Family Feud: Havana vs. Las Vegas in the 1950s. Part 2

Peter Moruzzi's Mid-Century

The great Havana building boom of 1956-1958 saw the completion of the biggest, most extravagant hotel-casinos outside of Las Vegas.  First to be erected was the glittering Hotel Capri, a modern 19-story edifice with the novelty of a rooftop swimming pool.

The Capri’s casino was fronted by the actor George Raft who had built his career playing gangsters and hanging around with them, such as Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel.

However, the Capri’s real owner was Santo Trafficante, Jr.

Next to appear was Meyer Lansky’s ultra swank Hotel Riviera a 21-story, 440-room masterpiece of Miami Modern design situated directly on the Malecon facing the sea.

The last and biggest was the Habana Hilton built in Havana’s Vedado entertainment district and visible from any vantage point in the city.

Life Magazine’sMarch 10, 1958 issue featured the article “Mobsters Move In On Troubled Havana and Split Rich Gambling Profits with Batista.”  The piece…

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