With all the changes coming down the pipe for Downtown this year, it's pretty obvious the mayor is working all the angles to leave his mark. ART is (most likely) going to go down, and upgrades on the plaza and the One Central Entertainment District plan should start this year. ABQ is ready for change, and they've let Berry know it with this hearty slap on the back.
2) Pat Davis
3) Isaac Benton
Best City Politician to Get a Punch in the Nose
Just after enjoying all the heart-warming approval, the mayor is immediately knocked into orbit by the results of our next question. Why does Berry get a pat on the back and a knock to the noggin? Probably for such dumb stunts as vetoing the decriminalization of pot, ignoring residents' concerns over the Bosque trail and not bothering to show up at any ART meetings.
2) Susana Martinez
3) Isaac Benton
Best Citywide/Statewide Scandal
Susana Martinez Pizza Party
Under Martinez' watch, N.M. became the worst-rated state for child poverty. An FBI investigation into one of her top advisers regarding campaign finance activities shriveled. But what scandal are we most interested in? Our governor pulling the “Do you know who I am?” line during a rowdy, drunken pizza party.
2) Diana Duran Embezzlement
3) APD Shooting
Best Use of City Money
Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART)
Despite the loudly vocal hatred of the rapid transit plan—with its negative impact on local businesses, expensive infrastructural changes and traffic disruptions—our voters still thought ART was the best way for the city to spend their dollars. People obviously want their public transportation.
2) Helping the homeless
3) ABQ BioPark
Best Waste of City Money
Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART)
Despite the support of the rapid transit plan amongst millennials—with its promises of urban renewal, economic improvement and cultural development—our voters still thought ART was the worst way for the city to spend their dollars. People obviously don't want public transportation.
2) APD Shooting Lawsuits
Best Local Athlete
Holly Holm did the unthinkable last November when she took down then-undefeated women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey with a vicious kick to the head—and that was after being the second person to ever push a Rousey fight past the first round—placing her squarely in the Badass Zone. After ABQ declared November “Holly Holm Month,” it's no surprise she took the title for Best Athlete.
2) Carlos Condit
3) Elijah Brown
Best TV News Anchor
In 28 years Tom Joles has seen mayors and governors come and go, watched scandals rise and fall, and seen the city become what it is today—all from the anchorperson's chair at KOB-TV. When it comes to our nightly news, you can't substitute for decades of experience and hard work.
2) Marisa Maez
3) Doug Fernanadez/Jessica Garate
Best TV Weatherperson
With a shredded physique and lantern jaw, how could you not trust mild-mannered meteorologist Mark Ronchetti of KRQE News 13? We don't even blame him when we get freak hail or dust storms. It is a little strange that he and Superman are never in the same room, though. But Superman doesn't wear glasses, so it's probably nothing.
2) Steve Stucker
3) Joe Diaz
Best Radio Station
That's right, Middle America, you can keep your rocky rolls and your hippie hops. Here in Burque, we like our radio smart, informative and delivered in a smooth, even tone—with breaks for jazz and world music, of course. It probably won't make your trunk bump, but you will get to hear half a story about a French yarn artist before you get to work.
2) 100.3 The Peak
3) 104.1 The Edge
Best Place to Hike
Sandia Embudito Trail
Our wide open skies, beautiful landscapes and incredible biodiversity make ABQ the perfect place for anyone who loves escaping to the great outdoors. But of all the amazing hiking spots in town, the Sandia Embudito Trail is our favorite. At nearly nine and a half miles, the incredible views of the western slopes of the mountains make this somewhat difficult hike well worth the effort.
2) La Luz Trail
3) The Bosque
Best Bike Trail
Paseo del Bosque
Biking in an urban area can be fraught with peril and ugly sights. That’s why our favorite place to take a ride is the Paseo del Bosque trail: 16 miles of uninterrupted cycling fun through a natural setting that’s somehow hiding in the middle of the city. There’s nothing better than following the river on a sunny day with the wind in your hair.
2) Santa Fe Trail
Best Place to People Watch
Yippies, dippies and yoga-enthusiasts. Oh my! Nob Hill brings us more than its fair share of goofballs and bohemians, allowing us to observe them in their natural habitat. Just wear your drabbest earth tones, post up at one of the shops, and try to look inconspicuous. Don’t worry. Everyone will be too busy trying to get attention to notice you.
2) Frontier Restaurant/Downtown
3) Sunport/Old Town
Best Local Place to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse
Our voters obviously didn't think this one through. Sure, Costco seems like a great place to hole up during the zombie apocalypse. Barrels of processed cheese. All the booze you can drink. Bulk cocktail umbrellas. But those fascists are serious about checking for membership, and if you really think they'll suddenly relax their policy just because there's an undead horde outside, you've got another think coming.
2) UNM/Frontier Restaurant
Best Annual Charity Event
Doggie Dash and Dawdle
Every year thousands of people and dogs run to the Balloon Fiesta Park to take part in a day of pooch-themed fun. Whether it’s to help raise funds and awareness for the Humane Society, or just as an excuse to hang out in the sun and watch ABQ’s best friends having a ball, the Dash and Dawdle is our favorite way to give back.
2) Chocolate Fantasy
3) Souper Bowl
Best Reason to Stay in Albuquerque
We’ve got the perfect spot for weather. Sunny summers that won’t leave you a melty puddle, snowy winters that (usually) don’t strand you at home and just enough rain to keep us on our toes and make sure we don’t turn into any of those whiny West Coasters. Why would anyone want to leave?
3) Natural Beauty
Best Place to Take Grandparents
All geriatric jokes aside, who doesn't frigging love the BioPark? You can spend the whole day meandering around the botanical gardens alone. The zoo and aquarium are just whipped cream on the Jello mold. But if Grammy's in town, you'll be glad to know that moments of heart-threatening excitement are rare, and they have room for wheelchairs.
2) Old Town
3) Sandia Tram
Best Place to Take a First Date
There's nothing more romantic than a panoramic view at 10,000 feet above sea level. And amazing scenery isn't the only thing the Crest has to offer. Biologists have learned that a heightened heart rate will generate amorous feelings for those around you, and since high altitudes have a clear affect on heart rate, this is literally the best place you can take a first date. It's science.
2) Old Town
3) Pop Fizz
Best Place to Get Married
Los Poblanos has 25 acres of romantic gardens and cottonwoods to get lost in with your shiny new spouse. The historic site was designed by the “father of Santa Fe style,” John Gaw Meem, boasting 20 guest rooms, an organic farm and massive open spaces to host the fam. It's no wonder this is our voter's fave spot to say their “I do's.”
2) Botanical Gardens
Best Place to Take an Ashley Madison Date
Need a dark place to take your Sancho or Sanchita where no one knows your name? Well we've got a three-way tie for best spot to bring a home-wrecker, meaning you have options (which you obviously feel you need). One's a strip club, one's an alcoholic feeding trough and one's a cheap motel. Take your pick, pig. Don't forget the fake moustache.
Best Place for a Break-Up
Let's hope that all those firearms on the walls at Frontier restaurant are just for show, because it tied with Flying Star Cafe for the place to dump your ball-and-chain. Maybe it's the promise of a crowded dining room or easy access to the front door, but whatever the reason, these two spots should probably think of installing tissue dispensers at all the tables. Break ups are sad.
2) Sandia Crest/Whole Foods
Best Golf Course
Sandia Golf Club
Fore! Sandia Casino has had a golf course for over a decade now and it’s still going strong. It’s no mystery why: the incredible views, huge course, wonderful people, not to mention the quality of this resort is incredible. This is the perfect place to spend your lunch or Sunday afternoon.
2) Paako Ridge Golf Club
3) Arroyo Del Oso Golf Course
Transients that masturbate in this park don’t put off our readers! The rolling hills, the shade of the lofty cottonwood trees and the disc golf make this spot a prime destination for relaxing afternoons. Grab a blanket and a book and hang out, someone will definitely ask you to play Frisbee there.
2) Hyder Park
3) Tigeux Park
West Mesa Aquatic Center
Water is a rarity in this state and quality pools even more so. This pool has everything your li’l hearts desire: slides, water toys, lap pools, diving boards, classes and an Olympic-sized pool (with seating for over 800 people). What more could a high desert city need?
2) Rio Grande Pool
3) Sandia Resort and Casino
Best Outdoor Space
A nice walk through the cottonwoods is how many Burqueños like to celebrate the end of their work day. Along the 16-mile Paseo del Bosque Trail you’ll run into families, cyclists, runners, equestrians and in-line skaters all looking for a little escape. You can also see local art at different points along this trail and lots of wildlife.
2) ABQ BioPark
3) Sandia Mountains
Best Place to Take Your Mom
St. James Tearoom
The best place to get Mom out of her normal busy routine and give her the treat she deserves is at the St. James Tearoom. She’ll finally be able to relax and appreciate the hard work she had to do with teaching you manners growing up. I mean, we all know you’re still a gross monster but you can pretend for an hour or two, right? Go there to enjoy the rotating menu and excellent hospitality of these wonderful folks for an afternoon.
2) Old Town
3) ABQ BioPark
Best Road to Confuse Out-of-Town Drivers
For us Burqueños, Lomas is allllll easy. But we guess the out-of-towners don’t understand it, huh? We think aside from the interstate crossover, combination with Central, the bike-crossing stoplights, going by the Fairgrounds, the lane changes and meeting multiple five-way lights, it’s perfectly fine.
2) Coors/Paseo Del Norte/Indian School
Best Place to Spend a Wad of Singles
The description listed on the TD’s website says it’s an upscale, up-tempo atmosphere. Wee can’t say for sure ourselves, butt there’s something our readers find rather titillating about this joint. Whether it’s the regular late hours, divorce parties, food and liquor, or the semi-clothed ladies, for better or worse, it’s an unforgettable experience.
3) Sandia Resort and Casino
Best Neon Sign
Nob Hill Bus Stop
This sign got the most votes this year. You seen it? Probably not, fuckin’ nerd. Only special people get to see it. Average civilians can see it on rare occasions. If you do want to see it, you need to drink a bottle of Silvercoin tequila, eat an abuela’s tamale (any abuela and any kind of tamale), spin in a circle with your arm pointed out straight (if you’ve fallen over at this point, just pack up and go home because you failed), and walk from Girard to Washington along Central and back (if you fall on your walk, that’s fine). At some point on this journey you’ll see the Nob Hill bus stop sign that the rest of our exceptional readers are so fond of.
2) Dog House Drive In
3) Route 66
Best Cheap Thrills
Hinkle Family Fun Center
The screaming kiddos don’t concern us. The ringing of non-gambling machines call one and all like sirens call sailors on the sea. After you spend most of your money, you can take your aggression out on the putt-putt or laser tag course.
Best Parking Lot to Make You Lose All Faith in Humanity
It’s the middle of the night and you need some ice cream, stat! You know where to go; you don’t want to, but you know. Don’t let the fashion, angry couples, thoughts of hatchets just hanging in the aisles just on the other side of those doors, or even those pesky stabbings scare you away. You’ll probably be fine.
2) Trader Joe’s (especially Uptown)
3) Ghetto Smith’s
Best Place to Read a Complete Novel While Waiting in Line
Whenever we find ourselves waiting at the MVD, we remember the afterlife waiting room scene in Beetlejuice. Spend an hour creating a story for how each person will die or read a book, it’s up to you. Like they say in the film, “It's all very personal. And I'll tell you something: If I knew then what I know now ... I wouldn't have had my little accident.”
3) Post Office
Best Place to Find Peace of Mind
Albert Einstein once said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” When Burqueños are lost or upset, we often look to the Sandias for solace. It could be a walk in the cold, high desert foothills during winter, a bike ride through the lush forest during summer, a ride up the tram or the many, many other things you can do on our beautiful mountains. Whatever it is, you’ll certainly find peace just east of our city.