there, so I’m sure it depends on when you go and how busy things are.
The casino floor has some theming to evoke things like the old school Times Square marquees and neon lights. Unfortunately the modern Times Square is mostly giant TV screens and video, but I remember the more quaint era and this generates fond memories.
The Hotel Rooms
Most of the rooms have seen better days, and are definitely due for refurbishment. The yellow lighting feels very dated, and nearly every room I’ve had there has had some round of small problems that just show the wear and tear of a hotel that’s due for renewal.
Despite that, I found the room comfortable enough – it certainly is fine to sleep in after an active day in a city like Las Vegas. I’ve been able to work from the desk in the room (which to my mild surprise some Las Vegas casinos don’t have), and the WiFi works OK, not great.
The hotel’s design is to mimic the New York skyline of old, so the building zig zags to allow for the shape to offer that sort of structure. It’s a facade that looks like a variety of different buildings, but it’s one big interconnected building in reality. This leads to some unusual shapes and layouts for some of the rooms. It also gave me a room with a wall being much of my view, perhaps the most authentic room at New York-New York I had (picture above).
One nice thing about the hotel layout is when you come down the elevators you’re basically dropped right into the casino floor. So you can get right into the action.
New York-New York is part of Mlife, and all the pros and cons that go with it. Quite a few slots on the casino floor here are designated as specialty slots, which makes it harder to earn points and tier up, but there’s plenty that aren’t too.
Check out my separate post on Mlife Rewards for specifics on the program.
I’ve eaten here quite a bit, and there’s a good balance of options. It’s a good mix of New York-focused foods and broader fare. For instance, you’ve got a Shake Shack, Nathan’s, Tom’s Urban, Gallagher’s Steakhouse and a good New York-style pizzeria on site, all great match-ups for the theme of the place.
There’s also America, which has a good menu and can satisfy everything from breakfast to a late night snack. It’s the closest thing to a New York diner that you’ll find at a strip casino.
But then you get off into other options like 48th and Crepe, which is quite affordable and has been one of my go-tos when I’m at that end of the strip. Nine Fine Irishmen brings an Irish pub style to the property as well, something not entirely out of place in New York.
It’s a good line-up, although devoid of things like a food court or buffet, although you can satisfy that at Excalibur next door if needed.
Zumanity is the house show, and has been there for quite a long time. It’s a Cirque du Soleil show that’s targeted at adults. It’s the first show I ever saw in Las Vegas, and I enjoyed it – a balance of sexual humor and the classic Cirque acts.
There’s an arcade upstairs, and a roller coaster that surrounds the building outside. For the latter, I’ve never personally rode it, but those I know who have said it’s rough and not the best. But it’s still the biggest coaster on the strip, so it’s worth checking out if you’re into that sort of thing.
There’s a Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty replica setup outside the property, and it’s adjacent to the park that separates it and Park MGM, so there’s a lot of nice walkable space around the building, with some nice views.
The shopping at this property is minimal, but there’s a few touristy options near the front of the building, an essentials cart by the Times Square bar and an essentials store as you’re heading towards the parking garage. There’s also a bit more shopping on the upper deck where the crosswalks from MGM Grand and Excalibur converge.
There’s also a couple of Starbucks locations; pro tip is to check out the one upstairs to avoid a line, as it tends to be less busy. (The one in Excalibur near the food court has been even less so in my experience, if you’re willing to walk across the way, but obviously these things can vary.)
A daily slot tournament takes place on site, with the top 5 players winning slot play. You can enter up to three times; you need to earn 100 Mlife points per entry, which makes the specialty game issue a bit more important. I previously wrote about a strategy for the tournament machines they had in place my last visit, and wrote about these free slot tournaments recently.
New York-New York is the first hotel I ever booked for myself when work sent me to Vegas; I paid way too much for too nights, not knowing how things worked. Since then I’ve stayed a few other times, and while I’ve diversified outside of the property today, for awhile I stayed there a couple of nights each trip for tradition sake.
For awhile I used to joke that it was ironic I’d leave the New York area to travel to Vegas, to stay at New York-New York. But I always had a great time there, even when I had a hooker trying to reel me in an hour after landing, past midnight Vegas time. I love the vibe of the casino floor and if they updated the rooms, I’d probably revive my regular stays there. But for those who need a mid-priced option it’s definitely one to consider.