Best Dog Park 2008 | East Greynolds Park | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

Max can't wait. He wants his tennis ball and he wants it now. He lets out a thunderous woof! "Oh, you want this?" teases his mama, Viviana Bojourno. "Well, here you go!" She hurls the ball. The four-year-old black English Labrador gives chase, snatches the fuzzy sphere, and turns it into a slobbering mess. His gal pal Tabitha, a two-year-old bull terrier, comes over and playfully paws Max's face. He gets up and runs after her. A black Lab puppy named J.J. careens into the two pooches. Even Shakes, a female golden retriever/chow mix with a sprained right paw, is having a grand old time at the latest pooch playpen to open in Miami-Dade County. Conveniently located on the east side of Biscayne Boulevard, four blocks north of 163rd Street, the Northeast Regional Dog Park sits on 1.67 acres divided into two sections for small and large hounds. As their canine companions frolic on the grass, mark territory around the fire hydrants, and run in circles, owners can sit and relax on wooden park benches and picnic tables dotted throughout the doggy area. Bojourno, an Aventura resident, loves Max's new playground. "The park is wonderful," she says. "It is so nice and safe." Just remember it opens at dawn and closes at dusk. And if you take your barking best friend to East Greynolds on the weekend, expect to pay a $5 entrance fee.

The few loyal Dolphins fans who continued to attend home games as the losses piled up walked through Dolphin Stadium like zombies December 16. With their team sitting at 0-13 and facing the grim possibility of the first 0-16 season in NFL history, Fins fans had no cause for optimism. When the Baltimore Ravens tied just before the end of regulation, and won the coin toss for possession to start overtime, Fins fans dropped their heads in defeat. Then it happened: Baltimore's Matt Stover missed a 41-yard field goal wide left. Miami took over, and suddenly back-up wide receiver Greg Camarillo — who had one career reception before that day — slipped behind the Ravens' typically tough defense. Cleo Lemon hit him on a short slant and Camarillo trucked 64 yards for the game-winning touchdown. It was the longest offensive play for the Dolphins all season. The stadium erupted as if the team had just won the Super Bowl. The party spilled over into the parking a lot, and for the first and only time all season, the Dolphins faithful could toast to victory.

Camarillo is the kind of ballplayer who defies jock stereotypes and is easy to root for. He stands 6-1 and weighs 190 pounds. He turned down Harvard so he could walk on at Stanford, where he never caught a touchdown and never had a reception more than 36 yards. Still he made it to the pros. Now Camarillo will go down in Dolphins lore as the guy who came from nowhere to save the team from the ultimate stigmata of a winless season. The Fins' most athletically gifted player, defensive end Jason Taylor, perhaps said it best. "It got a little dicey there at the end," Taylor told the AP after the game. "Thank God for Camarillo."

Although the drag scene has To Wong Foo-ed its way into mainstream oblivion, Elaine Lancaster has survived the fleeting South Beach fad. But don't dismiss this six-foot-two imaginary love child of Lana Turner and Burt Lancaster as just another lip-synching, trash-talking, stripper-shoe-loving pest. If anything, think of her as a bee. A queen bee. With excellent taste in Chanel.

Strutting onto Ocean Drive in size 10 1/2 ladies' shoes the day Versace died, Georgia-bred boy model James Davis had a sudden change of art. Instead of immersing himself in a shattered fashion scene, he created Elaine — a high-society queen with a penchant for pink lipstick, $10,000 gowns, and a face that could snag some questionable alone time with Colin Farrell at the Versace mansion back in 2005.

Since 1997, Elaine has grown in popularity, making it local knowledge that whenever you see Miss Lancaster in her blond beauty-queen-inspired hair — be it vamping at a PGA tournament, playing Marge at The Forge's Simpsons Movie release party, or running down Collins Avenue with Dennis Rodman in tow — you're in for a good time. Or an expensive time — the kind that'll make your wallet sting. But all of Miami will be abuzz.

Spalding, get dressed. You're hitting range balls today at the Miami Beach Golf Club, and you're going to like it. For just $12, you get a plastic bucket and a code to punch into a giant stainless-steel dispenser, out of which your generous allotment of pearls comes tumbling. The mats aren't exactly a cross between Kentucky bluegrass and Northern California sinsemilla, but the consistency of the hitting surface will help you concentrate on your swing. Anyway, the real appeal is the putting green. Well-manicured and directly adjacent to the range, the green is where 84s turn into 79s. When the range closes at 8 p.m., you're within walking distance to all the restaurants and bars on South Beach, which means you'll have a full selection of luxury sports cars to toss your cookies into. In the meantime, the female clientele on the range ain't too shabby. Mrs. Crane, we're talking about you. You wore green so you could hide, but we don't blame you, you little monkey woman.

Miami isn't exactly the best place to be green. Folks hurl fast-food bags from car windows, our shorelines are clogged with detritus, and our recycling rate is one of the lowest in the nation. But Rebecca Carter, the kind-hearted woman who writes the Greener Miami blog, tries to encourage us to go easy on planet Earth. Her site is part green events calendar, part newswire. The best part is that it's focused on Miami, not nebulous, insurmountable global issues. Rebecca also has a great sense of humor; earlier this year, she held a "Greener Baby Contest" to help her name her soon-to-be-born baby. The online winner — who suggested "Oliver" (which means peace) — won a reusable shopping tote and a gift certificate to used clothing store Rag Trade.

Miami Dade College brought Francisco Goya's caustic series of 218 engravings, created between 1799 and 1823, to the Freedom Tower, where they depicted the Spanish master's brush with state-sponsored terror during the Inquisition and Napoleon's brutal invasion of Spain. The skull-staving exhibit included Los Caprichos, which earned Goya a spot in the history books alongside Velásquez and Cervantes as Spain's greatest talents. It also revealed why art historians hail Goya as the first modernist and why the 80 engravings composing Los Caprichos remain one of the strongest indictments on man's inhumanity to man.

Courtesy of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

There once was a boy named Man-go who lived in Publix. His friends called him "Go" for short, and he was a sweet boy, with the most beautiful reddish-orange skin you've ever seen. One day, Go and his friends spotted a giant of a man roaming the place. At the sight of his dark, tanned skin and billowing white linen outfit, the little mangoes cringed in horror. So the stories are true, they thought. The man approached the frightened fruits and without hesitation reached for Go, saying, "Hi, my beautiful new friend. I'm fittin' ta take you to your family reunion. Didn't cha know it was this weekend?" And before he could protest, Go was lifted into the giant's shopping cart. Then he was moved onto a conveyor belt, shoved into a paper bag, and, finally, plopped into a big green pickup truck.

Although he was afraid at the thought of being away from Publix, the little guy was also excited. Soon the giant pulled the little fruit from the paper bag and laid him on the dashboard. He tried to set Go at ease by talking about how much fun Go would have meeting all of his relatives. He talked about how Go would meet his cousin Nam Doc Mai from Thailand and how they could get their faces painted together. Go got excited when he heard about the dinners and samplings held in honor of mangoes, but when he heard about the tree auctions, seed decorating, and mango puppets, his smile faded. He realized the tall tales about giants kidnapping mangoes were true. As the giant pulled into Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Go saw the huge sign that read, "International Mango Festival," and sighed. He saw all of the happy faces entering the gardens and knew he would be the only one not enjoying this day in the sun.

There's more to Italian cinema than Fellini. Every October, the Italian Film Festival becomes the perfect place to immerse yourself in la dolce vita. Last year's three-day festival, held on South Beach, featured the charmingly funny comedy Manuale d'Amore (Manual of Love) and a dozen other films, plus a few parties and afterparties sponsored by quality Italian brands (Peroni beer, anyone?). What really makes this fest topnotch is its organizer, Claudio DiPersia. Hailing from Rome and formerly an executive with Telemundo and Sony Pictures, DiPersia has a passion for his home country, and its movies, that is evident in the quality of films selected. A word to the wise regarding this year's festival: Get to the theater early, because the lines are bursting with people clamoring to watch the flicks.

It was bad enough for the poor people of Miami when in January last year, Parrot Jungle Island was renamed Jungle Island in a desperate effort to attract more visitors. Parrots, it seems, are not as exciting as jungles alone. Unfortunately, that didn't work. At least not so far. Since moving to Watson Island in 2003, the attraction has failed to bring in dollars and, consequently, long ago stopped paying off the $25 million federal loan that was secured to move it there in the first place. In 2006, the City of Miami reluctantly agreed to take on 80 percent of the financial burden. But the Jungle has proven itself a remarkably un-public place. Through-the-roof admission prices (adults pay $27.95 per ticket; children older than two cost $22.95 — that's more than $100 for a family of four) have helped ensure the Island remains a destination mostly for opulent private meetings, private conferences, and gala dinners. The park is open 365 days a year from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Parking costs $7. Have fun!

Let's face it: You didn't follow up on your new year's resolution to lose the holiday flab. And now a reunion/swimsuit season/wedding/back-fat blast looms, um, large. What to do? Call Rafael Moret, boot camp master. For $249, which covers four weeks with an "iron-clad money-back guarantee," he'll whip your ass into shape in no time using squats, thrusts, pushups, situps, you name it. You'll do all of this in a park — Kennedy Park in Coconut Grove, Highland Oaks Park in Aventura, or at locations in Miramar and Pembroke Pines in Broward — and you will sweat. A lot. Don't expect Rafael to yell at you like you're in the military; that's not his style. He motivates with positive words and kindness. But your back fat will be banished. Ahh, boot camp.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®