People & Places

  • Best Scenic Drive

    Fort Lauderdale to Lake Okeechobee by levee

    This is not a road AAA wants you to know about. Nor does it appear on most maps. But there it is in all its potholed glory, a hidden gift from the South Florida Water Management District that has long been a favorite of bird buffs, hunters, canal fishermen, and drug smugglers looking for an out-of-the-way landing strip. A Jeep… More >>
  • Best Architecture

    Stair #1

    It's a suitably ironic commentary on the dismal state of so much South Florida architecture that the most striking piece of work around is this gloriously gratuitous bit of design from the world-renowned firm of Arquitectonica, which has offices in Miami. Built a decade ago, this marble-and-ceramic "stairway to nowhere" flies in the face of the notion that form should… More >>
  • Best Place To Spot Celebrities

    251 Sunrise

    Say you just had your hair done. Ten minutes ago. If you're a man, you had it frosted. Or cut short and brushed forward à la George Clooney. Your hair matters less if you're a woman. Because you're wearing something tight. And black. If it's Saturday night, you hope to catch a glimpse of Donald Trump. Or Jenny McCarthy. Or… More >>
  • Best Charity

    Poverello Center

    Although many bigger charities have much bigger coffers, there's none nobler than Poverello. (The name is an Italian diminutive for "poor little one.") Every dollar raised by this AIDS relief organization, run by volunteers and Fr. William F. Collins, the unassuming but tireless Franciscan priest who started it in 1987, goes directly toward feeding and otherwise assisting people living with… More >>
  • Best Daily Newspaper Columnist

    Buddy Nevins

    Buddy Nevins may have a name that belongs on the liner notes of a country and western album, but the politicians he zings are the ones who have tears falling into their beers. Nevins, a 20-year Sun-Sentinel vet, took over the "political writer" mantle five years ago and immediately turned the once-lifeless political column into a news-breaker, uncovering political hypocrisy,… More >>
  • Best Place To Take Out-of-Towners

    North and South Ocean Boulevard

    It's a glorious afternoon in South Florida, and your guests are already braised to a tender vermilion, strung out on seafood, and exhibiting signs of mai tai malaise. So you slide into the car and head east to see how the other 1 percent lives. Nature and nurture have struck a truce on Ocean Boulevard, where the luminous waves and… More >>
  • Best TV News Anchor

    Tim Malloy

    Thank God for local news anchors. When the world is cold and alien, they brighten us up with an artificial smile and a sterile quip, carefully stripped of any edge or actual humor. WFOR-TV (Channel 4)'s Angela Rae is our best friend. WSVN-TV (Channel 7)'s Rick Sanchez is our idealized version of a real man -- big and, uh, shameless.… More >>
  • Best Name For The H. Wayne Huizenga Fountain

    The Throw-the-Billionaire-a-Bone Memorial

    The fountain honoring Huizenga is happening for two reasons: The trash-and-car king has thrown some of his vast wealth (Forbes estimates it at $1.6 billion) into Fort Lauderdale, and Fort Lauderdale's Downtown Development Authority (DDA) doesn't want the green stuff to stop coming. Huizenga has given millions to charities, including the new homeless shelter, the Boys & Girls Clubs, and… More >>
  • Best Weathercaster

    Chris Dunn

    The main function of weathercasters in South Florida is reassurance. We want them to remind us again and again -- every single night, in fact -- just how lucky we are to be living in this slice of sunbaked paradise. On top of that, we want them to spell out in explicit detail exactly how horrible the weather is in… More >>
  • Best Resort Motel

    Tropi Rock Resort

    The mosaic ribbon of mugs, saucers, ceramic suns, and glints of mirror that wraps around the front wall is the first hint that Tropi Rock is a world away from the neighboring cookie-cutter motels on the blocks extending west from Fort Lauderdale beach. The exterior of each room is painted with a colorful window border and an animal scene above… More >>
  • Best Local Scandal

    Stephen Fagan

    Remember William Martin, the guy with the Palm Beach mansion and the Rolls-Royce and the beautiful daughters? The guy who told everybody he was a Harvard-educated psychiatrist who once worked for the CIA? The guy who married a succession of society ladies and told his daughters their mother died in a car crash? The guy who, for almost two decades… More >>
  • Best Bridge To The Past

    Snow-Reed Bridge

    Park your butt on the whitewashed concrete railing on either side of the 11th Avenue bridge, gaze out over the north fork of the New River, and squint. If the sun's low in the sky to the west of Sailboat Bend, and you clamp your lids down just enough to add a blurry sepia tone to the scene, you can… More >>
  • Best Hotel/Broward

    Lago-Mar Resort

    This is the place to go to escape the daily grind without leaving town. Tucked in a secluded alcove at the far tip of Fort Lauderdale beach, Lago-Mar is as far as you're going to get from the teeming masses of the new, improved, family-friendly Fort Lauderdale. The beach is wide and groomed and, miracle of miracles, private. The pools… More >>
  • Best Place To Watch Democracy In Action

    Hollywood City Commission

    Just like sausage-making, it may not be pretty to see how government works, but it sure is instructive. The most entertaining show lately is in Hollywood, where the five combative commissioners perform on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. Crowds arrive in eager anticipation of a good scrum. Slick-suited lawyers and lobbyists clog the entranceway, cutting deals up… More >>
  • Best Hotel/Palm Beach

    Boca Raton Resort & Club

    You know you've found yourself a quality hotel when the Presidential Suite is simply too luxurious for an actual U.S. President. When George Herbert Walker Bush vacations at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, he chooses to stay in the Governor's Suite. And it's not just so he can feel kinship with governor sons Jeb and George. The Presidential Suite,… More >>
  • Best Venue For National Acts

    Broward Center For the Performing Arts

    The Sunrise Musical Theatre is more spacious, the Carefree in West Palm Beach more intimate, and, for that matter, West Palm's Kravis Center has comparable facilities. So what makes the Broward Center so special? Location, location, location. No other South Florida venue has a site as well integrated into its surroundings as this two-theater complex perched on the north bank… More >>
  • Best Amateur Butterfly Cultivators

    Ralph Johnson and Bonnie Campbell

    A yellow road-sign hanging from a tree warns "Butterfly Crossing," and the traffic is indeed intense. Dozens of yellow-and-black-striped zebras and classic monarch butterflies swoop, golden sulphurs hover high above, and orange julias flit about the garden that wraps around building contractor Ralph Johnson's Fort Lauderdale home. More than a year ago, Johnson and a friend, Bonnie Campbell, began courting… More >>
  • Best Proof That Broward/Palm Beach Is The Center Of The Universe

    Rick Sanchez

    You will learn at least one fact from watching any WSVN-TV (Channel 7) newscast: Anchorman Rick Sanchez is the most important person in the world. Why shouldn't he be? Recall the days of Operation Desert Storm, when Rick knelt like Mohammed on the floor of the TV studio, sputtering and pointing at a giant map of the Middle East. Remember… More >>
  • Best Weekend Getaway

    Key West

    Hemingway had the right idea. Key West is paradise in the state of Florida. As long as you avoid the tourist madness of lower Duval Street, the place is pure Caribbean-style bliss. A four-hour drive in the middle of the ocean is a small price to pay for the regenerative powers of a weekend with no worries, mon. Find a… More >>
  • Best Renovation

    Kenann Building

    When acclaimed South Florida architect Dan C. Duckham took on the project in the early '90s, the Kenann Building was in shameful disrepair. The big, round tower -- built in the early '60s and known to locals as "the spaceship building" -- had long been neglected, and except for the inexplicably well-preserved tropical mural on the huge panel jutting from… More >>
  • Best Local Insult

    "She's So Boca!"

    She's in her thirties and shops like a demon. She's either married and living on her wealthy husband's income, or she's hunting like mad for a guy who's loaded. Her hair and nails are always done; she won't even go to the beach unless her makeup is just so. She only wears designer rags. Max's Grille is her favorite hangout.… More >>
  • Best Political Battle

    John Rodstrom vs. Scott Cowan

    This political caged grudge-match got heated in 1997 when Rodstrom started raising hell about the county's purchase of Port Everglades land from developer Michael Swerdlow for three times the appraised value. That scuffle was ugly and salacious, but the conflict between the two commissioners really got interesting this past year when Rodstrom urged political unknown Kristin Jacobs to challenge Sylvia… More >>
  • Best Local Landmark

    Slip F-18

    He's gone now, but in his lifetime John D. MacDonald penned 73 novels, including 21 thrillers featuring tough-guy sleuth Travis McGee, Fort Lauderdale's greatest fictional citizen. McGee lived on a 52-foot houseboat at slip F-18, Bahia Mar Marina, and to this day scores of literary pilgrims from around the world show up to pay quiet homage at the site, marked… More >>
  • Best Donation

    The TV in Room 130

    Without a doubt, one of the nastiest places in which to spend a day is Room 130 of the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. This is where not-so-upstanding citizens go to take care of parking fines and other misdemeanors. Apparently we have a lot of traffic scofflaws in this region, because the lines in room 130 are long. The… More >>
  • Best Pro Athlete

    Sam Madison

    Fourth quarter. The Denver Broncos are putting together a late drive that could tie the game and shatter the Dolphins' playoff hopes. Enter Sam Madison. The second-year cornerback picks off an errant John Elway pass and returns it 35 yards to the Denver six-yard line. Ball game. The Dolphins never look back, winning their most impressive victory of the season.… More >>
  • Best Place To People-Watch

    Nick's Restaurant, Lounge & Raw Bar

    Not even a pane of glass separates those inside Nick's from the action on the Broadwalk just outside. The windows swing in and anchor to the ceiling, leaving large openings in the stone façade. All the better to spy on the parade of exercisers speed walking, teenagers cruising, couples courting, babies wailing, condo commandos conferring, Canadian snowbirds squishing in Aquasox,… More >>
  • Best Provocative Ad

    Don Bailey Carpets Sign

    Roughly a quarter-century ago, Burt Reynolds posed nude in Cosmopolitan magazine, and driving the streets of South Florida has never been the same. Don Bailey, an obscure carpet-store owner at the time, was impressed by the fact that Burt's bare bod caused the magazine to sell out in record time. So in an effort to drum up business, Bailey got… More >>
  • Best Sun-Sentinel Writer

    Stacey Singer

    When reading the dailies, we rarely go to the jump page. That's because we get the basics -- the who, what, when, and where -- in the first 'graph or two. The rest is dueling talking heads. But some daily reporters are talented enough to slip their "voices" into an edited story. When Stacey Singer writes, we go to the… More >>
  • Best Never-Say-Die News Hawker

    Richard Ferris

    It was half past ten on that dark night in September, and most of Broward County was hunkered behind locked doors, awaiting the expected onslaught of Hurricane Georges. As the winds brought the first sheets of rain ashore, a skinny, raggedy figure stood alone on the median of Broward Boulevard. He was dressed in a jacket and ball cap, and… More >>
  • Best Radio Personality

    Neil Rogers

    Finally a reason to turn on AM radio again. Neil Rogers, the self-proclaimed fat fag, has no peer as far as we're concerned. His timing couldn't have been better for returning to the airwaves after a seven-month hiatus resulting from his nasty spat with WIOD-AM (610). Armed with a new million-dollar contract, Rogers took up his 10 a.m. to 2… More >>
  • Best Place To Beat The Heat

    Riverside Hotel

    Sweaty and sunburned from jostling with the trendoids and tourists on East Las Olas Boulevard? Then duck into the doorway between Indigo and Golden Lyon marked "Riverside Hotel." Walk down the dark hallway, past the pay phones and gift shop, and through the glass double doors. Select your choice of daily newspaper from the rack on your right: the New… More >>
  • Best Place To Break Up

    Hurricane Food Court

    Your first inclination will be to pick some private, out-of-the-way spot. Forget it! Hell hath no fury like a lover dumped, and what you're gonna want are lots of witnesses around in case things get bloody. Sawgrass Mills has a fine security force and 100,000 shoppers on any given day. Therefore, park your car near the Pink Flamingo entrance, tuck… More >>
  • Best Way To Meet Members Of The Opposite Sex

    Young Professionals For Covenant House

    Beauty, brains, cash, and a career. That's what we're looking for, right? All rolled into one package, without hang-ups or "issues"? Surely that kind of catch was lurking somewhere on the dance floor at the recent "Howl at the Moon" bash, one of a series of themed fundraising parties sponsored by the Young Professionals For Covenant House (YPFCH), a nonprofit… More >>
  • Best Place To Make Up

    Pier Top Lounge

    "Chris, I think we need to talk." That's all you say on the phone. When Chris shows up, you're waiting in the Pier Top with a bottle of Dom Perignon and a view of nighttime Fort Lauderdale that's second to none. Tiny bubbles, twinkly lights. "I was a fool," you say. Later, feeling as suave as Julio Iglesias, you might… More >>
  • Best Local Politician/Palm Beach County

    Nancy Graham

    Say what you will about West Palm Beach's Mayor Nancy Graham. She's a tad cold. She's unresponsive to her constituents. She's out of town a lot, visiting foreign dignitaries and discovering the virtues of Italian architecture. And she's hardly the most photogenic of Palm Beach County politicians -- that honor goes to the stunning Palm Beach County Commissioner Karen Marcus.… More >>
  • Best Political Gaffe

    Sunrise Sign Ordinance

    Forget about guns, drugs, or teenage pregnancy. The Sunrise City Commission tackles the truly ravenous manifestations of urban blight -- like neon. Exposed neon, to be specific. (Whatever that means.) The insufferably self-righteous sign ordinance that put the knife to neon last year also prohibits lettering larger than four inches high and restricts signs to one-tenth the size of window… More >>
  • Best Local Politician/Broward

    Kristin Jacobs

    Kristin Jacobs, a suburban housewife, is an unlikely revolutionary. But in Broward County, that's exactly what she is. Jacobs, almost literally on a shoestring, unseated Sylvia Poitier, who had the backing and money of the most powerful and wealthy people in the county. And when Jacobs won, she turned the powers that be upside down, breaking up Commissioner Scott Cowan's… More >>
  • Best Place To Make Fine-Feathered Friends

    Flamingo Gardens

    Good ol' Edgar. He's always there for us, perched on a railing. He's just one of the 43 species that inhabit the aviary for injured birds at Flamingo Gardens. When it first opened, in 1991, Edgar was the first tenant; now he's the welcoming party. But you have to get the conversation going. Michael Ruggieri, director of animals, says that… More >>
  • Best Place To Witness The Failed War On Drugs

    Port Everglades

    If you hang out at Port Everglades and watch as the three immense cranes offload containers from supercargo freighters, you're witnessing the refueling of South Florida's economy as needed goods and products and raw materials pour into the region. What you may also be watching is the feeding of a drug habit. Last year Port Everglades was unmasked as a… More >>
  • Best Tourist Trap

    Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop and Drive-In

    In a state stuffed with butterfly jungles, alligator wrestling, acrobatic dolphins, and human mermaids, the Swap Shop stands alone as the Florida theme park par excellence. That's because it doesn't have a theme, aside from the unvarnished worship of commerce. Looking for a preowned set of metric socket wrenches? It's there, next to that copy of Jaws II published in… More >>
  • Best Bar For Gawking At Old Money

    The Leopard Lounge

    Those are Ben Franklins you smell in the lobby of the Chesterfield Hotel. Crisp and tightly packed in a gold money clip, placed neatly inside the interior pocket of a pinstriped suit jacket. The portly gentleman wearing the suit saunters, Dominican in hand, toward the dark-wood-and-brass bar at the hotel restaurant, the Leopard Lounge. Two dignified middle-aged women with martinis… More >>

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