Best of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of 2012


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Best Of :: Sports & Recreation

Best Kayaking
West Lake Park

Two minutes in West Lake Park is all it takes to get away from the asphalt hell of South Florida sprawl. The trip starts with a light paddle down a serene mangrove tunnel — keep your eyes peeled for the always-awesome manatee and some nice birds. When the trail empties out on the lake, it's your choice. Let the boat float and kick back to relax while soaking in the rays, or cut across the lake — a workout in itself on a windy day — and explore the mangrove-lined, color-coded trails. If it weren't for the not-so-distant skylines peeking up over the trees, you might forget that you're smack in between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Prices aren't bad either: Drop 15 bucks to rent a canoe for an hour, $20 for two hours, or $50 for the whole day.

751 Sheridan St., Hollywood, 33019
Best Way to Meet Young Professionals

Working 14-hour days and eating meals in your car isn't really conducive to making a love connection. Emerge Broward is the answer. The Fort Lauderdale-based networking organization boasts 500-plus members and frequent events, which feature anything from a happy hour on Las Olas to community service projects elsewhere in the county. A meetup at Tundra earlier this year was just drinks, handshakes, and all the fried goat cheese you could fit in your face — though if you're trying to land a hottie, maybe keep the cheese-pile servings to under a dozen. Membership is $25 a year, and getting acclimated is as easy as showing up and slapping on a nametag. The friendly faces will do the rest.

Best Gym
Synergize Crossfit

Shondelle Solomon-Miles, AKA "Coach," has a body as impossibly skinny and taut as Iggy Pop's, a look as fierce as Nicki Minaj's, and a way of making you obey that's like Mom when she means business. Coach's B.A. from Columbia University and master's degree from the University of Miami don't hurt either. At her gym, Synergize, she follows the standard Crossfit methods of team workouts consisting of hard-core, old-school moves like jumping jacks, dead lifts, burpees, sprints, and the terrifying-sounding Turkish get-ups. Whereas other Crossfit gyms can feel too aggro, Solomon-Miles has a winning supply of motherly warmth: Eat foods that are "supportive," she says; push through your fears, she guides. There's also her no-bullshit, get-it-done, drill-sergeant toughness. Men and women alike, she will work you — and then make it all better with a smoothie from the juice bar at the end of class. True, the price ($159 to $199 per month) is steep, but the results are undeniable.

1200 N. Federal Highway, Hollywood, 33020
Best Bowling Alley
Manor Lanes Bowling Center

The big, beat-up building just off of Wilton Drive is exactly as vintage as it's supposed to be — the door handles are sticky, and the carpet showcases the standard "bowling pin and explosions" theme, but the lanes are clean, the balls are heavy, and — most important — the games and drinks are cheap. Ten bucks will get you unlimited bowling on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m., and their ordinarily cheap drinks get even cheaper during happy hour, from 4 to 7: Domestic pitchers cost $6.50 to $9, and 16-ounce beers are two bucks a pop. A good place to bowl; a great place to drink. What else do you need?

1517 NE 26th St., Wilton Manors, 33305
Best Place to Meet Intelligent Men
Retro Arcade Night at Arcade Game Sales

The vibe in the Retro Arcade isn't exactly a dimly lit cafe where patrons debate Kant or Joyce over glasses of malbec. But there is a special sort of intelligence to be found at the Retro Arcade Night. The monthly gathering brings together the humble stoners; future, present, and former rocket scientists; and perhaps even a retired English professor. And while any female met at this event is likely to be of the superbrained variety as well, she is a bit harder to come by than the dude-nerds. Let's just say the girl/guy ratio at this party is slightly more slanted than a pinball machine.

279 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Oakland Park, 33334
Best Sports Enigma

"Right now, it's time to win in court and then tell the people what the real deal is." That's how Dan Borislow responded to New Times' emailed request for an interview. The media, particularly sports website Deadspin, hasn't been kind to the three-wheeled-motorcycle-riding, West Palm Beach millionaire who made his fortune in the late 1990s in the telecom industry and a decade later invented the magicJack. In December 2010, Borislow spent big to acquire a women's soccer team, move it to Boca Raton, and name it after the magicJack — only to be accused of single-handedly destroying the Women's Professional Soccer league in the ensuing months. The litany of weirdness includes a former player who alleges that Borislow made her call him "daddy;" the firing of a well-respected coach who got the team off to a 3-0 start; emails Borislow sent to league brass calling them a "bunch of blithering idiots"; and rumors that he benched players and threatened their careers if they raised concerns about these antics. In the wake of all the bad publicity, the magicJack team was suspended and the league canceled its 2012 season. It's a tragedy, especially since the magicJack was stacked with talent; the roster included several players from the women's World Cup Soccer team that made a run in 2011 and would have given the league a fighting chance. We're eagerly waiting for litigators to wrap up the show so Borislow can finally tell us the real deal.


Best Kayaking: West Lake Park


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