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Cityscape

Atlanta has always been about making the best of a crappy situation. So some Yankees burned the city to the ground — at least the site-clearing work is done for the rebuilding. Am I right? So, how have we fashioned sows' ears into silk purses over the last year? After an Auburn Avenue church razed some run-down apartments, a local farmer turned the unsightly vacant lot into a model organic urban garden. Or how about the cavernous and abandoned City Hall East that, despite the lousy economy, is slated to be redeveloped into a regional retail and restaurant showplace?

The school cheating scandal has hit the city hard, but the AJC's aggressive coverage proves that the daily newspaper can still have plenty of bite. And when some guy decides he has nothing to live for and gets on top of a roof, a rap star takes time out of his busy day to talk the jumper down. That's the sort of crazy, unpredictable, exciting town we live in. Frustrations and setbacks abound, but someone's usually trying to make things a little better. Consider this Best Of issue a measure of encouragement.

Scott Henry

Best bike lanes for aiding traffic flow

Decatur's new bike lanes

Though far from being the two-wheelers' playground it could be, Atlanta's made some inroads when it comes to cycling. The most welcome addition to the »more

Best bizarro local news story

T.I. talked the jumper off the building

Late one afternoon last October, radio and TV news reported that a man was threatening to jump 22 stories from the top of Colony Square »more

Best chance to watch gold medal Olympians

Atlanta Beat

It's an expansion team in a league many people don't even know exists, but the Atlanta Beat pro soccer club fielded three members of the »more

Best community garden for bringing a community together

English Avenue Community Garden

At last count, there were more than 150 community gardens across metro Atlanta, some large and spectacular, some super-organic with heirloom veggies, still others meticulously »more

Best con for people who couldn't get laid at Dragon*Con

Frolicon

People flock to Dragon*Con to buy the latest steampunk paraphernalia, play Magic: The Gathering and ogle chicks dressed like Sailor Moon. People go to Frolicon »more

Best excuse to spend a few days out of the office

Snowpocalypse

No longer will we poke fun at folks who bum-rush grocery stores when flurries appear. On Jan. 9, nearly four inches of snow blanketed metro »more

Best local blogger rivalry

What Now, Atlanta? and Tomorrow's News Today

Online flame wars typically fizzle out after a day. Twitter debates are limited to 140 characters. And arguing in public sucks because you actually have »more

Best local political figure

Mayor Kasim Reed

Even his detractors must admit that Mayor Kasim Reed has had a helluva year. His trips to Washington, D.C., have helped Atlanta and Georgia secure »more

Best mainstream tourist attraction

Cyclorama

Other cities have aquariums and battlefields, but none but Atlanta can claim the Cyclorama. Even the name is cool — as it should be for »more

Best neighborhood listserv (for outsiders)

Inman Park LISTSERV

Itching to learn more about your fellow Atlantans but can't get away from your desk? Heard of a nifty invention called the Internet? It comes »more

Best new (born) thing in Atlanta

Zoo babies

When it comes to zoo babies, how could you single out just one of the adorable mammalian wonders who've sprung forth into the world at »more

Best new thing in Atlanta

Historic Fourth Ward Park and Skate Park

Nearly 10 years ago, community activists suggested that the city get creative when replacing its antiquated sewers. Rather than simply digging tunnels and burying pipes, »more

Best off-the-beaten path tourist attraction

Lake Claire Community Land Trust

Just as the Atlanta History Center's Tullie Smith Farm allows visitors to tour an 1840s plantation, the Lake Claire Community Land Trust is a full-scale »more

Best opportunity for national retail and food hall glory

Ponce City Market

After more than a year of touch-and-go negotiations, City Hall East was finally sold to a developer this summer and its new owner wasted no »more

Best place for a beach getaway/history lesson

Sapelo Island

Who wouldn't want to visit a village called Hog Hammock? Sapelo Island ranks as one of the state's most historically significant and downright interesting places »more

Best political theater

State Senate

Watch Sen. Cecil Staton squirm as evidence mounts that he's actually a Casey Cagle-hating activist named Beth Merkleson! Hear House Speaker David Ralston tell Senate »more

Best progressive radio personality

DJ Tabone

All the on-air personality in the world can't make disposable music palatable. Likewise, listening to carefully curated tunes is a serious strain when the sound »more

Best public bus route

MARTA's No. 2 bus

When was the last time you took the deuce? Did the No. 2? Get your minds out of the commode — we're talking about MARTA's »more

Best reason to get over loss of NHL franchise

All the other sporting events

Atlanta has lost its second NHL franchise, but we still have reason to hold our heads high: all the other sporting events. The Falcons were »more

Best response to city's anti-graffiti ordinance

'Is this better?'

When the city announced plans for an anti-graffiti task force, many folks — including CL — wondered how the effort would change the gritty urban »more

Best reuse of a demolished housing project

Wheat Street Gardens

In 2008, Wheat Street Baptist Church tore down its low-income housing just off Auburn Avenue, closing the book on a once-vibrant complex that had fallen »more

Best sign of old-school media relevance

AJC's coverage of APS cheating

After years of staff buyouts, reorganizations and a relocation to Dunwoody, the AJC seemed ready for the insertion of the proverbial fork. But there are »more

Best sign of political common sense

Sunday alcohol sales

It wasn't the most important legislation to pass this year, and we wouldn't attempt to argue that future generations of Georgians will enjoy more fruitful »more

Best sports bargain

Turner Field

With $7 hot dogs, Turner Field may seem an odd choice. But you can see the Braves cheaply. Two-and-a-half hours before every home game, $1 »more

Best urban wilderness refuge

Cascade Springs Nature Preserve

You don't need to go to the North Georgia mountains to get into the wild. Just take a trip down Cascade Road in southwest Atlanta. »more

Best bike lanes for aiding traffic flow

Decatur's new bike lanes

Though far from being the two-wheelers' playground it could be, Atlanta's made some inroads when it comes to cycling. The most welcome addition to the »more

Best bizarro local news story

T.I. talked the jumper off the building

Late one afternoon last October, radio and TV news reported that a man was threatening to jump 22 stories from the top of Colony Square »more

Best chance to watch gold medal Olympians

Atlanta Beat

It's an expansion team in a league many people don't even know exists, but the Atlanta Beat pro soccer club fielded three members of the »more

Best community garden for bringing a community together

English Avenue Community Garden

At last count, there were more than 150 community gardens across metro Atlanta, some large and spectacular, some super-organic with heirloom veggies, still others meticulously »more

Best con for people who couldn't get laid at Dragon*Con

Frolicon

People flock to Dragon*Con to buy the latest steampunk paraphernalia, play Magic: The Gathering and ogle chicks dressed like Sailor Moon. People go to Frolicon »more

Best excuse to spend a few days out of the office

Snowpocalypse

No longer will we poke fun at folks who bum-rush grocery stores when flurries appear. On Jan. 9, nearly four inches of snow blanketed metro »more

Best local blogger rivalry

What Now, Atlanta? and Tomorrow's News Today

Online flame wars typically fizzle out after a day. Twitter debates are limited to 140 characters. And arguing in public sucks because you actually have »more

Best local political figure

Mayor Kasim Reed

Even his detractors must admit that Mayor Kasim Reed has had a helluva year. His trips to Washington, D.C., have helped Atlanta and Georgia secure »more

Best mainstream tourist attraction

Cyclorama

Other cities have aquariums and battlefields, but none but Atlanta can claim the Cyclorama. Even the name is cool — as it should be for »more

Best neighborhood listserv (for outsiders)

Inman Park LISTSERV

Itching to learn more about your fellow Atlantans but can't get away from your desk? Heard of a nifty invention called the Internet? It comes »more

Best new (born) thing in Atlanta

Zoo babies

When it comes to zoo babies, how could you single out just one of the adorable mammalian wonders who've sprung forth into the world at »more

Best new thing in Atlanta

Historic Fourth Ward Park and Skate Park

Nearly 10 years ago, community activists suggested that the city get creative when replacing its antiquated sewers. Rather than simply digging tunnels and burying pipes, »more

Best off-the-beaten path tourist attraction

Lake Claire Community Land Trust

Just as the Atlanta History Center's Tullie Smith Farm allows visitors to tour an 1840s plantation, the Lake Claire Community Land Trust is a full-scale »more

Best opportunity for national retail and food hall glory

Ponce City Market

After more than a year of touch-and-go negotiations, City Hall East was finally sold to a developer this summer and its new owner wasted no »more

Best place for a beach getaway/history lesson

Sapelo Island

Who wouldn't want to visit a village called Hog Hammock? Sapelo Island ranks as one of the state's most historically significant and downright interesting places »more

Best political theater

State Senate

Watch Sen. Cecil Staton squirm as evidence mounts that he's actually a Casey Cagle-hating activist named Beth Merkleson! Hear House Speaker David Ralston tell Senate »more

Best progressive radio personality

DJ Tabone

All the on-air personality in the world can't make disposable music palatable. Likewise, listening to carefully curated tunes is a serious strain when the sound »more

Best public bus route

MARTA's No. 2 bus

When was the last time you took the deuce? Did the No. 2? Get your minds out of the commode — we're talking about MARTA's »more

Best reason to get over loss of NHL franchise

All the other sporting events

Atlanta has lost its second NHL franchise, but we still have reason to hold our heads high: all the other sporting events. The Falcons were »more

Best response to city's anti-graffiti ordinance

'Is this better?'

When the city announced plans for an anti-graffiti task force, many folks — including CL — wondered how the effort would change the gritty urban »more

Best reuse of a demolished housing project

Wheat Street Gardens

In 2008, Wheat Street Baptist Church tore down its low-income housing just off Auburn Avenue, closing the book on a once-vibrant complex that had fallen »more

Best sign of old-school media relevance

AJC's coverage of APS cheating

After years of staff buyouts, reorganizations and a relocation to Dunwoody, the AJC seemed ready for the insertion of the proverbial fork. But there are »more

Best sign of political common sense

Sunday alcohol sales

It wasn't the most important legislation to pass this year, and we wouldn't attempt to argue that future generations of Georgians will enjoy more fruitful »more

Best sports bargain

Turner Field

With $7 hot dogs, Turner Field may seem an odd choice. But you can see the Braves cheaply. Two-and-a-half hours before every home game, $1 »more

Best urban wilderness refuge

Cascade Springs Nature Preserve

You don't need to go to the North Georgia mountains to get into the wild. Just take a trip down Cascade Road in southwest Atlanta. »more

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