BEST OF MIAMI® 2005

World of Tomorrow
With this issue, the Best of Miami celebrates its sixteenth anniversary. Sweet sixteen. Still young enough to be playful and innocent but old enough to be self-aware. Not in the sense of being self-absorbed, but rather in being cognizant of the future — a dawning realization that there will be a tomorrow and that we’ll be part of it. In fact for many people in Miami, the World of Tomorrow has become something of a preoccupation. You can feel it in the air, a sensation of imminent growth and change. It’s as if Miami, 109 years old this July, is only now emerging from a prolonged adolescence.

Hints of tomorrow’s Miami are all around us, most notably in the eruption of new construction — to the south and west, single-family homes surging over farmland like some residential kudzu; high-rise condominiums mushrooming in the urban core. Demographic transformation may be the most visible symbol of Miami’s future, but it’s not the only thing about to change. The very fabric of life here will soon be redefined. Of course, those of us who live in Miami will be largely responsible for shaping our destiny, which prompted us to ask an intriguing mix of locals to imagine our future. You’ll find their musings further along in this annual compendium of all that makes Miami so weird and wonderful.

We’ve been doing our own thinking about the World of Tomorrow — in particular about the Best of Miami. For example, in the future we might want to consider modifying one category in our Readers’ Poll: Best Local Girl Made Good. Imagine this: Best Local Girl (Other Than Gloria Estefan) Made Good. That’s right — readers for the umpteenth time bestowed that award upon La Gloria, even though she made good long ago.

A thoughtful correspondent suggested that, in the future, we consider Colombia: “One thing I find rather peculiar is the fact that, even though we as Colombians represent at least half a million people in Miami-Dade, not one of the 50 or so Colombian restaurants presently functioning is included in Best of Miami. Why is that?”

The final item on the Readers’ Poll actually invites ideas for the future: Best Category We Didn’t Ask. Who knows, in the World of Tomorrow, the Best of Miami might incorporate some of the more charming suggestions: Best Overpriced Thrift Store, Best Worst City Planning (winner: Sunny Isles Beach), Best Pan-Fried Yellowtail Snapper, Best High School Sports Dynasty (wild guess: Gulliver girls’ water polo?), Best Freedom Fighter/Terrorist Depending Who You Ask (Luis Posada Carriles, we presume).

If past is prelude, the future is sure to include Best of Miami ballot-stuffers. Consider the Fox and Isicoff clans. This year’s winner of Best Local Boy Made Good is not attorney Eric Isicoff, but that’s not for anyone’s lack of trying. Family, friends, friends of friends, passing acquaintances of in-laws twice removed — the outpouring of support for the guy was nothing short of amazing, as was another nomination on every single one of those Isicoff ballots: Best Vein Doctor. The unanimous choice for this category we not only didn’t ask but also, frankly, never considered? Susan B. Fox. Don’t know her? Maybe you’ve heard of her sister, prominent Miami immigration attorney Tammy Fox-Isicoff. Talk about hints of tomorrow’s Miami! The Fox and Isicoff households offer convincing evidence that the future of the family unit looks stronger than ever.

Sometimes it is not easy to say precisely what constitutes ballot-stuffing. It’s a tricky business we’ve grappled with for years, so the future doesn’t look too promising on that front. Frankie’s Big City Grill, for instance, may have hand-delivered an elaborately designed container literally “stuffed” with ballots, but does that make it “ballot-stuffing”? Apparently the improv group Just the Funny has quite a few devoted fans who may or may not have received certain specific ballot instructions. Is that or is that not a problem? Mr. Izzy Havenick, whose family may or may not own Flagler Dog Track, seems to have a kennelful of friends with enough computer savvy to vote via our Website. But is there such a thing as electronic ballot-stuffing?

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