When you see his jean booty shorts barely clinging to his tanned physique, you know it's summer. A longtime Alibi letter contributor, his values and health advice always spur mixed responses from the citizenry. But a guy bearing six-pack abs for decades might not be so far off the mark.
2) You, the people of Albuquerque (aka "Me!") 3) Steve Stucker
A lot of you really dig the man at the top of City Hall. Safe to say, compared with Martin Chavez (who's still drawing votes in a few categories), Berry is low-key. This year, he announced a plan to survey the homeless population and shelter the most desperate people in the city. He invited neighboring towns to seek refuge in Albuquerque's high schools during the freeze. All in all, he seems open to the ideas of the people who make the 505 go ’round.
2) Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver 3) Tie: City Councilor Debbie O'Malley, Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D-Albuquerque)
It's no surprise that the mayor took home both the Best and the Worst prize. Happens all the time in Best of Burque. Well, it's certainly not his well-documented mustache—right on trend with hipsters everywhere—that's bringing him down. Maybe it was the "allow la migra to interview everyone in the Prisoner Transport Center" thing.
2) Public Safety Director Darren White 3) Former Mayor Martin Chavez
The job market, the economy, the future of the human race—it’s easy to argue that the health and wealth of them all comes back to one thing: how and what we learn. You want your money going to our collective brainpower.
2) Bike paths, lanes and trails 3) Road improvement
Cafeterias, gym classes, peer pressure. High school is a smorgasbord of awkward teenage angst. But our readers say that if you go through it at Sandia, it’ll suck a lot less. You might even have a good time. Go figure.
He's head coach Steve Alford's first recruit at the University of New Mexico, and he started 130 games for the team. A workhorse, his toughness propelled a young Lobo squad to the NIT. But he couldn't follow his teammates there: In the Mountain West Conference tourney semifinals, he tore the ACL in his right knee. Burqueños won't soon forget Gary’s grit, and they cast their ballots in appreciation.
2) Holly Holm 3) Brian Urlacher
Roadrunner Food Bank
5840 Office NE Main line: 247-2052 Food assistance line: 349-8841 Toll free: (866) 327-0267 rrfb.org
So Roadrunner Food Bank is pretty amazing. It feeds about 40,000 people every week and distributes more than 22 million pounds of food a year. It’s hard to comprehend how many cans of soup and pasta boxes that amounts to, just like it’s hard to imagine what we’d do without Roadrunner Food Bank.
2) Joy Junction 3) Animal Humane
Best Animal Rescue
Animal Humane Association of New Mexico
Main Campus 615 Virginia SE (one block West of Wyoming) 255-5523 Open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closed noon to 1 p.m. for lunch)
NE Heights Adoption & Training Center 9132 Montgomery NE (between Wyoming and Eubank) 323-PETS (7387) Open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Westside Adoption & Training Center 10700 Corrales Road (Just north of Alameda) 890-PETZ (7389) Open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Animal shelters are a tough business, which is why it’s important to have smart, savvy and caring people at the helm. Animal Humane, with its many outreach events, incentives and volunteers, shows other shelters what’s possible.
How could an event based around eating lots and lots of soup from some of the best restaurants in town not climb to the top of this category? Plus, the proceeds go to feeding the hungry. It’s a delicious win-win.
2) Doggie Dash & Dawdle (Animal Humane Association of New Mexico) 3) Chocolate Fantasy (New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation)
He's a familiar figure, telling New Mexico's stories at 5, 6, 6:30 and 10 p.m. every weeknight. Behind the scenes, he's racking up accolades. Joles has three Emmy awards under his belt. Now he’s got a Best of Burque award, the most time-honored popular vote in the city.
2) Dick Knipfing (KRQE News 13) 3) Steve Stucker (KOB Eyewitness News 4)
Did you know that the friendly face sitting next to Joles since 2007 has an ancestor who was killed by Billy the Kid? Her great-great-great grandpa William Brady, sheriff of Lincoln County, was ambushed by Silver City's claim to fame. Dude! Young Guns!
He's a friend to animals, a follower of Christ, an impersonator of Elvis and Albuquerque's favorite weatherman. Even the most negative of Nancies can't resist Steve Stucker's vibrance and cheer. God bless him.
2) Mark Ronchetti (KRQE News 13) 3) Joe Diaz (KOAT Action 7 News)
Public radio has been dealt some bad cards lately, but unfortunate political sleight of hand hasn't prevented Albuquerque and northern New Mexico's community-powered radio from being favored over the largely corporate-controlled airwaves year after year.
Has this baby-faced charmer ever not won this category? You’ve loved Donnie ever since he used to deliver your daily traffic reports across the dial. Now you can find him every morning on the “Jackie, Tony and Donnie” show.
Every June, Burqueños come out of the closet and into the streets to celebrate the gayest of holidays. The public display of freedom, tolerance and vivid colors (happening on Saturday, June 11, this year) Is a magical time in the city.
2) Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 3) Día de los Muertos Marigold Parade
Can we put ¡explora! on the Best Recreational Program for Adults list, too? It’s an awesomely fun hands-on science center that gets kids (and grown-ups, especially on adult nights) excited about things like electricity, refracted light and systems in motion. And that’s worth a million awards.
2) YMCA/YWCA 3) Blackout Theatre’s Education Program
Nestled in the Northeast Heights, this course offers great views of the mountains and the namesake arroyo that runs through it. There is no better place to whack your way around 18 holes. They’ve also got a nine-hole course for those daunted by a full golf game.
The Main Library branch is centrally located so you can pick up a new read or a DVD on your way from the office to the gym. Now it also has that snazzy new coffee shop on Fifth Street and Copper. What’s better than free books with fancy coffee?
It can be hard to get through the week without a little clarity of mind, and that precious commodity is stocked at Kadampa Meditation Center New Mexico. In addition to its courses, retreats and regular events around town, Kadampa also offers free Prayers for World Peace sessions every Sunday morning.
2) Albuquerque Zen Center 3) Albuquerque Shambhala Meditation Center
Many folks like the School of Architecture and Planning at UNM, which is intended to inspire the students within its walls. Infrastructure is revealed; the building's guts are visible. Lots of people also gave a thumb's up to The Pit, the abandoned train station and the pencil-shaped Bank of Albuquerque building Downtown.
Best Neon Sign
Scot's Dog Grooming
3421 Central NE 266-0767
Flashing lights are symbolic of metropolitan heydays ... and they're fun. The neon Scotty dog sign in the window of Scot's Dog Grooming in Nob Hill is a handsome contribution to the city's visual aesthetic. Besides, who can resist dog art?
2) Master Cleaners (Nob Hill) 3) Dog House Drive In
Best Street Name
There were a lot of votes for high-minded social roads like Avenida Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King Jr. There were also high-minded votes for ... High Street. Stoners.
They don’t call it a Bicycle Boulevard for nothing. A cycling revolution has swelled through this stretch of the University and Nob Hill area. There are so many pedals and hand brakes along the avenue, it’s all but squeezed out the cars. Hop on and join the uprising.
Whether or not you believe in a spirit-inhabited netherworld, most of us are in agreement: The Parq Central Hotel's rehabilitation (the beautiful Italianate building was originally a hospital for railroad workers) is one of the best things that's happened to Downtown Albuquerque in years.
We suspect Tanoan leaped ahead of the swankier Country Club neighborhood for one simple reason: volume. There are seven subdivisions within Tanoan East and 10 in Tanoan West. That's a lotta doors to knock. So this October, load up the minivan with costumed beggars and head to the Far Northeast Heights.
This is also arguably the best neighborhood for leisurely bike riding. The Country Club neighborhood—snuggled between Central and Tingley and abutting, of course, the Albuquerque Country Club—is resplendent with rolling lawns, palatial mansions and wealthy residents who can afford to put up thousands of gorgeous Christmas lights and luminarias. Bury your envy and just enjoy the show.
2) Ridgcrest 3) The North Valley along Rio Grande
Best Secret Place to Watch Balloons and Fireworks
A number of you caught on to the fact that if you told us about the best secret place to do this, it would no longer be a secret. All right, smarty-pantses, keep it to yourselves. Then there were those who proclaimed their love for watching midair marvels from Balloon Fiesta Park—not exactly surreptitious. Those who like slightly more guerilla-style viewing are fans of the Foothills, Sandia Crest, and roofs and decks everywhere. We think the best spot is probably smack-dab in the middle of “Essie’s backyard,” but mainly because we just like the sound of it.
Albuquerque is gushing with pride for this Emmy-winning drama. Not only do we revel in the possibility that Bryan Cranston could be around any corner, we also get a little thrill when we spot our local digs on the screen. The Dog House Drive In, with its tail-wagging neon dachshund, is as wonderfully strange as Albuquerque itself.
2) Octopus Car Wash (Menaul and Eubank) 3) Java Joe's
Burqueños hop that double-decker train to the capital to avoid: drunk driving, radar, snow-covered roads, stupid drivers, the traffic on I-25 and wasting gas. But you also like the RR because you can knit while you travel, because it's comfortable and easy, because you can take your bike, and because it's date night. Don't forget the food in Santa Fe. You listed: Tomasita's, Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery, Café Pasqual's, The Cowgirl BBQ and Tia Sophia's. But most of all, you like the train because it's fun.
That big, blue sky, plus the gorgeous weather, diversity, chile and laid-back attitude keep people in our little/big city. Others are hooked by the inexpensive living, creative people, lack of snobbery and general weirdness. The mountains and landscape—and don't forget about the open space shooting right through Burque's center—certainly don't hurt. Plus, the sun ... and the sunsets.
Allergies! Drive-by shootings, hippies and liberals, gang violence, poor job prospects, drug addicts, insufficient parking in Nob Hill, drunk driving, low wages, dust, ghetto people, boredom ... (jeez, guys, let's get back to talking about the sunshine. Oh wait, you don't like that either.) Nothing stays open late enough, and there's not enough to do—especially for kids. And the sprawl! And the people, they're the worst: Americans are supposed to speak English. It's way too dry. Also, it's trashy and dirty. Hmph.