By most sane measurements, 2016 has been worse than a straight-to-Netflix movie starring Adam Sandler and Kevin James. But for long-form journalism at New Times, it's been a hell of a great 12 months.
Our staff writers hung with skateboarders and tattoo artists in Cuba, chronicled rising seas and dangerous roads, and narrated the rise of viral DJs and famed club promoters. Our stories were featured on Longreads and Deadspin and — most important — told in-depth stories of this maddening, amazing city we call home.
We've crunched the numbers, and these were New Times' ten most popular longreads of the year:
10. Cryptsy Founder Paul Vernon Disappeared, Along With Millions of His Customers' Cash, by Jessica Lipscomb: A South Florida Bitcoin pioneer seemed to go bust and lose everything — unless he really took all of his customers' cash and fled to China.
9. Ocean Drive's Party Days Could End as City Leaders Push Alcohol Crackdown, by Jessica Lipscomb: Amid rising crime and fading tourism, Miami Beach's leaders brawl over how to save the city's most iconic stretch.
8. Inside Tim Canova's Bernie-Fueled Bid to Upset U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, by Jerry Iannelli: A professor tries to take on the head of the Democratic National Committee in a South Florida primary — and thanks to Bernie Sanders-supporting grassroots, he nearly upends the power structure.
7. Mark the Shark, Miami's Most Famed Deep-Sea Hunter, Fends Off Critics, by Brittany Shammas: Mark the Shark has spent decades atop Miami's shark-hunting scene, but tastes have changed and his killing ways have now drawn the ire of the internet.
6. South Beach's Elite Pay Thousands for IV Therapy Even Though Critics Say It's a Scam, by Brittany Shammas: IV therapy clinics are a booming industry across South Beach, promising healthier life — or just hangover cures — but the science is far from certain.
5. Miami Beach's $400 Million Sea-Level Rise Plan Is Unprecedented, but Not Everyone Is Sold, by Jessica Weiss: Sea-level rise threatens Miami Beach like no other area in America, and under Mayor Philip Levine, the city is waging an all-out war on the phenomenon. Will it work?
4. How David Grutman, Miami's Nightlife Kingpin, Turned LIV Into America's Biggest Club, by Ryan Pfeffer: David Grutman is a dynamo who, with a little help from his celebrity friends, has turned a club inside the Fontainebleau Hotel into one of America's most profitable.
3. A South Florida Boxing Rivalry Leads to Cold-Blooded Murder, by Tim Elfrink: For years, Stan Stanisclasse — a promising boxer with Olympic aspirations — pummeled a would-be rival named Darrel Telisme in the ring, until one day Telisme shot him in the head.
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2. DJ Khaled's Origin Story, by Ryan Pfeffer: How did a DJ best known for shouting his own name become the internet's favorite Snapchat star?
1. The Real Story Behind the Movie War Dogs, by Tim Elfrink: The movie War Dogs tells an incredible story of a group of Miami Beach stoners selling international arms, but in real life, the characters are still at war over betrayal — and millions of missing dollars.