Best Relic From a Bygone Era - 2011
Dania Jai Alai
If the tobacco-stained walls of the Dania Beach jai-alai stadium could talk, they would likely tell of the sport's glory days in the '60s and '70s, when celebrities and local movers and shakers would pack into the cavernous stadium to watch the "game of a thousand thrills." The seats are now well worn and have that overly broken-in feeling of an ancient movie theater; row upon row of them sit mostly vacant. The halls are studded with art deco posters advertising long-past games and hinting at the elegance and glamour of the jai alai of yesterday. One good thing about all this throwback: The price of a plastic cup of domestic beer seems to have frozen somewhere around the Clinton administration (Wednesday nights, a 12-ounce beer costs 99 cents). The players, meanwhile, remain youthful and spry, wielding their cestas with vigor and passion, particularly when considering the humble size of the crowd typically gathered to watch their live games. Only a handful of frontons continue to host professional jai alai in the United States, making Dania's stadium a requirement for a truly inclusive tour of South Florida's singular attractions.