BEST ARCHITECTURAL INCONGRUITY Sears Tower vs. Miami Performing Arts Center Biscayne Boulevard at Thirteenth Street

Miami Amid the grandiose high-rise redevelopment of Miami's downtown, the proud old Sears Tower stands nested within the new performing arts center. The 1929 Art Deco masterpiece once anchored a much larger building and served as a kind of beacon that drew Miami's commercial activity northward from the city center. In a way, it is encoring that role today, as it softens and adds warmth to Cesar Pelli's hard-edged design for a huge (and hugely expensive) facility that, it is hoped, will attract new life to a long-neglected part of the city. Today the tower is overshadowed by the cool glass façade of the incipient new opera house. One is half-demolished, one is half-finished. Awkward neighbors, they both await uncertain futures.

BEST DOLPHINS PLAYER Randy McMichael During what was arguably the Dolphins' worst year, tight end Randy McMichael caught 73 passes for 791 yards (passing Keith Jackson for the Dolphins' single-season records for catches and yards), averaging 10.8 yards per reception. At times McMichael seemed like the sole offensive weapon, and though he posted career-best stats, he probably would have had an even better season if he'd been playing with passers more capable than those in the Dolphins' rotation.

Readers´ Choice: Jason Taylor

BEST CITIZEN Kimberly Green www.greenff.org Kimberly Green is what Miami desperately needs: a native daughter who has applied all of her intelligence and ambition to make this a better place. She is the thirtysomething daughter of former Samsonite CEO Steven Green, who created the Green Family Foundation with his wife Dorothea in 1991. Kimberly took over the foundation in 1997 with a sense of purpose that threatens to swamp anyone who comes in contact with her. No posh South Beach fundraisers for her, no hobnobbing with the rich and powerful. Green took her money to the ghetto, helping fund HIV clinics in Liberty City, computer-literacy labs in Little Haiti, and early-childhood-development programs for underprivileged families throughout the city. She became seriously involved in funding Project Medishare's clinic in Haiti and even spent three years producing a documentary about the lack of healthcare in that country's rural provinces. In a city where narcissism and triviality too often guide the privileged, Green's devotion to improving the lot of others is inspiring. As she likes to say, quoting Seneca: "He who gives when he is asked has waited too long."

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Ian D. Clark Clark's delightful turn as a cuckolded husband was a classic cameo role and another bright moment in the Coconut Grove Playhouse's quite bright staging of The Constant Wife. Appearing in only one short scene, Clark demonstrated superb comedic timing, a spot-on British Midlands accent, and an inventive physicality that turned what could have been a throwaway part into a little gem of a performance.

BEST ACTRESS Angelica Torn No doubt about it. This year's nod goes to Angelica Torn, who tore up the stage in her fierce, memorable portrait of poet Sylvia Plath in EDGE at the Coconut Grove Playhouse. Torn used a deliberately off-putting, disconnected persona to portray the troubled writer. But her flat, atonal vocal delivery and disheveled demeanor masked a volcanic emotional life that erupted in brief spasms of sudden anguish. The result was indelible: frightening, sarcastic, pitiable, courageous.

BEST-KEPT SECRET mia Gallery Miami International Airport

Concourse E, second level

305-876-0749; 305-869-1219; 305-876-7017

"It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression öAs pretty as an airport.'" British sci-fi/comedy writer Douglas Adams wrote that sentiment in the opener to one of his popular books, Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul. It is an observation never more true than at the absurdly slapdash way station of humanity known as Miami International Airport. Which is why it's surprising and yet completely fitting that MIA would not only have an art gallery (open since 1999) but would also make little effort to inform people of its existence, much less help them find it. However, those lucky passengers who do (you can't visit it unless you have a plane ticket or make special arrangements) will find a beauteous 2400-square-foot space created, airport literature explains, "for the purpose of humanizing the airport environment." The shows, smartly curated by Yolanda Sanchez, often feature some of Miami's most accomplished contemporary artists. Amid the nearly overwhelming spectacle of MIA's environs, mia Gallery is a welcome aesthetic breather.

BEST ART MUSEUM Bass Museum of Art 2121 Park Avenue

Miami Beach

305-673-7530 Two years ago Bass Museum executive director and chief curator Diane Camber was ready to go medieval on the engineers who oversaw the construction of the museum's current home one block west of Collins Avenue. From a leaky roof to broken floor beams to the climate control system that forced the Bass to shut down for several months in 2003, Miami Beach's storied art institution was in shambles. But the City of Miami Beach, which owns the museum building and splits operating costs with Bass support groups, got its act together and fixed the problems. Camber can now proudly display the magical works of Renaissance and Baroque masters Sandro Botticelli, Peter Paul Rubens, Ferdinand Bol, Jacob Jordaens, and others in the Bass permanent collection. Through June 26 the museum is also offering a look at the Central Park public art project The Gates by Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude. The Bass is showing off a collection of preparatory drawings, collages, and photographs covering more than 40 years of the artistic couple's work, including a quarter-century of planning designs for their most recent project in New York. After taking a tour of the museum, grab a bite to eat at the indoor café. The Bass is open Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. General admission is six dollars, four dollars for seniors and students.

BEST VALUE ON OCEAN DRIVE Café Mediterraneo Deli 1501 Collins Avenue

Miami Beach

305-532-8998 While true cheapskates know to load up on food and drink before they find themselves east of Collins Avenue, there's still hope for a little cheap grub and chaser right on the strip. Tucked deep within the Ocean Steps mini mall at the north end of Ocean Drive is Café Mediterraneo Deli. More a sandwich shop and bodega than traditional delicatessen, the store offers brand-name cold cuts, ice cream, a large assortment of wine, and various sundries. For the froufrou tightwad who requires amplified flavor, there are even jars of curry paste and key lime juice. But the fun doesn't stop there. You can grab a table on the elevated patio overlooking Ocean Drive and people-watch to your heart's content. This is actually better than much of the sidewalk seating on Ocean Drive itself, where you get bumped and jostled by the moving wall of gawking humanity. Or take a picnic lunch to Lummus Park and people-watch from under the shade of a lovely coconut palm.

BEST LOCAL CITY IN WHICH TO LIVE Coral Gables No doubt you've heard about the crazy regulations that plague residents of Coral Gables. (Does a fancy SUV count as a truck or a car, and can I park it in my driveway overnight?) But for many Gables citizens, it's a small price to pay (well, maybe not so small) for the privilege of living in such a beautiful city. The lush foliage (tightly regulated) and exquisite examples of Mediterranean Revival architecture (don't even look at a can of paint without the necessary permits) are just a couple of reasons why people prefer living in George Merrick's dreamscape. A disproportionate number of South Florida's better restaurants and retail stores are within city limits. The arts and entertainment scene is burgeoning, helped in part by having the University of Miami also within city limits. Even tourist attractions like the Venetian Pool and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden are classy, tasteful, and fun.

BEST STARGAZING Southern Cross Astronomical Society 1400 SW 107th Avenue

Miami

305-661-1375

www.scas.org

and

Bill Sadowski Park

17555 SW 79th Avenue

Palmetto Bay

305-255-4767

www.miamidade.gov/parks/parks/ bill_sadowski.asp When the Southern Cross Astronomical Society was founded in 1922, members would gaze at the skies with a five-inch Clark refractor from the Royal Palm Hotel and Park. Now they meet at Bill Sadowski Park and bring their eighteen-inch Dobsonian reflector. Whether you're a professional astronomer with a laptop attached to your scope's tracking system or a nine-year-old with a fascination for the stars, the friendly members of SCAS are happy to share their platform with you. They'll tell you where to find the Seven Sisters or let you look at the craters of the moon through their telescopes. And if it's the planets you're interested in, the Society's reflector will allow you to see the storm on Jupiter and the space between Saturn's rings. Members of SCAS like Bill Sadowski Park because of its proximity to the coast, east of South Dixie Highway. The stars begin their rise over the bay, which allows for a clear view before they descend toward the light-polluted city. Be sure to turn your headlights off before passing the gate, otherwise you'll ruin everyone's night vision.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®