People & Places

  • BEST CIVIC DECEPTION

    You have to hand it to the City of Miami. Faced with the daunting task of persuading voters to pass yet another bond issue to improve the same parks the city had failed to improve after two previous bond issues, commissioners were wringing their hands over this difficult sales job. Then terrorists felled the World Trade Center in New York.… More >>
  • BEST RADIO STATION

    Power 96 WPOW-FM (96.5)

    The pop-radio wars have just begun. Dance-only upstart WPYM-FM (93.1) calls out the big dogs at Power 96 to put up or shut up. Power takes the bait and responds decisively. Sure it plays more commercials, and it saturates us regularly with hip-hop we've heard before, but Power still spins the better dance music, particularly after hours, and it gets… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL PHANTASMAGORIA

    Rain stops, drought threatens, Okeechobee drops, tolls rise, cops shoot, kids die, manatees die, Pan Courtelis dies, Shepard Broad dies, Elizabeth Virrick Park lives, Cubans get smuggled, John Boles gets fired, Tony Perez gets hired, Cuevas gets fired, Stierheim gets hired, the Beach goes hip-hop, Latin Grammys arrive, rain arrives, Latin Grammys split, Reno runs, AIDS infects, more cops shoot,… More >>
  • BEST MOVIE THEATER

    Intracoastal Cinema

    Being a cineaste in Miami means making your peace with malls. Over the past few years most choice indies and foreign flicks have landed at either the eighteen-screen South Beach Regal or one of the area's other multiplexes -- not our hit-and-miss art houses. So getting your celluloid fix has meant braving arena-size crowds and nightmarish parking. Fortunately the new… More >>
  • BEST TOLL BOOTH

    Golden Glades Interchange

    Bumper to bumper to bumper on I-95. Multicar pileup? Construction? Who cares? You're stuck. But the left lane promises release. You careen up and onto the turnpike. The on-ramp curves up and around and so do you, swerving madly to avoid the little blue Toyota doing 20 and the silver Lexus doing 90, both of which want your spot. Having… More >>
  • BEST ART CINEMA

    Bill Cosford Cinema

    This ain't the Waverly in Greenwich Village or anything, but it's as close as Miami gets. Part of the pleasure of going to the Cosford is meandering through that gorgeous, lush (and very non-NYC) University of Miami campus. The magic room on the second floor of Memorial Hall is where we get to see, a year or two after the… More >>
  • BEST SMALL-TOWN PARADE

    Three Kings Parade

    They line up hours in advance, sitting on lawn chairs and atop plastic coolers. Kids with balloons tied to their wrists drink orange sodas and nibble on sugar bread purchased from Calle Ocho bakeries doing brisk business. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen walks by prior to the start, absorbing the throaty cheers of her core constituency. Miami's Three Kings Parade debuted in 1971… More >>
  • BEST ART CHAT

    Pillow Talk

    Beach House Bal Harbour

    Film and theater directors and actors, poets and writers have been allowing audience members to have at them for years in frank exchanges about content and merit, seriousness and triviality. Now the Rubell family, boutique hoteliers and major art collectors, are applying the principle to visual artists. Several times a year accomplished artists like Jeff Koons, Andres Serrano, Ross Bleckner,… More >>
  • BEST PASSPORT OFFICE

    Miami City Hall

    Renewing a passport can be a pain. You have to call for an appointment, then you have to wait two weeks or so, then you have to go downtown, then you have to wait, and then -- well, like we said, it's definitely a hassle. Not so at Miami City Hall. The extremely professional city clerk's office offers a painless… More >>
  • BEST TV STATION

    City of Miami Television (Channel 9)

    This is no joke. Jim Clark, a former WAMI-TV (Channel 61) sports producer with otherwise good credentials, began whipping Channel 9 into shape in the fall of 2001. Under his guidance we can still witness extraordinary performances by one of South Florida's best acting troupes, the Miami Commission, but now we can enjoy the show without the garbled audio. The… More >>
  • BEST HOTEL

    Biltmore Hotel

    Before you enter this 76-year-old landmark, you already know you're close to paradise. The magnificent Giralda Tower, languorously and glamorously lit against the blue-black Florida night sky, is one clue. But as you walk from parking lot to pool area, the smell of jasmine is so heavy you lose your bearings. Where are you? In a world of which you… More >>
  • BEST FILM FESTIVAL

    Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

    Really, this is more an award for founder/director Robert Rosenberg than it is for a collection of films. As we saw this year with the Miami Film Festival, there's more to creating a successful event than meets the camera's eye. Rosenberg started his fest four years ago with a combination of love, enthusiasm, a good curatorial eye, and a healthy… More >>
  • BEST LOBBY

    Radisson Deauville Resort

    The lobby of architect Melvin Grossman's classic Fifties hotel is a monument to space-age design, space-age glamour, and just plain space. Think MiMo (Miami Modernism) meets Grand Central Station. Massive decorative columns hold up an imposing plaster canopy in the center of the room. Underneath it five separate islands of couches and chairs float on a sea of vintage marble… More >>
  • BEST PIT STOP

    Wayside Fruit and Vegetable

    Pit stop not really required, though for joggers and bikers it's ideal. This roadside fresh fruit, vegetable, chocolate brownie, and fruity milkshake stand, located on an otherwise residential stretch of Red Road, is worth a trip all by itself. Located far (and not so far) from the madding crowds of U.S. 1 and the Shops at Sunset Place, and just… More >>
  • BEST CAR WASH

    Joel Alfonso's mobile wash

    The thing is, he'll come to you on those weekends when the bird doo-doo has piled up on your hood from trying to park under trees to avoid the sun, and when you just don't feel like negotiating the traffic to get to the cheapo deals along NE Second Avenue or the expensive sloshings in the parking garages of Brickell… More >>
  • BEST PIT STOP ON THE WAY TO KEY WEST

    The Lor-e-lei

    Mile Marker 82

    This bar, restaurant, and marina is more than merely a pit stop for hungry tourists on their way to Key West. It's a piece of Islamorada history, a place to bask in the warm sun and the spirit of the Keys, and it's a popular watering hole for locals. Start your visit with a fresh fish sandwich and a cold… More >>
  • BEST HIDDEN NEIGHBORHOOD

    Bel Mar Estates

    Sailboats and small pleasure craft float in front of historic Twenties and Thirties homes. Neighbors enjoy leisurely sunset walks along the water. One of South Florida's myriad gated communities? Try again. An affluent, private residential island sandwiched between Miami Beach and the mainland? Nope. Would you believe unincorporated Miami-Dade County? It's true. This eight-square-block area, located between NE 87th and… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL SPORTS COACH

    Larry Coker

    University of Miami football

    We know he's duller than dirt. Hell, he knows it. And as soon as he loses a game and/or doesn't win a national championship, New Times, shallow and fickle publication that we are, will hold it against him. But until then, Larry, congrats: You da man!… More >>
  • BEST CURE FOR AIDS ISOLATION

    The Center for Positive Connections

    Positive Connections was unique seven years ago and remains one of the nation's few comprehensive support centers for HIV-positive heterosexuals. In 1995 Sheri Kaplan, newly diagnosed with HIV and feeling out of place at existing resource centers mainly catering to gay men, decided to start her own support group. Today Positive Connections, with the help of grants and donations, has… More >>
  • BEST TOURIST TRAP

    Casa Casuarina

    It's the train-wreck effect. No one walks by without slowing down, turning their heads. They lean in close to each other and whisper. "Versace," "shot," "steps." Casa Casuarina, now the property of North Carolina telecommunications mogul Peter Loftin, sits in ostentatiously grand Mediterranean style in the middle of Ocean Drive, awaiting its transformation into an unaffordable boutique hotel. Orange tape… More >>
  • BEST BUREAUCRAT

    Merrett Stierheim

    In a town where far too many public servants graduated from the school of corruption and incompetence, Merrett Stierheim stands out as a beacon in the darkness. Since 1959, when he began his career as an assistant manager with the City of Miami, Stierheim has kept an able hand on the tiller of our biggest and most complex governments, often… More >>
  • BEST ALTERNATIVE USE OF GALLERY SPACE

    Artemis (lab6 and PS 742)

    It's Cultural Friday over on SW Eighth Street, except there isn't really any culture. For that you need to go north a couple blocks and find this eclectic building. Upstairs: lab6 art gallery, showing new and alternative works, usually by locals. Downstairs: PS 742 performance space, featuring new and alternative productions from here and afar. On the sidewalk outside: alternative… More >>
  • BEST BUREAUCRAT TO LEAVE TOWN

    Steve Spratt

    In Miami-Dade County, Steve Spratt was always a little shocking. Low-key, competent, respected -- what could be more shocking in a county employee? Spratt was not only thoroughly informed but able to relay that information without lying, obfuscating, or double-talking. He was a budget expert who wasn't afraid to call a scheme a scam. Surely it was too much to… More >>
  • BEST HAITIAN RADIO UPGRADE

    Radio Carnivale

    WRHB-AM (1020)

    Radio Carnivale is the first Haitian-owned radio station in the nation (not counting pirate stations and two so-called FM subcarriers that can be picked up only by a specially tuned radio). The Kreyol-language station went on the air in early 2001 after last-minute complications: a name and call-letter change and the resignation of its general manager. But more than a… More >>
  • BEST BUREAUCRAT TO STAY IN TOWN

    L. Douglas Yoder

    When Doug Yoder went to work for the county in February 1971 he was fresh out of Cornell University and full of youthful idealism. At the age of 24 he sincerely believed in the notion of public service. And guess what? Thirty-one years later he still does. Yoder has been with DERM since July 1977. In that time he has… More >>
  • BEST ART GALLERY

    Fredric Snitzer Gallery

    He's received this award before. He deserves it again. Not that Snitzer is alone these days in promoting the new, the local, the quality art. No indeed. Genaro Ambrosino's gallery, transplanted to North Miami, continues to showcase just that, as do those gallery-homes that stole much of the scene recently. Still if you only visited one gallery and it was… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE MEN

    Miami International Boat Show

    Annually in February

    While many locals complain about the snarled traffic and incessant bridge openings, single women should know otherwise. Not all of the close to 150,000 people who descend on Miami are men, and not all are rich. But lots are. And they're here to let loose, have some fun, and spend some money. Stroll the marinas and convention center and oooh… More >>
  • BEST NEW FILM TREND

    Free film-festival movies on the sand

    The Miami Film Festival's David Poland may have moved on, but it would be a shame if the former director's innovation of showing festival flicks free on the sands of South Beach -- on a 70-foot-high screen beneath the night sky -- went with him. (Organizers of Miami's Brazilian Film Festival have been doing this for years with great success.)… More >>
  • BEST GOSSIP COLUMN

    "Delly Dish" by Ralph Delly - Haitian Times

    Despite his friendly, low-key manner, Ralph Delly isn't shy about repeating the raciest tidbits circulating in the New York and Miami Haitian communities. In fact it's probably because Delly is so likable that prominent people (mostly entertainment and media types) tell him things -- you know, things that really matter, such as how the size of one band member's member… More >>
  • BEST MUSEUM

    Bass Museum of Art

    We waited and waited (and waited) for the old Bass Museum to reopen after an extensive, eight-million-dollar renovation and expansion. It turned out to be worth the wait. For more than three years the City of Miami Beach, which owns the museum, suffered through interminable, costly construction problems. First the roof fell in. Then a new concrete floor came crashing… More >>
  • BEST MAGIC CITY ICON

    Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, "The Fight Doctor"

    Old guy with a skeptical look and big horn-rims sitting in the last booth on the right at Enriqueta's on NE Second Avenue, rattling his newspaper, masticating his eggs, a magnet for fight and art fans throughout Miami, the Fight Doctor, Dr. Ferdie Pacheco. Remember him? For many years he worked Muhammad Ali's corner, through all the boxing classics --… More >>
  • BEST BOOK BY A LOCAL AUTHOR

    Florida Poems

    By Campbell McGrath

    McGrath, a Miami Beach resident and professor at Florida International University, moved here a few years ago and then set for himself a Whitmanesque challenge: Write a defining poem about his adopted home state. And then he had the temerity to call it "The Florida Poem." This piece, a highlight of the book, is long, sardonic, and conversational, and as… More >>
  • BEST CHEAP THRILL

    Wild & Crazy Bus Night

    Behold the big yellow school buses unleashed on a racetrack designed for stock cars, running figure eights, nearly crashing into each other, dumping fluids and parts where they shouldn't. Fun for the whole family! It's an exhibition, not a competition, held every other month at one of Florida's oldest speedways. And for a mere fifteen bucks the energized crowd of… More >>
  • BEST PULP FICTION

    Mob Over Miami

    By Michele McPhee

    There can't really be a more authentic South Beach tale than the rise of Chris Paciello, the New York small-time mobster who headed to Florida and glamorously reinvented himself as the crown prince of clubland. Splashed across the gossip pages, there he was canoodling with supermodels, dancing with Madonna, downing shots alongside Dennis Rodman inside his nightclubs Liquid and Bar… More >>
  • BEST NOT-SO-CHEAP THRILL

    Heckler & Koch Mark 23 .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun

    This superbly crafted sidearm is light enough for women and seniors, and it doesn't have the tremendous recoil of the old Colt blue-steel Army and Navy .45 models of yesteryear. Inspired by the great popularity of the Austrian Glock, it's a top seller in South Florida gunshops like Eagle Arms (14123 South Dixie Highway; 305-234-8446). At $763, without a… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL ARTIST

    William Cordova

    This Peruvian native likes intimacy. He uses words (English and Spanish), everyday items, penciled sketches, postcard-size spaces, kinetic video, even entire houses to bring us into the world of the private life. Cordova has described his art as a diary, but his personal life reflects our own colorful, diverse, alienated Miami life, which is one reason his works are so… More >>
  • BEST KIDS' THRILL

    Miami Ice Arena

    Our weather is no secret -- sun, sun, sun -- and our kids are used to it. Which is why they have a wardrobe consisting of shorts and cotton T-shirts rather than corduroy pants and wool sweaters. But Magic City munchkins can still get a cold-weather chill if they head up to North Miami and the only regulation-size ice-skating rink… More >>
  • BEST NEW ARTIST

    Kristen Thiele

    At the risk of starting a family feud, we'll venture to say that it isn't the accomplished Robert Thiele who's the true shining art star in town. It's Robert's own daughter Kristen, who's returned home from a spell in Chicago to take a studio at Lincoln Road's ArtCenter South Florida. And the Windy City's loss is definitely our gain. Kristen's… More >>
  • BEST POLITICAL MISCALCULATION

    Hurling a household object at your wife + cavorting with tawdry Latin bombshells = successful re-election.… More >>
  • BEST EMERGING ARTIST

    Norberto Rodriguez

    You know his work. Or maybe you don't know that you know. Rodriguez is rather hard to keep an eye on sometimes. Like his piece for what turned out to be the Art-Basel-replacement-event of the year at the Bass Museum, "globe>miami>island." His was the music you heard in the freight elevator, on the outside door of which were written the… More >>
  • BEST BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN THE KEYS

    Casa Morada

    The reason we love this all-suite hotel has nothing to do with the fact that it's only a block from the Lor-e-lei, the legendary waterfront restaurant and bar where you can get great fish sandwiches, down piņa coladas with a rum floater, and applaud the ever-setting sun. No, it has something to do with Casa Morada's terrazzo floors, resident iguanas,… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL WRITER

    Ricardo Pau-Llosa

    The title of this author's fifth book of poetry, The Mastery Impulse, forthcoming from Carnegie-Mellon University Press, pretty much sums it up: Pau-Llosa has got it down. Whether he's writing poetry, short fiction, or art criticism, this Miami Cuban knows how to reach his local as well as international audience. And once grabbed, we're kept. Pau-Llosa's first three poetry collections… More >>
  • BEST CHUTZPAH

    Pat Tornillo

    Valentine's Day, 2001. The scene: More than three dozen Miami notables, from county Mayor Alex Penelas and Commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler to Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce chairman Philip Blumberg and United Way chief Harve Mogul, gather before the school board and urge members to grant bumbling back-slapper Roger Cuevas another two years in office as superintendent of schools. Union-boss-for-life Pat… More >>
  • BEST DRAG QUEEN

    Elaine Lancaster

    Why Elaine? Here's one reason: At a recent Perry Ellis fashion show, this South Beach diva famous for her killer Cher impression had the unenviable task of working the crowd following the parade of beauties who had just pranced down the runway. The fashion elites, with their low tolerance for tacky, were restless. Rather than resort to the common drag… More >>
  • BEST FLACK

    Mayco Villafaņa

    Mayco survived years in the trenches at county hall as a competent and fair-minded bureaucrat, only to be knocked off by county Manager Steve Shiver for -- gasp! -- releasing public information to the press! Shiver forced him to resign and then had the gall to seize his computer minutes later, a humiliating blow to a veteran professional like Villafaņa.… More >>
  • BEST TV NEWS ANCHOR

    Laurie Jennings

    WSVN-TV (Channel 7)

    Was that a wink? Is she flirting with me? Man, she seems happy tonight. Maybe she's tipsy. No, I think she's just flirting with me. Viewers of WSVN's nightly newscasts can be excused for wondering if Laurie Jennings is communicating directly with them via the tube. When she began at Channel 7 in February 1998, she was a mechanically rigid… More >>
  • BEST MIAMI MYSTERY

    No one can adequately explain the day-long, perpetual traffic jam on the westbound Dolphin Expressway (SR 836) just after you pass over Le Jeune Road and Miami International Airport appears on the north side of the road. This is our Bermuda Triangle, the place where time inexplicably vanishes. There never appears to be a good reason for the sudden crush… More >>
  • BEST TV NEWS REPORTER

    Benno Schmidt

    NBC 6 (WTVJ-TV)

    If there were a category for best hair on television, Schmidt would win hands down. That pompadour of his rises at least two feet above his head. Even more impressive is his voice: deep, serious, pontifical. Schmidt could make a routine Krome Avenue car crash sound as important as the fall of the Soviet Union. In fact that's exactly what… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE WOMEN

    Victoria's Secret

    Let's face facts: It's no secret that thoroughly married women have by and large given up on the frills along with the sexual thrills. So you can pretty much assume that any female shopping at Victoria's Secret for lacy apparel that couldn't cover a kitten's rear end is on the legitimate prowl. And if she's not now, she's planning to… More >>
  • BEST LITTLE MAGAZINE FOR LITTLE MINDS

    Ego Trip

    The table of contents in this four-by-five-and-a-half-inch monthly magazine tells the story. Bartender of the month. DJ of the month. Artist, chef, and model of the month. Concierge of the month. Doorman of the month. Bulwarks of our community. The front line in our noble struggle for the dollars of the rich and often not famous. In their own words.… More >>
  • BEST CIVIL SERVANT

    Minnie Bishop

    Part records technician, part social worker, part comedienne, Minnie Bishop is a pleasant surprise when you walk into the Miami Beach Police Department's snazzy building at 1100 Washington Avenue. Even if it's five minutes till closing time, Bishop will deal with your problem without the hostile stare we've come to expect from government service workers. With a hearty laugh and… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL ZINE

    OpenZine

    According to OpenZine editors Humby and Kiki Valdes, this is an "urban subculture magazine." Did you know Destro is back? Bet you didn't even know Destro had left. (That's the name of a straight-edge rock band.) You'd be up on it had you been reading this zine. Just like you'd be privy to what's going on in the head of… More >>
  • BEST RESOURCE FOR RECENT ARRIVALS

    El Paracaidista: La guia del recien llegado a Miami

    More than any other city in our great nation, Miami can use El Paracaidista (The Parachutist: Miami Newcomers' Guide), a year-old monthly newspaper that also appears online. Venezuelan Ira Guevara and Argentine Cynthia Zak, both thirtysomething journalists, say they founded El Paracaidista largely as a response to the Cuban balsero influxes of 1994 and 1998. The sheer numbers of Latin… More >>
  • BEST HURRICANES FOOTBALL PLAYER

    Ed Reed

    Offense may fill the seats but defense fills the trophy case. UM can thank senior safety Ed Reed for playing a major role in delivering the 'Canes' fifth national championship. He led UM with 9 interceptions this year and a school-record 21 for his career there. With Reed calling and delivering the shots, the 'Canes finished the year first in… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC RESTROOM

    The Wolfsonian-FIU

    A swingin' bachelor pad's bathroom? The lavatory in a villain's hideout? Actually the ultracool restrooms at the museum of things made between 1885 and 1945 look more like the facilities in the Batcave, so don't be surprised if at any moment crime-fighting superheroes Batman and Robin roll up in the Batmobile for a pit stop. Gleaming black-glass walls, stainless-steel sinks… More >>
  • BEST PANTHERS PLAYER

    Robert Luongo

    This award wasn't about to go to Pavel Bure, that's for sure, even if the Panthers hadn't traded the sulking Russian wingman to the Rangers in exchange for -- for, well, absolutely nothing. Bure's simmering discontent affected the whole team and kept the Panthers from seriously improving. Now, with him gone, the squad can build around its strengths, the most… More >>
  • BEST SANCTUARY FROM THE FAST TRACK

    Beach Bar at the Delano Hotel

    The Beach Bar at the Delano opened in 1995 and was recently refurbished to a kind of post-Gatsby sheen. The best time to experience that sheen is about 1:00 a.m. on a weeknight, stretched out at one of the tables down at the end of the hotel's magnificent pool (officially known as the Water Salon). Designed by Philippe Starck, with… More >>
  • BEST DOLPHINS PLAYER

    Ricky Williams

    Following a trade from New Orleans, Williams comes to Miami as a bit of a weirdo (he used to keep his helmet on while signing autographs) and a bit of a slacker (so underwhelmed were the Saints with Williams they drafted another running back, in the first round, only one year after drafting Williams). Yet the Dolphins have every reason… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL GIRL MADE GOOD

    Chef Michelle Bernstein

    After working for others and then co-owning a short-lived but ambitious venture (The Strand), Bernstein took a major leap: She left South Beach for Brickell Key and the luxe Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Within a year food critic John Mariani from Esquire named her restaurant, Azul, the best of 2001. The Food TV network hired her to host a series on… More >>
  • BEST HEAT PLAYER

    Alonzo Mourning

    Anyone who needed proof that Zo is the heart, soul, and muscle of the Miami Heat got it when the most intense center in the NBA was knocked out of most of the 2000 season by a kidney ailment. He returned, half-strength, at the beginning of the 2001 season to a team as shaky as he was. But then the… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL BOY MADE GOOD

    Ben Greenman

    Forgive us our pride. Miami native Greenman worked for New Times after graduating from Palmetto Senior High and Yale University. In his time at the paper he wrote some excellent film and music criticism and several pretty darn funny stories. "Cracking Up" chronicled an experiment in which Greenman followed a mad scientist (the late John Detrick) around downtown Miami on… More >>
  • BEST MARLINS PLAYER

    Josh Beckett

    On a young team loaded with prospects and emerging pitching talent, we especially like the promise that Beckett holds. The right-handed pitcher from Spring, Texas, was named USA Today's high-school pitcher of the year in 1999. He was also the first prep pitcher drafted by the Marlins in the first round. After starting last season with the AA Portland (Maine)… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL GIRL GONE BAD

    Miriam Alonso

    She was a late entry in this contest, but Alonso decisively swept the field of contenders. At press time the Miami-Dade County Commissioner was facing one misdemeanor charge, three felony charges, and up to five years in prison. More charges are possible. Way back in 1993 New Times devoted 13,000 words to Alonso during her failed campaign to become mayor… More >>
  • BEST RIVALRY

    Gwen Cherry Bulls vs. Liberty City Warriors

    You know there's something going on when 600 people turn out to watch a football game featuring four-year-olds. Yet that's what happens, dependably, when these two Liberty City parks play each other in Pop Warner football. No matter what the weight class, from the four-year-old pee wees up to the fifteen-year-old midgets, a game between Gwen Cherry and Liberty City… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL BOY GONE BAD

    Demetrio Perez, Jr.

    Why do so many sanctimonious people turn out to be wicked? And has there been anyone in public life more sanctimonious than Demetrio Perez? Back in the Eighties, as a Miami City Commissioner, he sought to consecrate the Cuban-exile cause by, among other things, introducing a resolution to have the city honor convicted terrorist Orlando Bosch, handing the violently anti-Castro… More >>
  • BEST BEANBALL

    John Henry

    After buying the dismantled 1997 World Series champion Marlins from H. Wayne Huizenga, John Henry made lots of promises to South Florida baseball fans, a couple of which he actually kept. In the process he proved the fallacy of the expansion-team philosophy: Add more teams because TV needs more sports and fans will come. He also proved that, these days… More >>
  • BEST RENOVATION

    Seymour Hotel

    Architect B. Kingston Hall designed the Seymour in 1936 for developer Benjamin London, who named it after his son Seymour. Sixty-six years later the tropical Art Deco jewel still stands, nestled in the center of the nation's only historic district composed entirely of twentieth-century structures. But it lives a new life. In keeping with the Miami Beach Community Development Corporation's… More >>
  • BEST WEATHERCASTER

    Don Noe

    WPLG-TV (Channel 10)

    We like Don Noe for what he is not. He's not a bumbling grandpa bouncing through the low and high temperatures. Nor is he a slinky siren in a miniskirt relaying the boating conditions in a sweater tight enough to impede speech. He's just a no-nonsense guy, friendly enough but with a reliable weather forecast delivered quickly and without pretense.… More >>
  • BEST EYECATCHING GOVERNMENT BUILDING

    Aventura Government Center

    It's an enormous inverted salad bowl. Or maybe it's headquarters of the Justice League of America, where superheroes Aquaman, Superman, and Wonder Woman gather to hatch world-saving strategies. Actually the distinctive building that distracted you so much you nearly veered off the road is the Aventura Government Center. Dreamed up by Michael A. Schiff & Associates and Arquitectonica, the striking… More >>
  • BEST AM RADIO PERSONALITY

    Alberto Milian

    Reasons the loquacious, pugnacious, and thoroughly informed emcee of Habla el Pueblo (The People Speak) likes his new home at WKAT-AM (1360), Radio Uno: "It's very professional. There's no interference from the management." Compared to, say, WWFE-AM (670), La Poderosa, whose owner canceled Milian's show this past November after the host criticized Miami City Commission candidate Angel Gonzalez. (Gonzalez then… More >>
  • BEST PARTY OF THE YEAR

    Halloween on Lincoln Road

    Like all truly great annual traditions, Lincoln Road's Halloween parade just sort of happened. There is no sponsor, no formal organization, no one in charge. It's simply an outgrowth of the Road's late-Nineties transformation from a deserted strip into one of South Florida's prime people-watching spots. For locals who hardly need a holiday as an excuse to pose for a… More >>
  • BEST FM RADIO PERSONALITY

    Lita

    Power 96 (WPOW-FM 96.5)

    And girlfriend, we do mean personality. Although Mark Moseley did a decent job for years pretending to be queer, Lita lit up the airwaves with tough-as-nails humor only a real big queen could hammer home. Whether dispensing no-nonsense fashion sense to Hialeah hootchies or dishing the dirt on that tacky J-Lo, Lita told it like it is. We don't care… More >>
  • BEST HERO

    Angela Gittens

    A lot of South Floridians quietly cheered this past November when Gittens, less than a year into her tenure as Miami-Dade County's aviation director, lambasted the county commission as "lobby heaven," and accused a lobbyist of lying during a presentation. (Carl Hiaasen described MIA at the time Gittens took over in March 2001 as "operating with all the charm and… More >>
  • BEST SPANISH-LANGUAGE RADIO PERSONALITY

    Ninoska Perez Castellon

    Ninoska a la una

    WQBA-AM (1140)

    Ninoska isn't for everyone, but unlike most of her peers in the anti-Castro radio business, she's not a megalomaniac and she isn't using her high-profile platform as much for her own career advancement as for communicating her passionately held beliefs about her homeland. Ninoska is in fact a good communicator and her shows have more flavor than the endless other… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE-WATCH

    Club Rancho Grande

    For anyone not familiar with the local "rancho" phenomenon, Rancho Grande is a revelation. It really is a ranch of sorts, complete with horses and the occasional whiff of barnyard, way out in what passes for the countryside. But it's a club of sorts too. Tables and chairs are spread around a dance floor, all open to the breeze but… More >>
  • BEST COSTUME DESIGN

    Ilona Somogyi

    Red Herring

    Florida Stage

    Somogyi gets the nod for her droll, inventive Fifties design scheme, in itself a hilarious social critique. From nightmarish polka dots and pony skirts to her big-shouldered suits for the men, the New York designer brought Red Herring an added level of comedy and social commentary. Somogyi has tailored her craft to this era before. She was the one who… More >>
  • BEST SOUTH BEACH OASIS

    Miami Beach Botanical Garden

    There's nothing quite like surrounding oneself in bromeliads to ease the troubled mind. This lush little enclave has 150 different kinds. "Bromeliads are cherished for their lovely variations of color, spectacular bloom shoots, and their important role supporting animal life via rainwater collected in their rosettes of leaves," notes the garden's Website. From time to time a greedy subspecies of… More >>
  • BEST STAGE DESIGN

    Victor Becker

    Black Sheep

    Florida Stage

    Using an all white-set and a series of mobile screens, Becker created an ever-shifting fun house of mobile space, a perfect setting for Lee Blessing's elusive, dreamlike comedy that offered director Michael Bigelow Dixon plenty of staging opportunities. The space allowed the play itself to expand into the marvelous production that it was. If you wanted to see how it's… More >>
  • BEST SPEED TRAP

    Don Shula Expressway

    Kendall

    It's a bright and sunny weekend morning. You're headed down to the Keys for some R&R. You think you're pretty smart to use the Shula (SR 874) because it isn't heavily traveled at this hour and it's the quickest way to join up with the southbound turnpike. As you approach the exit for SW 107th Avenue you become aware of… More >>
  • BEST THEATER FOR DRAMA

    Florida Stage - CLOSED

    This Palm Beach County company serves up challenging productions with a nice blend of local and New York actors and a welcome infusion of very talented directors and designers from across the nation. Artistic director Louis Tyrrell has an excellent instinct for play selection and maintains close relationships with several important playwrights. The result is a sophisticated level of theater… More >>
  • BEST MIAMI HERALD WRITER

    Fred Grimm

    Grimm displays a willingness to actually leave his desk, unlike some columnists we know. And as far as we've seen, he has never wasted column space writing about the comments generated by his last column. No, Grimm goes down to city hall and rummages through files. He visits the boulevard where protesters marched, and he witnesses the sentencing hearing from… More >>
  • BEST ENSEMBLE CAST

    Red Herring

    Florida Stage

    More kudos for the little Florida Stage that could. But here's why: Stephen G. Anthony, Patricia Dalen, Suzanne Grodner, Kendra Kassebaum, Johnathan F. McClain, and Gordon McConnell. This outstanding cast served up an endless stream of hilarious yet sometimes touching characters in this black comedy, from Anthony's tortured G-man to Grodner's wacky Mrs. McCarthy, the wife of Senator Joe, to… More >>
  • BEST MIAMI HERALD CASANOVA

    Tyler Bridges

    Somehow we missed that particular issue of Caretas, the respected Peruvian newsweekly, the one in which it reported that Peruvian congresswoman Cecilia Tait was pregnant with a child conceived with the cooperation of Miami Herald reporter Tyler Bridges. But there it was in Joan Fleischman's "Talk of Our Town" column, in the very paper that employs Bridges. "He looks like… More >>
  • BEST BLACK-BOX PRODUCTION

    audiovideo

    Juggerknot Theatre Company

    What's the difference between a black box and a full theater? Size, yes. The first is much more intimate. But in the right hands a black-box experience becomes something entirely new. Like when a director decides to ignore the confines of a stage and work with the space as a whole. Like when homegrown writer/director Michael John Garces decides to… More >>
  • BEST PARKING GARAGE

    Seventeenth Street at Convention Center Drive

    Miami Beach

    You don't have to live in South Beach to be painfully aware of the fact that finding a place to park your car qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment. Keep this garage in mind next time you're about to lose your mind in the quest for parking. Owned by the City of Miami Beach, the Seventeenth Street garage could not… More >>
  • BEST LOCALLY PRODUCED STAGE COMEDY

    Here in My Car

    Mad Cat Productions

    Miami Light Project's Light Box Theatre

    The trick of a successful comedy is to walk the fine line between life and art, which the local acting troupe Mad Cat did so humorously in their third production, Here in My Car. It cleverly combined a bit of Melrose Place with a healthy dose of The Real World and plunked it down in Miami. This original piece, penned… More >>
  • BEST CULTURAL CHALLENGE

    "Buenos dias" in the morning. "Buenos tardes" in the afternoon. "Buenas noches" after the sun goes down, just before they lock up the store for the night. "¿Como andas?" "¿Como andamaos?" "¿Que pasó?" The list runs through your head every time you go for a newspaper. The fates have placed you in Little Havana and you're okay with it. In… More >>
  • BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

    Paul Tei

    Black Sheep

    Florida Stage

    As Max, a spoiled rich kid turned film critic, Tei turned in an over-the-top performance that stole the show, no small feat in a very strong cast and very strong play. But Tei's done it before, in the fabulous Popcorn last year at GableStage and other productions around town. It was time, however, for Tei to break mold and this… More >>
  • BEST PROMOTER OF CULTURAL DIVERSITY

    Beth Boone

    The Miami Light Project, a nonprofit cultural arts organization founded by Janine Gross and Caren Rabbino, gained a solid reputation soon after its debut in 1989. Today it is best known for bringing to Miami performances by renowned contemporary music, dance, and theater artists. Miami Light also commissions new works and provides an outlet for Miami's own avant-garde performing artists.… More >>
  • BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

    Brenda Thomas

    Bee-luther-hatchee

    Florida Stage

    Thomas was outstanding as Libby Price, a world-weary black woman adrift in the Southern racial struggles of the Sixties in this interesting production. ("Bee-luther-hatchee" is early twentieth-century African-American slang for a faraway, damnable place, the next station after the stop for Hell.) This was the New York-based actress's first stop in South Florida, and her emotionally compelling work was a… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

    John C. Gifford Arboretum

    On the University of Miami campus it is possible to take a short walk in the woods and end up on what seems like a tour of the globe. Founded in 1947, the Gifford arboretum was named for the first graduate forester in the U.S., a UM professor and expert on tropical woods. At one time there were more than… More >>
  • BEST SOLO PERFORMANCE

    Teo Castellanos

    NE 2nd Avenue

    Serving up a rogues' gallery of local Miami characters, Castellanos showed off his considerable performing and writing gifts in one of the theater season's highlights. Donning different hats, literally, Castellanos took on the accent, the movements, indeed the appearance of a Haitian jitney driver, a small-time Wynwood ("Wynwooood") Puerto Rican drug dealer, a Cuban vendor, a Hialeah teenager, a black… More >>
  • BEST CHARITY

    Women's Fund of Miami-Dade County

    In Miami, the poorest large city in the nation, women and girls make up the majority of those living below the poverty line. It's a disgrace for Miami and a disgrace for mainstream charities that historically have shortchanged programs specifically for women and girls. And it should embarrass the Florida legislature, which continues its relentless drive to eliminate desperately needed… More >>
  • BEST ACTRESS

    Pamela Roza

    Boy Gets Girl

    GableStage

    Roza was memorable as a tightly wound professional woman in Manhattan being stalked by a would-be suitor. Her emotional range and willingness to explore the character's ugly sides helped turn Rebecca Gilman's issue-driven potboiler into a dark, troubling character study. We've seen Roza before in other psychological dramas, such as Extremities, where she played a rape victim who turns the… More >>
  • BEST CHEAP HOTEL ON SOUTH BEACH

    Banana Bungalow

    The Banana Bungalow is a youth hostel, but a nice one. Pastel-colored and improbably located in one of the most expensive tourist traps in the world, the bungalow is low-key and freewheeling. The young and adventurous from around the globe pour in and out of this place, wedged into the southern end of the Indian Creek waterway. They sit by… More >>
  • BEST ACTOR

    Peter Haig

    Someone Who'll Watch Over Me

    Haig's performance in this show (at the Mosaic Theatre in Plantation) was little seen but indelible. An insular literature professor imprisoned in war-torn Beirut, chained in place for the entire play, Haig could barely move, not even stand, but nevertheless managed to conjure up a moving, nuanced portrait of a limited, conflicted man who discovers a well of strength he… More >>
  • BEST DISAPPEARING ACT

    Latin Grammy Awards

    They were proof of Miami's status as the Latin-music capital of the world. They were an engine of economic growth. They were a sign of our slowly developing political tolerance. They were a plot to thrust subversive Cuban musicians into our midst. They were the pride and joy of Emilio Estefan, Jr. They were the downfall of exile extremists. They… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL DIRECTOR

    Joe Adler

    GableStage

    And the winner is.... Once again the award goes to Adler for his range of work and the professionalism with which it is produced. From gritty naturalism in the creepy and mind-bending Boy Gets Girl to lyrical musical drama in The Dead to the brilliant absurdism of Edward Albee's The Play About the Baby, Adler moves all over the stylistic… More >>
  • BEST REASON TO STAY IN MIAMI DURING THE SUMMER

    Mo' curls

    Sure, the heat and humidity is a killer. But just look at those soft curls you've developed, the streaks of gold in your hair, the silky texture. Who needs a high-priced salon when you can get touched up by the sun? Think of it as deep-heat conditioning for free. Indeed the only folks who don't have a reason to stay… More >>
  • BEST SPANISH-LANGUAGE PRODUCTION

    Cenizas Sobre el Mar

    Teatro Avante

    On a metaphorical sea four rafters (a soldier, an explorer, a priest, and an archetypal female) became more than refugees -- they grew into symbols of rebirth and redemption in Teatro Avante's rendition of Colombian playwright José Assad's Cenizas Sobre el Mar (Ashes on the Sea). An enigmatic elixir of magical realism and theater of the absurd, the play, written… More >>
  • BEST NEW BUILDING

    Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye model

    The best new building won't be there much longer. It will be taken down not because it is an historic landmark no one cared about but because it wasn't meant to last. But while it stands, it's incredible to behold. Artist George Sanchez decided to create a model of the famous 1929 Le Corbusier house in France, an exquisite example… More >>
  • BEST LOCALLY PRODUCED DRAMA

    The Play About the Baby

    GableStage

    Who's afraid of putting on Edward Albee? Not GableStage. And this production of the playwright's mind-bending verbal labyrinth was a dizzying, enigmatic tour de force. Strong all around, from Joseph Adler's crisp staging through the tight and engrossing performances (including some nifty work from John Felix and Cynthia Caquelin). Add to the mix the excellent work of Jeff Quinn, Daniela… More >>
  • BEST PLACE FOR A FIRST DATE

    Tropical Chinese Restaurant

    This place is known for its amazing Saturday and Sunday dim sum brunches, in which customers choose from authentic comestibles presented on rolling carts. And it is precisely this movable feast that makes Tropical a great venue for a debut date. For one thing, you can order as much or as little as you want, which means the date can… More >>
  • BEST SHOT IN THE ARM FOR LOCAL BOXING

    Sugar Ray Leonard

    Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion Leonard has done what retired fighters just don't do. He's crossed over from the exploited to the exploiter. He has become a boxing promoter. But Leonard isn't much like the parasitic thugs who control professional pugilism. He says he wants to make boxing shows more competitive instead of producing snoozers staged to build… More >>
  • BEST LAWYER

    Joaquin Mendez

    A recent Mendez client is serving a nineteen-year sentence in federal prison after a Miami jury convicted him of espionage, along with four other Cuban agents. But one must judge a lawyer by the principles for which he stands, even when they are misunderstood and unpopular. For Mendez one of them is the Fifth Amendment: "No person shall be deprived… More >>
  • BEST TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR FASHION SHOW

    Fashion TV

    At any given moment, in some time zone, a fashion show is under way. Don't believe us? Just click your cable remote to Fashion TV and observe 24 solid hours a day of runway shows, complete with strutting models, over-the-top haute couture, and bowing designers. The eye candy is equal-opportunity -- there's just as much beef- as cheesecake on display… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL LANDMARK

    Fontainebleau Hilton Resort

    The Fontainebleau was ten years old in 1964, when the James Bond film Goldfinger opened with a glorious view of the high-rise curving toward the sea and its guests drinking martinis by the huge swimming pool and its waterfall. That was when the Fontainebleau was a celebrity hotel that attracted the stars of the day: Steve Allen hosted the Tonight… More >>
  • BEST SPORTSCASTER

    Jimmy Cefalo

    WPLG-TV (Channel 10)

    The veteran sports guy has a couple of things going for him: He was a jock -- a star receiver for the Miami Dolphins -- and he's got great hair. But he also seems to know that a good sportscaster ought to do more than just recite the scores. Recent example: The Miami Heat pulled out a February overtime win… More >>
  • BEST UPS MAN

    Mike Bode

    To the unaware, Mike Bode could be just any other UPS guy. He wears a brown shirt and brown shorts. He drives a brown van around South Beach, concentrating on Lincoln Road. But he's not. His customers describe him as the hardest-working human being on the planet. Store owners up and down the Road sing his praises unsolicited. Phrases like… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL WEBSITE

    www.clubhoppers.net

    Miami has had its fair share of zines and Websites vying to be the source when it comes to covering nightlife. Clubhoppers comes closest to earning the title. Listing various venues and acts is no difficult task; anyone with e-mail or a fax machine can obtain the info and regurgitate it for the public. Presenting the information with flair, humor,… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO TAKE OUT-OF-TOWNERS

    Rancho Don Goyo

    If they're visiting from out of town, there's a good chance they're not familiar with the word guajiro. In Cuba it's the name given to country folk, that island nation's noble peasants. Rancho Don Goyo, a rustic retreat in Miami's own countryside, keeps the guajiro spirit alive on Saturdays and Sundays, when Cuban immigrant Gregorio Arensibia, better known as Don… More >>
  • SECOND-BEST LOCAL WEBSITE

    www.cooljunkie.com

    Yes, another nightlife Website. No surprise, given the pervasiveness of nightclubs and the intense competition among them. But this site has a somewhat different feel to it. A little more comprehensive. A little more complex. A little more commercial. But that's exactly what makes it the one you would recommend when visiting friends ask you for clubbing advice upon hitting… More >>
  • BEST FESTIVAL

    Argentine Festival

    Every exodus deserves a festival. The epic flight inspired by the collapse of the Argentine economy is no exception. Luckily those fleeing the new bartering society of Buenos Aires already have Miami's best festival waiting for them. Every spring, for four years now, long-time expat Enrique Kogan has offered tens of thousands of his compatriots a daylong celebration of tangolandia.… More >>
  • BEST FILM SERIES

    Cuban Cinema Series

    Miami-Dade Community College

    Who else but MDCC's Alejandro Rios could put together a top-flight, ongoing program of Cuban films -- from islanders and directors in exile -- attract full houses, and yet raise nary a peep from our AM talk-radio friends and their noisy shock troops? Maybe a free series with this kind of quality is just too good (and in this town,… More >>
  • BEST FLAME-BROILING

    Burger King fire walkers

    The irony is just too delicious. This past October marketing executives from Burger King, reeling from the botched introduction of their revamped French fries and gearing up to push the new Chicken Whopper sandwich, participated in an "achievement" team-building seminar on Key Largo. According to published reports, some 100 Burger King employees "used their bare hands to bend spoons, break… More >>
  • BEST TRADE (SPORTS TEAM)

    Florida Marlins owner John Henry to the Boston Red Sox

    Major League Baseball engineered this deal, allowing Henry to sell the Marlins, then turn around and buy the Red Sox. To Henry, who constantly cried poverty, tried to cajole South Florida taxpayers into building him a new stadium, and then when they wouldn't, orchestrated the $600 million purchase of the Sox by putting up $150 million of his own money,… More >>
  • BEST FARMERS MARKET

    Robert Is Here

    We know what you're going to say: Robert's is not a true farmers market. A splendidly eclectic fruit stand/reptile show/folk revue perhaps. What, you'll ask, about the Coconut Grove farmers market? Or the one outside Gardner's Market in Pinecrest? Fine. But this is our list and this year we're picking Robert Is Here. Yes, it's partly about the exotic fruit… More >>
  • BEST MISSED OPPORTUNITY

    Miami Fusion

    When Major League Soccer finally catches on in the United States, the decision to fold the Miami Fusion will make America's most apathetic sports town look even more stupid, as if that were possible. (Hello? The Dolphins couldn't sell out a playoff game?) Soccer is followed with feverish fanaticism throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. South Florida has a huge… More >>
  • BEST ERRATUM

    From the Miami Herald, Thursday, December 20, 2001: "On Sept. 23, 2000, The Herald published a story about a house donated to the Fort Lauderdale Branch NAACP. It included information provided by Hansel Williams, who was interviewed at the house, that is not correct. Williams subsequently said he is not married, has no children, did not live in the house… More >>
  • BEST NEW OLDIES JAZZ STATION

    104.1 FM

    The seasoned cats who preside over Jazz in the Afternoon play all the cool hits. You know: Kind of Blue, Giant Steps, A Love Supreme (the whole blessed album). This is noncommercial (and unlicensed, meaning "pirate") community radio as it was meant to be. These guardians of the bebop, hard-bop, and post-bop jazz flames liberate the airwaves on Saturday and… More >>
  • SECOND BEST ERRATUM

    From the Miami Herald, Wednesday, October 24, 2001: "A story in Friday's editions referred to the Batman costume Elian Gonzalez wore at Halloween. Elian arrived in the United States in November and left in June, so he did not wear the costume at Halloween." … More >>
  • BEST METEOROLOGICAL TREAT

    Clouds

    Miami has no mountains. There are no hills, buttes, or mesas. But there are clouds, and they appear almost daily on the big palette that is South Florida's sky. Our cosmic placement at the tip of a peninsula located to the east of the Gulf of Mexico, north of the Caribbean Sea, and downwind of the jet stream puts us… More >>
  • BEST GARISH PARTY OF THE YEAR

    Ocean Drive anniversary party

    On South Beach attending and critiquing over-the-top parties isn't just a leisure activity, it's a way of life. And for local fashionistas, one of the most anticipated fetes is Ocean Drive's annual birthday bash, where the magazine's glossy pages, chock full of beautiful people, come to life. Even the Herald bought into the hype this past year, giving the Loews… More >>
  • BEST BEATLES CORRESPONDENCE

    Hard Rock Café

    Bayside Marketplace

    Before finding happiness in a warm gun, the Beatles found a buddy in a Miami Beach cop. Sgt. Buddy Dresner was assigned to provide security to the Beatles during the group's South Florida invasion in February 1964. The Hard Rock Café has no photos of the screaming female mob that besieged the boys when they descended from their rooms for… More >>
  • BEST PEOPLE POWER

    Miami's Civilian Investigative Panel

    A unique confluence of ugly events led the citizens of Miami to overwhelmingly approve the creation of a Civilian Investigative Panel in November 2001. Leaders and activists in black communities, enraged over the alarming tendency of police to shoot suspects dead even when they were in wheelchairs, had long insisted that someone other than cops should investigate cops. But it… More >>
  • BEST MILE OF MIAMI

    Collins Avenue between 44th and 53rd streets

    For its first 43 blocks, narrow little Collins Avenue is at best an inconvenient way to get around Miami Beach. At 44th Street, however, it widens to six lanes, becoming one of South Florida's premier boulevards, a show street lined with fancy and famous hotels, luxury condos, palm trees, and private yachts. This also marks the exact location where South… More >>
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