People & Places

  • Best Argument For Craig Robins's Continued Professional Success


    When asked about his New Urbanism-inspired development now under construction on Allison Island in Miami Beach -- a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood of moderate-height homes and townhouses -- Robins said what anyone offended by the condo canyon rising around South Beach longs to hear. "Everybody," he told the New York Times, "wants to build a 40-story building and sell you your shoebox… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    Cernuda Arte

    In 1988 Ramon Cernuda presided over an auction of paintings held at the Cuban Museum of Art and Culture. The works were created by Cuban artists who had not broken with the Castro regime. The new owner of Manuel Mendive's Pavo Real promptly stepped outside and set it ablaze in the presence of cheering protesters. (Twice the museum was severely… More >>
  • Best Impromptu Intervention

    Opa-locka. Dusk. The parking lot of an abandoned housing project. The potholed lot is empty save the car of a reporter, who has pulled over to take a cell-phone call. Up ahead a round-faced man wearing a black Martin Luther King T-shirt slowly winds toward the car. He is sipping from a longneck bottle of Budweiser. When he reaches the… More >>
  • Best Locally Produced Television Comedy

    El Mikimbin de Miami

    Mikimbin is Cuban slang for tacky, shoddy, lowbrow. Which perfectly describes the show and its completely tasteless hosts, Miguel "El Flaco" Gonzalez and Gilberto Reyes, a.k.a. Los Fonomemecos. They've been a fixture in Spanish-language Miami comedy circles for years, two Cuban immigrants earning their bread and butter with live appearances, principally at Club Tropigala at the Fontainebleau Hilton, and really… More >>
  • Best Shrine

    Elian's house

    This past November, when Delfin Gonzalez announced he had bought the modest Little Havana home where Elian stayed, and that he planned on turning it into a shrine, some people thought it would only serve to perpetuate -- even institutionalize -- the tensions that had split the community into warring factions. But that evening, when the winning numbers came up… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor

    Ray Lockhart

    This year Ray Lockhart proved that maybe you can trick the Devil, but you can't fool an audience. As Lem, the man who murdered Robert Johnson, Lockhart was not only pivotal to the play's denouement but also essential to the emotional chemistry onstage. Portraying a long-absent and embittered husband, Lockhart filled M Ensemble's tiny set with the emotional intensity and… More >>
  • Best Departure

    Rick Sanchez

    What more is there to say than "farewell"?… More >>
  • Best Actor

    Paul Tei

    Theatergoers found a lot of reasons to dislike Paul Tei this season. He played a cold-blooded child killer in New Theatre's Never the Sinner and a hot-blooded serial killer in GableStage's Popcorn. But he is so good at being bad that you can't really hold it against him. Tei is the kind of actor who looks at a role not… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Made Good

    Jeff Zucker

    This past December, when NBC named 35-year-old Miami native Jeff Zucker as the head of its entertainment division, he was not only one of the youngest hotshots to fill such a high-profile slot, he also was the first executive with a news background to take over the company's entertainment arm. And he's one of us: North Miami Senior High, class… More >>
  • Best Family Fun Center

    Tropical Fun Center

    No half-naked waitresses here. None of those annoying black-clad Dave and Buster's-style security guards talking into their walkie-talkies -- just good clean fun for the whole family. Well, maybe not so clean. The paintball does get pretty messy. Norm Kramer, owner and founder of Tropical Fun Center, is proud of his facility and with good reason: It is the only… More >>
  • Best Politician To Bid Farewell

    North Miami Mayor Frank Wolland

    In 1998, after eking out a victory in one of North Miami's ugliest mayoral elections ever, attorney Frank Wolland faced widespread doubts about his ability to overcome the town's growing racial and social rifts. At least a quarter of North Miami's 60,000 residents are Haitian; blacks now make up 55 percent of the population in this once-lily-white stronghold. Wolland's 1998… More >>
  • Best Local Zine


    Rumors of the zine form's death likely are premature, but our operatives inform us that at this juncture Rag appears to be one of the last specimens still available in paper at local CD stores. Free of charge. Every scene needs its scribes and, for example, did you know there are 116 rock bands in South Florida? Well, that's the… More >>
  • Best Local Politician

    Johnny Winton

    It goes without saying that in South Florida it's rare to find politicians who don't betray themselves and their constituents within 30 minutes of taking the oath of office. But the newest Miami City Commissioner, a quick study and a hard worker, has remained true to his beliefs: Always be honest and straightforward, keep citizens' interests first, no backroom funny… More >>
  • Best TV Station To Die In The Past Twelve Months


    Barry Diller's ballyhooed experiment in local programming died with the sale late last year of his thirteen-station USA Broadcasting company to Univision for $1.1 billion. WAMI was designed to be the flagship station in Diller's empire, a groundbreaking experiment that would revolutionize the industry. Instead it turned out to be a pathetic joke. In its two-and-a-half years on the air,… More >>
  • Best Car Wash

    Sunset Car Wash

    "Oooh!" our car squealed as a young Cuban fellow yanked open her doors and began vacuuming nooks and crannies she didn't even remember having. They'd been crudded up that long. Somehow he's able to distinguish and therefore not throw away the valuables lost in a thick layer of gym clothes, fast-food bags, spilled laundry detergent, and work papers we meant… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    Union Radio

    How can an AM station be best, you ask? This could be a comment on the state of things on your highly predictable, highly commercial FM dial. But another reason is that many of us in Miami-Dade are living in the past, in more ways than one. For example the First Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution in 1791,… More >>
  • Best Local Phantasmagoria

    Winds blows, storms flood, drought plagues, citrus canker rages, Elian goes home, Warshaw goes down, MIA radar goes down, Shalala arrives, Reno returns, Stierheim's out, juice bars are out, pirate radio lives, Bicentennial Park lives, Emilio Milian dies, Frosene Sonderling dies, Milt Sosin dies, Brickell Key gets built up, South Beach gets built up, Performing Arts Center still not built,… More >>
  • Best Local Writer

    Fred D'Aguiar

    Most writers ardently believe in the power of language. Fred D'Aguiar believes in the power of the word. In that way he is a poet even when he writes prose. His fiction displays the poet's love for the word's evocative, lyrical, sensual resonance. In Feeding the Ghosts, published in the United States by Ecco Press in 1999, D'Aguiar prefigures the… More >>
  • Best Miami Herald Writer

    Kathleen Krog

    The lady has cojones, which is more than we can say for the rest of the editorial page. Krog spends most of her time writing unsigned editorials, typically on the subject of county government. But she also pens signed opinion columns, which are sassier. For instance in a recent column she blasted Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas for opposing the… More >>
  • Best Haitian Cultural Center

    Jakmel Art Gallery, Cultural Center, and Caribbean Backyard

    Walking along Biscayne Boulevard in the Edgewater neighborhood, you may have noticed a smiling sun rising above a wooden fence. On the other side sits a Haitian culture garden. In one corner two large eyes look out from an altar to the sensual Ezili. Toward the center of the garden a larger-than-life cutout of a leader of the Haitian revolution… More >>
  • Best Not-So-Cheap Thrill

    Swim with the dolphins

    True, animal-rights activists are up in arms about it, but it's difficult to resist the experience of actually getting into a tank and splashing around with the Seaquarium's dolphins. Shooting through the warm water like a, well, dolphin, watching them leap above and around you is a kick for kids and adults alike. But it's titillation with a price. You'll… More >>
  • Best Tourist Trap

    Coral Castle

    When Edward Leedskalnin died in Miami in 1951, he left behind a genuine Florida wonder. Leedskalnin said he built the Coral Castle for his sixteen-year-old fiancée who ended up rejecting him. To furnish the couple's fantasy manse, the five-foot-tall, 100-pound former lumberjack labored obsessively for twenty years. Under cover of darkness he quarried, carved, and positioned more than 1100 tons… More >>
  • Best Mile Of Miami

    SW Eighth Street between 12th and 21st avenues

    The symbolic heart of Little Havana once again is beating strong, thanks to an infusion of new blood from artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs. The old landmarks are still there. The smells of café cubano and oven-roasted pork still emanate from El Pub. Domino Park remains the site of some of the fiercest domino games and political conversation anywhere. And the… More >>
  • Best FM Radio Personality

    The Big Lip Bandit

    We want to send a shout out to the Big Lip Bandit. All right. All right. Okay. We'd kiss you if your lips weren't so big. All right. All right. Okay. A bppppppppppppppppppppppp raspberry your way, brother. The BL Bandit (actually a relatively modest-lipped Philadelphia native) has turned weeknights on 99 Jamz into a raucous and extremely social party in… More >>
  • Best Small-Town Parade

    WinterNational Thanksgiving Day Parade

    Leave the enormous helium-filled cartoon characters to those big-budget department-store spectacles in major metropolitan areas. The little City of North Miami's parade, which has plodded along NE 125th Street every Thanksgiving morning for the past 26 years, offers a satisfying sampling of marching bands, floats, classic cars, cheerleaders, baton twirlers, clowns, costumed characters, and Shriners. Topping things off: a local… More >>
  • Best Cuban Baseball Player (Recently Retired)

    Rene Arocha

    In 1991 Arocha became the first member of the Cuban national baseball team to defect to the United States, opening the floodgates for other Cuban peloteros such as El Duque, Osvaldo Fernandez, and Livan Hernandez. For that he will go down in history. Arocha didn't bag a multimillion-dollar contract like other Cuban players who followed. He signed with the St.… More >>
  • Best Quote

    "It's business as usual here."

    -- Miami mayoral spokesman Jay Rhodes, reassuring the public that everything was fine, even though his boss, Joe Carollo, had just spent the night in jail on domestic-violence charges.… More >>
  • Best Museum

    Historical Museum of Southern Florida

    People often say Miami has no history. Not true. And the Historical Museum of Southern Florida can prove it. This year's "Tropical Dreams" exhibition traces human activity in the region from the arrival of prehistoric peoples 10,000 years ago through the visit by Ponce de Leon in 1523, the building of Henry Flagler's FEC railroad in 1896, right up through… More >>
  • Best Pint-Size Newsletter

    Urban Forum

    Every successful liberation movement has its printed matter. American patriots rallied support for the U.S. Constitution with the Federalist Papers; students railed against the Vietnam War with rags like the Berkeley Barb; the Sandinistas published Barricada while wearing down the Somoza dictatorship. Here in Miami we have Urban Environment League's Urban Forum. The diminutive gazette (six by eight inches) is… More >>
  • Best Performance In Spanglish

    Michael John Garces

    Well, why not? This is one language in which at least 80 percent of Miami-Dade County residents can claim to have some proficiency. Besides making millions for the likes of Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan, bilingual performance, when done well, provides an entertaining aural experience and an intriguing oral history, as Michael John Garces proved in Agua Ardiente, the show… More >>
  • Best Party Of The Year

    Full-moon tribal gathering

    The only invitation you need to this soiree is a big, fat full moon climbing into the night sky. Each month, on the official calendar night of the full moon, an often motley but gentle crew assembles on the sand -- with no central planning and no velvet rope. The crowd can grow as large as 500; 1000 is not… More >>
  • Best Heat Player

    Anthony Mason

    Mason could be named the best Heat player simply for avoiding the sinful temptations of South Beach. Long known as one of the NBA's more volatile stars, during his pre-Heat days he racked up an impressive arrest record for gun possession, assault, battery on a police officer, endangering the welfare of a child, and public drunkenness. When he played for… More >>
  • Best Place For A First Date

    Dave & Buster's

    Since the object of a first date is getting to know the other person well enough to determine if you like him/her, consider Dave & Buster's the ideal venue. This sprawling 60,000-square-foot entertainment-and-dining complex offers a variety of options for learning about someone else. Consider the Million Dollar Midway, which features more than 200 interactive and virtual-reality games. See just… More >>
  • Best Place To Play Darts

    BB's Sports Bar

    Let's get right to the point: BB's has more steel-tip dartboards than any public establishment in the county (thirteen). And there are two separate dart-throwing areas, which means there is plenty of room for the hotshots from the Miami-Dade Darting Association and the rest of us hacks. The dozen or so teams from the association regularly hold matches at BB's,… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Art

    The Rooms

    The dreamer dreams that we are watching his dreams. On the back of the Buick Building in the Design District is a magical diptych by husband-and-wife artist team Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt. The 35-by-50-foot digital print of an original oil painting depicts a man sleeping peacefully in a bed. In the panel next to him is an Angel and… More >>
  • Best Syndicated Am Radio Personality

    Phil Hendrie

    "Are you for real?" asks a caller to The Phil Hendrie Show. "You must be making this up." For Miamians who enjoyed Hendrie's satirical shtick during the two-and-a-half years he broadcast on WIOD-AM (610), the impressionist master's syndicated return this year on WINZ-AM (940) is the best thing to happen to Miami radio since he left, two years ago. Sure… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Made Good

    Colleen Haskell

    Once she was just another young, attractive woman on South Beach. A student assembling a portfolio at the Miami Ad School, a part-time employee at Books & Books on Lincoln Road. Browsers who even noticed her behind the register probably never realized they were in the presence of "America's Sweetheart," as Bryant Gumbel would soon anoint her. Yet the cutest… More >>
  • Best Fusion Player

    Jim Rooney

    Rooney has enjoyed one of those Abe Lincoln careers: failure after failure until, unexpectedly, emerging as an extraordinarily capable leader. The little-known player out of C.W. Post University arrived in Miami after being waived by the MetroStars. He struggled for playing time, and when he did take the field, he didn't score a goal in 22 games. Under new coach… More >>
  • Best Place To Take Out-Of-Towners


    Park the car for the day and get on Miami's billion-dollar transportation boondoggle for a self-guided tour of the city. You can enter a station at any point along the 21-mile convex curve from Hialeah to Kendall. You'll travel a crazy parabola through neighborhoods as different from each other as the people are in this highly stratified society. The views… More >>
  • Best Park Manager

    Lee Niblock

    "A place as busy as this could really become a mess without good management," said an alligator to another one evening in the mangroves of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. "Yeah, I noticed one night them restrooms were cleaner than you'd normally expect, at least for Homo sapiens' restrooms." "Yep. Quite clean. They were actually stocked with soap and paper." "The Lighthouse… More >>
  • Best Festival

    Subtropics New Music Festival

    For thirteen years Miami has been lucky enough to host the weird and wonderful sounds of new music concocted by local composers and freaks from around the world. Festival director Gustavo Matamoros looks for artists who push the boundaries of that thing called music into an exploration of pure sound. The Subtropics' sound safaris will travel anywhere from the street… More >>
  • Best Stage Design

    Rich Simone

    This past season, every time a set caught the eye as aesthetically pleasing or clever, it was inevitably one of Rich Simone's creations. Simone's sets always seem to help bridge the gap between the audience and the actors, using the stage not only as a meeting point but also as a point of departure. Most recently his specialty seemed to… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Gone Bad

    Gilda Oliveros

    It was a harrowing fall. Before: Helps lead a successful zoning fight to keep denser housing out of suburban Hialeah Gardens. Touted as first Latina mayor in the United States when elected in 1989. Divorces Angel Ramos, loses seat in 1993, marries Angel Ramos again, becomes mayor again in 1995. Wears miniskirts with blazers. After: Swept up in storm of anonymous… More >>
  • Best Locally Produced Drama

    The Music Lesson

    The Music Lesson dismantled the myth that good drama must arise from a dramatic situation. A couple of musicians, Irena and Ivan, take refuge in Pittsburgh from war-torn Sarajevo and end up giving music lessons to American children from a broken family. What made this drama exceptional was the acting. The alienation and suffering these individuals felt moved through the… More >>
  • Best Hidden Neighborhood

    El Portal

    This tiny, bucolic slice of South Florida, incorporated as a city in 1937 and sandwiched between the cities of Miami and Miami Shores west of Biscayne Boulevard at NE 86th Street, almost feels like a hippie commune in Vermont. Dogs roam freely, people actually sit on their porches. But the lush subtropical foliage (a sanctuary for birds, according to a… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Bridget Connors

    An actor's success in a dramatic role can fall into one of two categories: the ability to make the unbelievable believable, and the ability to make the believable unbelievably incredible. Bridget Connors managed to do both in her role as a young Jewish woman dying of a terminal illness. That's the believable part. Rachel's plight easily could have been a… More >>
  • Best Renovation

    Miracle Theatre

    Thanks to the work of Barbara Stein, this 54-year-old landmark is in the final phase of a seven-million-dollar renovation that will return the Miracle Theatre to its former glory. For Stein this has been a labor of love since 1995. Along with her husband, Stein founded the Actors' Playhouse theater company in Kendall thirteen years ago but eventually relocated to… More >>
  • Best Sportscaster

    Edemio Nava

    Broadcasting sports news to Cuba exclusively, which is Edemio Nava's job description, has to be a uniquely challenging task. Radio Martí's mission as a U.S. government station is to provide the people of Cuba with unbiased information not available to them in the state-controlled media. Often that information is about Cuban sports heroes who once were celebrated in the media… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Gone Bad

    Hugh Rodham

    Baby Huey became the poster child for the Clinton pardon scandal when it was revealed he had received more than $400,000 to work on a pair of clemency petitions, both of which ultimately succeeded. A former public defender, Rodham seemed to spend all eight years of the Clinton administration trying to find ways to cash in on being the First… More >>
  • Best Solo Show

    The Devil's Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith

    Very early on in The Devil's Music, Miche Braden belted out a low blues note to let everyone know this woman is not just an actress; she's also a phenomenal singer. But Braden's acting was the real prize. The range of her characterization was sassy, wise, bitter, and flirtatious. She was inexhaustible, singing thirteen gut-wrenching tunes in 90 minutes with… More >>
  • Best Place To Meet Single Men

    Russian and Turkish Baths

    It can be a little difficult to tell if the men indeed are single, since sitting in saunas and baths is an easy excuse to take off that ring. And a certain percentage are going to be tourists, seeing as how this is in a hotel. But a surprising variety of employed, respectable men make their way to Miami's most… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actress

    Tanya Bravo

    To succeed in a supporting role, an actress must know her part within the context of the play as well as the character itself, and Tanya Bravo is one local actress who accomplishes this so consistently that her presence on the cast list always ensures an enigmatic evening of drama. She possesses the intensity and stage presence of an actress… More >>
  • Best Flacks

    Mayco Villafaña and Rhonda Barnett

    Government flacks are essential, and not just to disseminate information during emergencies like hurricanes or sewage spills. Good ones help journalists extract key, sometimes incriminating, public records from the bureaucratic maw. Whether they are called public-information officers, media-relations managers, or press agents, the best ones share some common traits: They are briskly efficient, and they understand the news business. Former… More >>
  • Best Radio Personality (Posthumous)

    Emilio Milian

    Milian was a voice for freedom and tolerance in a city that hasn't always understood those words. In 1976 terrorists tried to silence Milian by planting a bomb under his car. He survived the blast but lost both legs. "Six months after the bombing he walked out of a hospital on artificial legs," Milian's son Alberto noted during the eulogy… More >>
  • Best Way To Renew Your Driver License

    By appointment

    True, we renew our licenses only once every six years, but on that fateful day (which, cruelly, comes on our birthday), most of us would rather wake up dead than confront the idea of three hours at the DMV. No more. Thanks to the forward-thinking folks at the division of driver licenses, you can now schedule an appointment at the… More >>
  • Best TV News Anchor

    Kelly Craig

    As Grandma used to say, that Kelly Craig is a hoot. A member of the NBC 6 team since 1990, Craig cohosts the 10:00 a.m. edition of Today in South Florida with Gerri Helfman and Bob Mayer. Although it's an odd hour for a newscast, it does have its own cult following. One of the principal reasons people tune in… More >>
  • Best About-Face

    Latin Grammys

    What a difference a year makes. Back then Miami-Dade County was snubbing the Latin Grammys. Now Mayor Alex Penelas and Cuban American National Foundation chairman Jorge Mas Santos are rolling out the red carpet for the awards show. Why? Technically it's because a U.S. Supreme Court decision effectively nullified the county ordinance that barred groups that do business with Cuba… More >>
  • Best Weathercaster

    Bill Kamal

    It's all in the eyes. Those deep, penetrating eyes. You just know that when Bill Kamal says it's going to rain, it will rain. Watching him, you get the feeling he isn't just predicting the weather; he actually can see the weather, the same way a psychic sees the future. How else to explain the fact that he was the… More >>
  • Best Power Couple

    Aileen Ugalde and Joe Garcia

    They are the children of the Cuban exiles who formed modern Miami, and they are among those who will shape the future of the United States. There also is the possibility they will play leading roles in a future Cuba. But regardless of how things shake out in their ancestral home, Garcia and Ugalde are a force to be reckoned… More >>
  • Best Local Website

    It's too easy. That's the problem. Just get online, punch up or, click the mouse a few times, whip out the credit card, and boom! Any book you want delivered to your door in just a few days. Unfortunately the convenience of online shopping has usually come at the expense of deserving local bookstores. Until now. Books and… More >>
  • Best Business Name

    La Experiencia Crankshaft

    La Experiencia Crankshaft… More >>
  • Best Panthers Player

    Viktor Kozlov

    If right wing Pavel Bure remains the Panthers' superstar, a goal addict forever in search of his next fix, then center Viktor Kozlov serves as his pusher. Kozlov, who skates with Bure on the team's number one line, feeds a steady supply of dazzling passes toward his Russian countryman. Kozlov is the best stick handler in the league. The attention… More >>
  • Best Heroes

    The past year has provided uplifting proof that there is no shortage of locals willing to risk their lives to help others in a uniquely South Florida jam: rescuing people who have driven off the road into a canal. Remember these heroes next time you hear someone badmouthing Miami and its rude citizens. •November 4, 2000: Four Miami-Dade police officers --… More >>
  • Best Spanish-Language Radio Personality

    Matias Farias

    Miami's Spanish-language talk radio all too often suffers from a conformity that ill serves listeners, and from analysis that could more accurately be described as propaganda. For these reasons Col. Matias Farias's shows on weekday mornings and Thursday evenings are so refreshing. Where else on Spanish-language radio could one hear Commissioner Jimmy Morales dissect the Marlins stadium deal or listen… More >>
  • Best Airport By Default

    Miami International Airport

    The smart flier used to love Fort Lauderdale's airport. Whereas Miami's airport is chaotic and crowded, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International was almost shockingly easy to navigate. Short-term parking was easy to find, so picking up and dropping off were a breeze. Long-term parking cost only three bucks per day. But Broward officials have made the tragic decision to buff up their… More >>
  • Best Marlins Player

    Charles Johnson

    He has a World Series ring -- a ring he won with the Marlins. He has four consecutive gold gloves. More than anyone else he will be responsible for harnessing the exciting young pitching talent the team has stockpiled. He's improving as a batsman. He's a Marlin by choice, signing a free-agent contract with Florida at well below his market… More >>
  • Best Soup Kitchen

    Miami Rescue Mission

    Almost 80 years after John and Zada Schleucher founded a program to help Miami's poor, the Miami Rescue Mission is still serving "soup, soap, and salvation" to the city's lost souls. The mission has grown into a multifaceted facility featuring residential programs for men and women, a thrift store, an education center, and a companion operation in Broward County. Every… More >>
  • Best Vertically Challenged Basketball Player

    A.J. Castro

    Southwest Miami High School's boys basketball team, led by five-foot eight-inch point guard A.J. Castro, gave its win-starved fans much to cheer about this year. After decades of lackluster seasons, the Eagles squad tallied a 22-7 record, upsetting perennial powerhouses and reaching the county finals for Class 6A play. At one point the gutsy Cinderella team was ranked second in… More >>
  • Best Sanctuary From The Fast Track

    Black Point Marina

    There is something pleasantly dreamlike and unreal about Black Point Marina. It's an improbable mix of natural and human construction. On some sea charts the area is known as "the featherbeds." Dog walkers have been known to meet crocodiles on Black Point's walkways. To the south looms the region's only peak, Mount Trashmore. At the marina's dockside restaurant and bar,… More >>
  • Best Drag Queen


    Drag queens are like birthday cakes: layered and coated with thick frosting painstakingly applied to evoke strong reactions. The cake most full of surprises in this town full of queens is Ivana, the shiny-lipped, bawdy broad from Buenos Aires. When she struts atop the bar at Cactus in white hot pants and go-go boots, be prepared for an onslaught of… More >>
  • Best Bolt

    NBC 6 splits for Broward

    Not only did our friends at WTVJ-TV (Channel 6) abandon South Florida's first television studio -- conveniently located across from the federal courthouse in downtown Miami -- to better bring us gripping developments from Plantation City Hall, and not only did they leave a physical and metaphorical black hole downtown, they also desecrated the structural shell they left behind. On… More >>
  • Best Baseball Camp

    Red Berry's Baseball World

    Since 1965 Red Berry has been teaching youngsters to pitch, catch, bat, and spit like a major leaguer. At various times he also has served as a coach for the University of Miami Hurricanes and a professional baseball scout. He likes to claim at least some of the credit for the careers of players who went on to play for… More >>
  • Best Mob

    Republican hooligans

    Who will ever forget those images of well-dressed young men with neatly cropped hair pounding on the doors of the Miami-Dade County Elections Department during the height of the presidential recount? And when a few of them erroneously thought county Democratic Party chairman Joe Geller was trying to steal ballots, they pounced on him like he was the last piece… More >>
  • Best Fashion-Forward Fin

    O.J. McDuffie

    Dolphins wide receiver O.J. McDuffie knows you can't play good unless you feel good. And you can't possibly feel good unless you ... look good. That's why, before a big home game against rival Buffalo, McDuffie petitioned head coach Dave Wannstedt to toss out the garish green pants the team had worn at home for the past three seasons in… More >>
  • Best Lawyers

    Stanley and Susan Rosenblatt

    Um, $145 billion. Yeah, that's with a b. That's how much this husband-and-wife team won for their clients in July 2000. The astounding award was the culmination of a seven-year legal battle against the nation's tobacco industry, and it all played out in the Miami courtroom of Judge Robert Kaye. The Rosenblatts' argument was deceptively simple: "My key strategy was… More >>
  • Best Spanish-Language Production

    La Ultima Parada

    Miami theater is as alive and thriving en español as it is in English. From the reputable Teatro Avante to the burgeoning number of small theaters on SW Eighth Street, there's much to be said for local Spanish-language theater. But this season director Rolando Moreno's Spanish adaptation of Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire took the prize. La Ultima Parada… More >>
  • Best Power Babes

    Janet Reno and Donna Shalala

    The Cagney and Lacey of the Clinton administration are now in South Florida. There was never much doubt that native Miamian Janet Reno would return home, even with the hard feelings among Cuban Americans over Elian. But landing Donna Shalala as the new president of the University of Miami was indeed a coup. For political junkies looking to add a… More >>
  • Best Dolphins Player

    Zach Thomas

    How to prove your mettle: After coming off another stellar year, injure your right ankle in an early season victory over New England. Miss five full starts. During your absence watch other teams run over your replacements as if they were Bermuda grass. Come back even though you're still in so much pain you feel, you say, "like an old… More >>
  • Best Fiscal X-Ray

    "Money Makeovers"

    Call it a mixture of financial planning and public confession. "Money Makeovers," a column appearing every other Sunday in the Miami Herald's business section, is an addictive snapshot of a community's fiscal health. Readers volunteer to have their finances scoped by a certified financial analyst. While the volunteers receive free financial advice, they also must put their often-disastrous financial history… More >>
  • Best Local Sports Coach

    Larry Coker

    What, you thought we were going to give it to Butch Davis? After that scurrilous former Canes coach bolted for Cleveland, and after offensive coordinator Coker took over the school's prestigious head football post, the status of Miami's recruiting class looked shaky. Coaches from rival schools told the talent pool that Coker wasn't a big-time coach, that he didn't have… More >>
  • Best New Law

    Gun locks

    Led by Mayor Julio Robaina, the City of South Miami passed an ordinance last year requiring gun owners to place safety locks on all weapons. The measure is intended to reduce the number of accidental shootings, especially those involving children. "We're trying to protect the safety of the children of this community," Robaina declared. "And this is just the beginning."… More >>
  • Best AM Radio Personality

    Joe Rose

    Let's give it up, finally, for the Big Dog, Joe Rose. The former Miami Dolphin wide receiver is as close to a Miami sports institution as we have at this time, at least since Dan Marino and Don Shula have retired. Hard to believe in a way. Rose hardly distinguished himself as an athlete. (His greatest claim to fame, which… More >>
  • Best Local Cult Icon


    When songwriter Robert "Raven" Kraft made a New Year's resolution in 1975 to jog along the Miami Beach shore every day for a year, he didn't think he'd attract a following. But after 26 years of late-afternoon runs (even through gale-force hurricane winds), and after logging 76,500 miles, the man was bound to get attention. A coterie of locals, old-timers,… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery With Atmosphere

    Wallflower Gallery - CLOSED

    Hidden among the storefronts of downtown's shopping district is a horde of local talent: musicians and artists, poets and dancers. On any given night, many of them can be found at the Wallflower Gallery. Never heard of it? Well, listen up. You're the one missing out. Gallery hours are 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Performance events take… More >>
  • Best Magic City Icon

    Bank of America Tower

    The array of lights illuminating the 47-story Bank of America Tower quite literally provides a beacon in a city that too often seems to lose its way. Public officials are hauled off in disgrace at an alarming rate. Racial and ethnic tensions threaten to boil over at any moment. Cold-war passions still dominate civic life. But on any given night… More >>
  • Best Local Artist

    Glexis Novoa

    If any single artist traces the trajectory of art in Miami from local pastime to global force, it's this graduate of Havana's vaunted Eighties Generation, who arrived in South Florida via Mexico City's alternative scene in the mid-Nineties. Novoa has steadily widened the frame of reference for his political critique to include not only Castro's Cuba but the shimmering promises… More >>
  • Best Hotel

    Mandarin Oriental

    Known the world over for opulent accommodations, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group constructed its latest masterpiece adjacent to downtown on overcrowded Claughton Island, also known as Brickell Key. A November 2000 opening introduced Miamians to a heretofore unknown brand of low-key luxury. More than $100 million was spent on the wedge-shaped building, which includes a serene lobby accented by elegant… More >>
  • Best Ensemble Cast

    The Laramie Project

    Artistic director Michael Hall did South Florida theatergoers two favors this season. First he brought the socially relevant and riveting docudrama The Laramie Project to his stage. It was the first production after the play's off-Broadway debut. Second he assembled a troupe with the range and experience to make the production not only important theater but good theater as well.… More >>
  • Best Farmers' Market

    Coconut Grove Farmers' Market

    The operative word is organic. This is the place to find it fresh and in a pleasant, natural setting. Cactus fruit and mustard greens, rutabaga and nectarines. Flax seeds and bee pollen to lift you up. Rows of tight green asparagus bundles, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. A rainbow of peppers like you won't believe: purple, green, red, yellow, orange. Fantastic… More >>
  • Best Theater For Drama

    Coconut Grove Playhouse - CLOSED

    What made Coconut Grove Playhouse stand out this season is the same phenomenon that made the birth of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup a hit -- the pairing of two things that normally don't go together. In this case two kinds of theater: the big-name, high-profile stars and full-scale productions the mainstage puts on, and the more intimate and diverse… More >>
  • Best Eligible Bachelor

    Dan LeBatard

    A repeat victory for the no-longer-so-boyish Herald columnist, who last won this award in 1996, following his arrest for disorderly intoxication at Johnny Rockets restaurant in Coconut Grove. (Charges were later dropped.) Five years later the still-single sportswriter has joined George Clooney, Derek Jeter, and Matt Damon as one of People magazine's "100 Most Eligible Bachelors." In the magazine LeBatard… More >>
  • Best Reading Series

    Writers on the Bay

    For more than fifteen years, the creative-writing program at Florida International University has been producing one of the more lively and interesting reading series in South Florida. Housed at the North Campus of FIU, the series runs in the spring and fall of each year and is free and open to the public. Among the authors who have recently attended… More >>
  • Best Hasty Retreat

    Joe Carollo walks out on Haitian legislator

    Many politicians, hoping to impress an increasingly influential voting bloc, attended the March 10, 2001, Fanm Ayisyèn Nan Myami (Haitian Women of Miami) fundraising banquet at a local hotel. Miami Mayor Joe Carollo was scheduled to award a key to the city to the featured speaker, Marie St. Fleur of Boston, the nation's first elected Haitian-American state representative. St. Fleur… More >>
  • Best Tour

    The Mystery, Murder, and Mayhem Bus Tour

    If you're gonna build a city in a swamp, expect slimy creatures. In Miami we actually import them. Mobsters, murderers, mayors -- it's just part of the attraction for tourists. Two or three times each year historian Paul George takes a lucky group on a bus tour to visit some of Miami's most infamous ghosts. He packs a lot in… More >>
  • Best Conspiracy Theory

    Miami actually is controlled by a secret cabal of gay Cuban men known as Los Pollos Tropicales. (All right, we made up the name, but we're pretty sure about the rest of it.) … More >>
  • Best One-Act Play

    Iphigenia in Orem

    Even those who aren't theater buffs love one-acts. Perhaps it's because our brains have been conditioned by too many Budweiser and Taco Bell commercials, but one-acts have the strange appeal of being enigmatic, energetic, and, most important, short. This season Chuck Pooler took the one-act a step further by packing Neil LaBute's Iphigenia in Orem with so many maniacal twists… More >>
  • Best Political Comeback

    Natacha Seijas

    As a member of the county commission since 1993, Natacha Seijas (the former Mrs. Natacha Millan) has perfected a foolproof method of alienating people. She's mean. She's arrogant. She can throw a scowl that cracks granite. And so as she prepared to run for re-election in 2000, most political observers predicted her time was up. Her archenemy, Hialeah Mayor Raul… More >>
  • Best TV Station

    WPLG-TV (Channel 10)

    Every station pays lip service to producing local programming designed to enlighten and educate the public, but WPLG makes good on that promise. Channel 10, for instance, was the only English-language station to broadcast a county mayoral debate last fall. And no other station in Miami devotes as much time to the problems plaguing the community. WPLG held a series… More >>
  • Best Way To Get Around South Beach

    If you absolutely, positively must go to South Beach, leave your car in the municipal lot at 45th Street and Collins Avenue, then walk to the nearby Eden Roc or Fontainebleau, where you can grab a cab any hour of the day or night.(Aside from the airport, these are the only places in Miami-Dade where taxis line up ten deep.)… More >>
  • Best Use Of A Small Space

    Performance Space 742

    Size does matter, you say? Well, when it comes to performance, there's one place in town where skill infinitely overrules dimensions: PS 742. Perhaps the only venue in Miami exclusively devoted to the promotion and production of South Florida artists, Little Havana's cozy PS 742 seats about 38 people comfortably, but even if there were 138, the word uncomfortable could… More >>
  • Best Periodiquito

    ¡Grita! The Voice of the Fighting Cuban

    Sometimes an activist craves a little action. In these post-Elian days, politicos of the Cuban-exile community are full of words like tolerance, understanding, and mutual respect. That's all fine and dandy, but it's also, well, a little boring. For any ideologues pining for the bomb-throwing glory days of el exilio, try an issue of ¡Grita!, where the prevailing sentiment is… More >>
  • Best Art Cinema

    Mercury Theatre

    With the closing of the Alliance Cinema on Lincoln Road, it looked as though this category would be consigned to the cultural graveyard. Conventional wisdom had it that nobody could withstand the gravitational pull of the multiplex. Besides that, it seemed as if an audience for art movies simply didn't exist in Miami -- or didn't exist in large-enough numbers… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill

    Dumpster diving in the Design District

    All you need is a sense of adventure and a willingness to get a little dirty. Need a chair? A bookcase? An African mask? Who knows what you'll discover in the stylish home-furnishings center of Miami. Sneak around the back alleys, lift a lid, hoist yourself up, and peer inside. One advantage: There are practically no restaurants here (apologies to… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    Regal South Beach 18

    Let's acknowledge that Lincoln Road is now the place to see movies in Miami Beach. Yes, it may be the only place, but still it's been ages since the hordes living on South Beach had a first-run movie theater within walking distance. Now they have a megaplex, a showplace with eighteen screens, a movie house that is as physically attractive… More >>
  • Best Gadfly

    Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club

    They get miffed about overdevelopment and lobbyists lurking at city hall. They've successfully battled high-rises, and don't even try to tell them what to do with their neighborhood's sidewalks. Go to just about any public meeting at Miami Beach City Hall, and you'll see a couple of them in the audience -- watching. They are members of the Tuesday Morning… More >>
  • Best TV News Reporter

    Jilda Unruh and "The Investigators"

    For more than a year now, Unruh and crew have been relentless in hammering away at incompetence and corruption in the biggest and arguably most important bureaucracy in Miami-Dade County: the public school district. They've chronicled misspent construction dollars, highly paid do-nothing employees, sex scandals, and nonexistent classes. Prying the lid off a secretive self-protective government entity ain't easy, but… More >>
  • Best Promoter Of Cultural Diversity

    Dade Heritage Trust

    The county's architectural, cultural, and environmental heritage is precious and should be preserved. At least what's left of it should be preserved. For the past 25 years, the Dade Heritage Trust has worked to save historic sites (the Cape Florida lighthouse, the Miami Circle), restore historic properties, improve historic neighborhoods, and instill a sense of place and community in Miami's… More >>
  • Best Place To Drink Like A Fish

    Underwater bar

    How low can you go? At this underwater watering hole, you can go about twenty feet down, to the sandy floor of the ocean. Think of it this way: Even if you hit rock bottom, you'll never again have to moan, "How dry I am!" Here you're as likely to see a mermaid as a barmaid. In a marketing stunt… More >>
  • Best Kids' Thrill

    Lion Country Safari

    All right, so the winner isn't actually in Miami. What's more important -- your children's happiness or simple logistics? Exactly. Drive eighteen miles west of West Palm Beach on State Road 441, and you'll be at Lion Country Safari, where the kids can observe beasts in their nearly natural environment, as opposed to watching out for them in school hallways.… More >>
  • Best Hurricanes Football Player

    Ken Dorsey

    The numbers alone are enough. This sophomore quarterback from Orinda, California, set a team record for pass attempts without an interception. He led the Big East in passing yardage and total offense, earning first-team all-conference honors ahead of Virginia Tech magician Michael Vick. The future alone is enough. In only his first full season as a starter, Dorsey played an… More >>
  • Best Retirement

    Janet Reno

    While serving as the nation's first female attorney general, Reno appointed special prosecutors six times to investigate top officials in the Clinton administration, more than any other attorney general before her. Yes, she botched the raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, where more than 80 people died. And snatching Elian from his relatives in Little Havana didn't… More >>
  • Best Film Festival

    FIU-Miami International Film Festival

    This year was a glorious one for the city's largest film festival. Getting off to a head start last December with the Miami premiere of Julian Schnabel's tour de force, Before Night Falls, the late-February event presented one of the best selections in the eighteen years since its inception. From the riveting French period drama The Widow of St. Pierre… More >>
  • Best Local Landmark

    El Centinela del Rio

    New Yorkers have Miss Liberty towering above their harbor. Washingtonians have the noble Pocahontas perched atop the U.S. Capitol. And Miamians have a 21-foot-tall, virtually naked Tequesta Indian blowing into a conch shell on the grounds of the Three Tequesta Point condominium tower at the mouth of the Miami River. He stands on a nineteen-foot coral-rock pedestal surrounded by palm… More >>
  • Best Injury

    Ricky Bones

    The Florida Marlins pitcher had to be scratched from his scheduled May 11, 2000, home start against the Braves because he strained his back while rising from a reclining chair in front of his clubhouse's television set. … More >>
  • Best Political Miscalculation

    Coral Gables City Hall Annex

    As the mayor of Coral Gables for the past eight years, Raul Valdes-Fauli treated the electorate as if they were serfs and he their lord and master. He was more than haughty. He was brazenly contemptuous of the public. Drunk with power, he did his best to turn the City Beautiful into the City Hideous by disregarding its history and… More >>
  • Best Reissued Book By A Local Author

    Up for Grabs: A Trip Through Time and Space in the Sunshine State

    Sixteen years after its original publication, Up for Grabs has been returned to print by the University Press of Florida, and it is as relevant as ever. As its author, John Rothchild, notes in the freshly written afterword to this enlightening local history, anyone pining for a more innocent era of our city's development needs to get a clue: "Miami… More >>
  • Best Disappearing Act

    Judge Federico Moreno "disappears" the Cuba ordinance

    "There is a substantial likelihood that the “Cuba Affidavit' will be found unconstitutional," Moreno declared in a seventeen-page ruling in May of last year. And with that he suspended the so-called Cuba ordinance, which required that anyone conducting business with Miami-Dade County sign a document vowing not to transact business with Cuba or with any business that conducts business with… More >>
  • Best Trade

    Eddie Jones, Anthony Mason, Ricky Davis, and Dale Ellis for P.J. Brown, Jamal Mashburn, Tim James, Rodney Buford, and Otis Thorpe

    Eddie Jones, Anthony Mason, Ricky Davis, and Dale Ellis for P.J. Brown, Jamal Mashburn, Tim James, Rodney Buford, and Otis Thorpe… More >>
  • Best Joyful Miami Herald Writer

    Terry Jackson

    Oh, how many, many times have we heard the complaints: You newspaper people only care about bad news. Everything you print is so negative. Why can't you ever write about the good things? How about being uplifting for a change? Well, we are delighted to announce that someone has been listening. Someone who cares. Someone who works at the malevolent… More >>
  • Best Local Director

    Joe Adler

    In an interview with New Times last year, GableStage artistic director Joe Adler said, "Television, and to some extent movies, is about maintaining a level of mediocrity. This is not the case with theater. It's a much bigger commitment. The audience is a participant." Adler combined his numerous years of film and TV experience with his passion and directorial savvy,… More >>
  • Best Bumper Sticker

    Born Again Voodooist

    Born Again Voodooist… More >>
  • Best Erratum

    "Newspaper rewrites paragraph, reveals possible Castro infiltration of U.S. government radio station"

    For reasons unknown it was a banner year for errata brimming with political intrigue, even paranoia. Any number of conspiracy theories spring to mind while reading them. For example an El Nuevo Herald story that ran July 20, 2000, reported that fallout from the Elian saga had caused a decline in Republican Party membership in these parts. Wait a minute.… More >>
  • Best Chutzpah

    Miami-Dade County School Board

    Last December the school board brushed aside a proposal by its maverick member, Marta Perez, to create an ethics commission that would act as a watchdog over the district. Why? Millions squandered on questionable land purchases. Fortunes spent to settle sexual-harassment lawsuits. Administrators with diploma-mill degrees. Overcrowded classrooms. Underpaid teachers. Unwelcome parents. But in rejecting the measure, Perez's colleagues argued… More >>
  • Best Turncoat

    Alex Penelas

    "Hence! Wilt thou lift up Florida?" "Great Gore --" "Doth not Alex bootless kneel?" "Speak, hands for me!" "Et tu, Alex? Then fall, Gore."… More >>
  • Best Place To Make Up

    NE Second Avenue beneath the I-395 overpass

    If you want to get back together good and fast, just spend a half-hour or so together in this dark, desolate zone of urban destitution. Seven years ago a huge homeless encampment known as the Mud Flats was spread out here, and despite a multimillion-dollar cleanup and relocation, the area is still a haven for people with serious problems: window-washers,… More >>
  • Best Tollbooth

    Broad Causeway

    Maybe it's the unobstructed view of the Intracoastal Waterway one gets driving along this winding strip of road that connects Bay Harbor Islands to North Miami. Perhaps it's the fact that, with relatively little traffic coming through, the tollbooth operators will take not only your money but the time to wish you a nice day or a good evening. Whatever… More >>
  • Best Place To Meet Single Women

    Mango's Tropical Café

    The frozen drinks and spicy merengue beat have a way of shaking loose a girl's inhibitions. This Ocean Drive patio bar is full of out-of-town women looking for a Miami adventure. Slick back your hair, splash on the alluring cologne, and join the local Lotharios on the dance floor. Don't worry if you don't know how to salsa. If you… More >>