As long-time readers of the Alibi already know, Chevy on a Stick (a.k.a. “Cruising San Mateo I”) always wins this category. It's some kind of law of nature. Yes, our city is filled with great and diverse pieces of monumental public art, but something about that delicious Chevy on a Stick, located at the corner of San Mateo and Gibson, perfectly symbolizes the thriving neon auto culture that has defined Albuquerque for the last 60-odd years.
This city wasn't built on rock 'n' roll. It was built on Chevys, Fords and Chryslers, tooling down the strip, gagging up clouds of brown smog in the land of the carburetor and the home of the spark plug. Over the years, a goodly quantity of scorn has been heaped on that poor, defenseless Chevy on a Stick, yet it has endured as a local icon. I personally like that good ol' Chevy on a Stick, and, in the words of Neil Young, “long may she run.”
You're not going to believe what got second place this year: It's that metal yucca sculpture embedded in the Sandias on the north side of the Interstate as you drive along I-40 toward Tijeras. One of the sculpture's finest features is that it lights up with a pleasing purple glow at night. Pretty darn cool.
The ever-popular crowd of bronze people loitering outside the Downtown Hyatt came in third this year. Folks love those bronze loiterers—the construction worker, the businessman, the kid rockin' out on his skateboard, the young couple with the baby. They're just so damn lifelike. I walk by them every day, and I can't tell you how many times I've seen tourists snapping pictures of Glenna Goodacre's 1991 “Sidewalk Society.” That sculpture is our Golden Gate Bridge.
“The mostly undressed Don Shrader” got one vote. He always does. Those green coffee filters planned for I-40 and Louisiana, which got so much negative attention a couple months ago, got several votes, as did the missile in Old Town, which let's face it folks, isn't really a sculpture.
“Uh, don't really pay attention” got one vote as well.