Best Of 2014

Best westward expansion

And the beat goes on, and on, and on. The entrepreneurial irrepressibility of St. Pete couldn’t be contained in just the city’s downtown blocks, and that spirit has taken hold in a big way on Central and 1st avenues in the blocks west of downtown between MLK and 16th — the District known as EDGE (Entertainment, Dining, Galleries, Etc.). The Bends and Engine No9 were early adaptors in 2012, and in the last 12 months the openings of Green Bench Brewing, Enigma, Bodega on Central and Mis en Chic, to name just a few, have turned up the heat on the 1100 blocks. With Grand Central continuing to thrive and freeFall Theatre Company drawing more and more crowds farther west — plus exciting plans to link all of Central visually with a transit art project by the impressive team of Carol Mickett, Thaddeus Root and Robert Stackhouse — the prospects for synergy look sunny.

People & Politics

Best "I'm gonna miss that guy"

Don Zimmer was one of the few Yankee or Red Sox players that Rays fans adored, and that’s because the effervescent, super-cuddly “Zim Bear” spent 10 years on our side as a coach and advisor. Zim — who died in June at the age of 83 — got a touching tribute when Rays broadcaster Todd Kalas announced his death during a game against the Miami Marlins. “I felt like I was getting a gift every time we talked,” Kalas said as he choked back tears. “Really sad news.” Deadspin ran this video clip of his remarks.

Best beach

Runners-up: St. Pete Beach, Pass-A-Grille

Best beach town

Runners-up: St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island

Best bizarro local news story

Runners-up: Jill Kelley, Mystery Monkey

Best Bucs player

Runners-up: Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin

Judge Luis Garcia.
Judge Luis Garcia.

“This court concludes that a citizen’s right to marry is a fundamental right that belongs to the individual.” Those were the words of Judge Luis Garcia of the Monroe County Circuit Court, whose July ruling was the first in a slew of similar decisions by “activist judges” that may eventually wind up toppling the state’s anti-gay marriage amendment. Fun fact to rub in the face of John Stemberger Republicans: Garcia was appointed by Republican Governor Jeb Bush.

Best change in Tampa Bay since last year's Readers' Poll

Runners-up: Water Works Park, more breweries

Best city

Runners-up: Tampa, Clearwater

Best city park

Runners-up: Vinoy Park (St. Petersburg), Crescent Lake Park (St. Petersburg)