A la modies! For the first time in our lifetime, someone has stolen the title from our resident tan, nearly nude philosopher. You're all mad or what, Schrader? Not even. That dude lives by the principles of forgiveness and stuff. But Lynette, shooooot, this is her Albuquerque now, nuh? And there are other notable people doing good work, too. Like cannabis activist Bryan Krumm; (un)Occupy protester Brittany Arneson, who faces disciplinary action from the University of New Mexico; Youth Development, Inc. President Chris Baca; Chicano author Rudolfo Anaya; and charming Neil Patrick Harris.
You dig our mayor's low-key approach to running the city. He seems to avoid fights based on ideology, helped launch a "housing first" approach to homelessness and hasn't re-nicknamed the town. A private-public partnership should get recycling bins to most of the households in the city, too. He's also been a strong champion of the I-25 and Paseo interchange rebuild.
Albuquerque’s relationship with its mayor is complex. Maybe we've got authority issues. Every Best of Burque poll crowns the mayor both the most-beloved and the most-hated politician in the city. We've even got residual Mayor Marty hate spilling over into 2012. Someone wrote "y'all are no fun" in response to this question. Us? We're fun. You guys are the ones who can't make up your mind about the boss.
2) Martin Chavez 3) Dan Lewis
Best City Council Decision
People are really glad the Council put red-light cameras on the ballot so the voters could decide to do away with them. You guys noted the Albuquerque Police Department inquiry—presumably the unanimous agreement to cooperate fully with the feds should they decide to look into APD. (Because the Council couldn't override Mayor Berry's veto of a bill that directly asked the feds to examine our police force.) Folks were also stoked about the Paseo del Norte and I-25 interchange renovation. They cast their Best of Burque ballots before Councilors Isaac Benton, Debbie O'Malley and Rey Garduño blocked a proposal on Monday, March 26, to get started on the project and opted instead to make it part of the November elections. (See “Junction Obstruction” on page 12 for more on that.)
Worst Council Decision
"Doing nothing about excessive cop shootings" wrote one respondent. The Lead/Coal project got several mentions, too. The decision to redistrict Benton's seat away got some attention, as well "hanky panky" with Quote ... Unquote's contract to run public access channels 26 and 27. And red-light cameras came up again, though there are fewer people who miss them than folks who are celebrating their demise.
New schools, school improvements, educating our youth—you believe the children are our future. You believed it last year, too. In fact, it would seem priorities haven't changed much, even with the runners-up.
2) Bike paths 3) Paseo and I-25 interchange renovations
It was early November 2010 when the city tore up the one-way arteries carrying heavy traffic between Downtown and Nob Hill. They said the construction would last 18 months. In the meantime, at least five small businesses have become casualties of the project. Both roads should be open in late May, according to the city's website, but minor construction will continue for several weeks thereafter.
Amy Biehl supports community service in tandem with scholastic achievement. Not only does its Downtown campus seem like a fun place to navigate your teen years, Amy Biehl also consistently releases bright, thoughtful and engaged citizens into our city.
2) Public Academy for Performing Arts (PAPA) 3) Media Arts Collaborative Charter School (MACCS)
One of the best rebounders in UNM's history (and maybe the best looking), Drew Gordon has clawed his way to the top of the Lobo pack and into our hearts since his transfer in 2010. His consistent double-double performances, athleticism, sportsmanship and charisma are what make this California boy Albuquerque's favorite athlete.
The movement fired up on Oct. 1 and has persisted despite attempts from police and the UNM administration to quash it. It's evolved over time, too, changing its name out of sensitivity to Native Americans and taking its message to the legislative session. Though there are plenty of detractors, this is Burque's favorite activism.
2) Duke City Darlins 3) Southwest Organizing Project
Since 1980, the good people at Roadrunner have been supplying hungry New Mexicans with tons—literally—of food. Each year more than 26 million pounds are sent through four food banks, aiding 40,000 people every week.
Mark your calendars: The state's largest, most candy-colored celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is moving to the last weekend in June this year. The family-friendly parade and festival is happening on Saturday, June 30.
2) The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 3) Muertos y Marigolds Día de los Muertos Parade
Best Place to Have a Birthday Party
We don't care what you guys say: An arroyo is not a good place to have a birthday party. You talked about ¡explora!, especially on adult night; Hinkle Family Fun Center; Golfernoggins; iT'Z; most every bar in town; Chuck E. Cheese’s; Peter Piper Pizza because there are games for the kids and beers for the adults; the American International Rattlesnake Museum; roller rinks and the zoo. Invite us already.
Best Place to People-Watch
The ogling is good pretty much anywhere along Central—UNM campus and the Duck Pond; Satellite and Winning Coffee and Kelly's; in line at the Frontier; and in Nob Hill,Old Town and Downtown in general. The Albuquerque International Sunport never disappoints for weirdos and hotties in transit. There's a lot of action at the BioPark. You can stare at the mall crowd at ABQ Uptown, Coronado and Cottonwood. And, of course, there's always Walmart—especially late at night.
The bright purple signs strewn along Silver hailing it a “Bicycle Boulevard” are the first indication. ABQ cyclists have taken the moniker to heart, frequenting the University-area avenue often and with enough foot power to push out unwelcome cars. Bike in peace, Burque.
2) Mountain 3) Tramway
Albuquerque has a predilection for knocking down architectural gems rather than preserving them, most recently the Aztec Motel. But plenty have been spared from the wrecking ball. The king of its kind is the KiMo Theatre. Other still-standing treasures include the Wool Warehouse and, just on the other side of the train tracks, the old Glorieta Brewery. The Occidental Life Insurance Building, the Sunshine Theater and the old railyard industrial workshop count among our historic Downtown properties. Grand dames who've had some work done lately include the Albuquerque Press Club, the Hotel Andaluz (formerly La Posada), Hotel Parq Central (formerly Memorial Hospital) and the Lofts at Albuquerque High (formerly ... Albuquerque High School). Contemporary marvels include the Bart Prince "flying saucer" house on Monte Vista, that ominous "Darth Vader" building on Indian School near Coronado Mall, Gertrude Zachary's urban castle, the iconic Bank of Albuquerque / Hyatt towers, UNM's Antoine Predock-designed George Pearl Hall school of architecture and fine arts library, and the Emerald City-washed Wells Fargo bank.
Best Place to Go for a Run
With weather like we've got, there are few excuses to skip a run in Albuquerque. You like to get your pulse up in the Bosque, around Tingley Beach or by the Nature Center. The Sandia Foothills near Elena Gallegos picnic area and Open Space draw some sneakers. Running up La Luz is a daunting proposition for most of us, but plenty of you have the verve. UNM's North Golf Course, the Tramway recreation trail, around the Albuquerque Academy, along the North Valley's network of ditches and Ridgecrest are other sprinter faves.
Yes, you love your meth-making masterminds to varying degrees of exclamation point. It's great that there are finally a couple of Hollywood productions out there—Walter White's anxiety-inducing adventure series among them—that not only film in Albuquerque but don't try to pretend that it's the Sahara Desert or New York City.
2) The Avengers 3)"In Plain Sight"
Best Public Access TV Show
"The Tobyriffic Show," hosted byTobyriffic Jay (Community Cable channel 27)
He's taking a breather from the TV gig for the next few months, but rest assured this energetic host will be back curating Albuquerque’s entertainment scene before our copy editors can figure out the correct spelling of "Tobyriffic."
2) "Clearly From My Heart," hosted by Don Schrader (Community Cable channel 27) 3) "New Mexican Santera," hosted by Sean Wells y Delgado (Encantada TV channel 26)
Best Thing Burqueños Say
Híjole, you guys! A la vergas is all kinds of dirty. Umberrrrs. Red or green? Oh si. Just go Christmas. Want a coke? You don't EVEN know. Eeeeeeeeeeee. Bueno-bye.
Best Place to Get Wet
Of course, this category invited a litany of bawdy anatomical jokes from readers. And there's a wave-pool-sized hole in your hearts for the Beach Waterpark, which you seem determined to fill with tears. Otherwise, there's that logjam contraption at Cliff's Amusement Park, the short and tall diving boards at Highland Pool, a day trip to Elephant Butte or Jemez, the Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center's splashy Sprayground, the indoor water wonderland that is the Radisson Hotel & Water Park, the giant water slide at the West Mesa Aquatic Center, or a lazy inner tube down the Rio Grande. If all of that sounds too frivolous, quite a few of you prefer and a nice, puritanical shower.
Best Thing About Albuquerque
Biscochitos. Bosque. Bright sunny days. Chile. Culture. Doing your own thing and not feeling judged. It's real. Mountains. No natural disasters. Open sky. People. Sunsets. Weather. You know everyone.
Worst Thing About Albuquerque
Allergies. Attitude. Burqueño fashion. Crime. Drivers. Drunk drivers. Dry. Dust. Ghetto. Lack of trees. Lack of urgency. Meth. No ocean. No professional sports team. People. People who don't like living here but don't leave. Poverty. Roads. Spring wind. Thug life. Traffic. Weather. You know everyone.
Best Way to Conserve Water
It's astonishing how many people voted that we drink beer, Margaritas, vodka, whiskey and wine instead of H2O as a solution to our deserty water woes. Also, don't flush after you go No. 1, shower with a friend, collect rainwater and xeriscape. Folks are also in favor of closing down our golf courses.
Best Way to Avoid Setting Ourselves on Fire
There were many variations on the theme of doing away with fireworks, including "Saying ‘Boom!’ instead of lighting fireworks." Further, lots of people think you smokers should cut it out or at least be responsible with your butts. Less cologne or perfume, suggested one respondent. "There is no hope," said another.
Shout-outs to: Christy Crowley at UNM, Edwina Tafoya at Corrales Library, Linda at Tony Hillerman, Ms. Pickett at the South Broadway Library, Ms. DeYoung at Corrales Elementary, Tom Moppert at Highland High School and everyone at Los Griegos.
Best Police Officer
Sure, this drew some skeptics. But plenty of people got mentioned, too: Macario Page, Connor Rice, Jordan Grady, Jose Natividad, Ray Zamora and others. Also, "female bike cop in Nob Hill / UNM" and "pretty lady who's on the news all the time." Also, "most of them."
Without a doubt, the tradition of folding down the rims of brown paper sacks, filling them with an inch or two of sand, and sticking a small white candle inside to burn all night carried this category. Some norteños insisted on calling them farolitos in the poll, but whatever to them.
2) Balloon Fiesta 3) Chile
Best Totally Free Activity You Can Only Do Here
We are super lucky to live next to mountains and have the wild Bosque running through our city—both of which we can enjoy for free. Hiking La Luz, riding your bike alongside the Rio Grande, climbing around in the Foothills—how can anyone get bored here? The more adventurous among us also check out the volcanos and Petroglyph National Monument on the Westside.
Just a few minutes north of Albuquerque, the Tamaya is a high desert retreat with five-star amenities and only-in-New Mexico flavor. Upon encountering it in 1540, Coronado threw down his armor and got a hot stone massage. Or so it's said.
2) Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm 3) Tie: Hard Rock Casino & Resort Hotel, Sandia Resort and Casino
Best Thing That Doesn't Exist Anymore
Remember back in the day? You guys miss: 24-hour Frontier, A&W drive-in, the Alvarado Hotel, Aztec Motel, Beach Waterpark, Bow Wow Records, The Dukes, Golden West, Insomnia Coffee House, Laffs Comedy Club, manners, Okie's Bar, Pulse, "that broke-ass house on Silver and Cornell," UN dance club, Winrock and YesterDaves.