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Best of Atlanta 2016 Cityscape

Cityscape Large Photo


Cityscape

But as many rushed to get out during the mid-20th century, others stayed and focused on making Atlanta, the heart of the sprawling region, better. They pushed for transit to create MARTA, supported affordable housing to make sure people of all incomes could live here, and pushed for justice. They invested in their communities and fought off projects that could have destroyed their homes. They knew that Atlanta had value and it could be better. So they worked toward that goal.

Today, the visionaries in our ranks include a City Hall official who is trying to retrofit the mess previous generations made to cater to commuters. There is a neighborhood activist in West End who is reaching out to young people to give guidance and structure. There is a group of historic preservationists who refuse to allow another beautiful building — in this case, a library — to be forgotten. And there is an annual gathering of people who flock to a truly visionary project to look at lanterns and be around other people.

Atlanta has too often focused on short-term fixes to solve problems. It’s been blind to the long-term problems those fixes can create. But pushing back, and sometimes leading us, are people who can see past the next year or election. To the people who are committed to making the city a better place, we say thanks.

— THOMAS WHEATLEY

Best con(vention) BOA Award Winner

Dragon Con

Best group bike ride BOA Award Winner

The Mobile Social

Best hotel BOA Award Winner

This is where all the text would appear on the page.

Best jogging path BOA Award Winner

The Beltline

Best local blog BOA Award Winner

Decaturish

Best local sports team BOA Award Winner

Atlanta Falcons

Best non-commercial radio station BOA Award Winner

WABE (90.1-FM)

Best rec league BOA Award Winner

Atlanta Rollergirls

Best suburb BOA Award Winner

Roswell

Best co-working space BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best free thing to do in Atlanta BOA Award Winner

Atlanta Beltline

Best local athlete BOA Award Winner

Julio Jones

Best local blogger BOA Award Winner

Dan Whisenhunt

Best local political figure BOA Award Winner

John Lewis
johnlewis.house.gov

Best radio station BOA Award Winner

WABE (90.1-FM)

Best tourist spot for locals BOA Award Winner

Atlanta Beltline

Best urban radio station BOA Award Winner

OG 97.9 (WWWQ-FM)
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Best new publicly accessible rooftop BOA Award Winner

If you’re hankering for a new angle on Atlanta’s skyline, the NEW PONCE CITY MARKET ROOFTOP has finally arrived. Should you decide to peel your eyes away from the quirky narrow stretch of buildings, turn around and find yourself in Skyline Park, the 1.7-acre-rooftop boardwalk-inspired amusement parkmore...
If you’re hankering for a new angle on Atlanta’s skyline, the NEW PONCE CITY MARKET ROOFTOP has finally arrived. Should you decide to peel your eyes away from the quirky narrow stretch of buildings, turn around and find yourself in Skyline Park, the 1.7-acre-rooftop boardwalk-inspired amusement park decked out with a dunking booth, mini golf, skeeball, and a free-fall Heege ride. Jamestown Properties plans to use the roof’s remaining 4.3 acres for restaurants, events, and private space for building tenants. Yes, it will cost you $10 to access, and extra money if you want to enjoy the attractions. But just think: The rooftop gives visitors a one-stop shop to dunk someone in a tub of water while taking in the picturesque skyline of Atlanta. That’s what we call good architecture. less...

Best nonprofit BOA Award Winner

Atlanta Film Society

Best person you hate to love BOA Award Winner

TIE: Kasim Reed AND Nathan Deal

www.kasimreed.comhttp://www.kasimreed.com

AND

gov.georgia.gov

Best place to rent BOA Award Winner

West End
Movie stars are renting homes in Inman Park. Parents looking for top-notch schools pay top dollar in Decatur. Apartments along the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail are priced for Silicon Valley émigrés. Buckhead is Buckhead. If you’re looking for a place that won’t drain you and your roommates’more...
Movie stars are renting homes in Inman Park. Parents looking for top-notch schools pay top dollar in Decatur. Apartments along the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail are priced for Silicon Valley émigrés. Buckhead is Buckhead. If you’re looking for a place that won’t drain you and your roommates’ bank accounts, search WEST END. You will be close to MARTA, Downtown, and the interstate, plus food options ranging from Truly Living Well’s urban farm in neighboring Ashview Heights, Big Bear’s smaller grocery store, and a Kroger down the under-construction Westside Trail. www.atlantawestend.com. less...

Best place to rent BOA Award Winner

Midtown

Best show of bipartisanship BOA Award Winner

Passage of the rape-kit bill
In the Georgia Capitol, even the brightest of ideas can die a humiliating death simply because it's sponsored by a Democrat. But the PASSAGE OF THE RAPE-KIT BILL proves that’s not always the case. Early in this legislative session, state Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, introduced a bill that would requiremore...
In the Georgia Capitol, even the brightest of ideas can die a humiliating death simply because it's sponsored by a Democrat. But the PASSAGE OF THE RAPE-KIT BILL proves that’s not always the case. Early in this legislative session, state Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, introduced a bill that would require law enforcement to pick up rape kits from hospitals within 96 hours. No-brainer, right? State Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, who chairs the upper chamber’s Health and Human Services Committee, blocked the bill, saying the system to process rape kits wasn’t broken (it was — an AJC investigation found more than 1,400 kits at Grady Memorial Hospital had been left on the shelf). Republican and Democratic lawmakers and advocates added the language to another bill and navigated the measure past Untermann. In the final minutes of the session, House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, brought the new bill up for a final vote. Standing at the lectern was an exhausted and exasperated Holcomb, who bluntly told lawmakers they knew what was up for consideration. It passed. Holcomb earned a standing ovation for his hard work. less...

Best talk radio station BOA Award Winner

90.1 (WABE-FM)

Best thorn in the mayor's side BOA Award Winner

Bill Torpy
We smiled when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tapped longtime reporter BILL TORPY to fill its much-needed metro columnist position a few years ago. And we giggled with delight when, after finding his rhythm, Torpy pointed his prose toward Mayor Kasim Reed. Since picking up the pen, he’s delved intomore...
We smiled when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tapped longtime reporter BILL TORPY to fill its much-needed metro columnist position a few years ago. And we giggled with delight when, after finding his rhythm, Torpy pointed his prose toward Mayor Kasim Reed. Since picking up the pen, he’s delved into the city shortchanging firefighters of deserved pay raises, the dysfunctional Downtown streetcar, the abrupt and quizzical firing of the airport’s general manager, and the potential closing of the city’s largest homeless shelter, among other topics. Nearly each column has been met with a blistering press release from the office of the charismatic yet thin-skinned politician. Torpy, who in his past life was a Chicago boxer, has not backed down, opting to continue the jousting on Twitter. It’s worth noting that Hizzoner, himself a boxing fan, has not yet blocked the columnist on Twitter. Maybe he likes the sparring partner. www.ajc.com/staff/bill-torpy. less...

Best warrior in fight against HIV/AIDS BOA Award Winner

Dr. David Holland
Fulton County has HIV and AIDS infection rates of epidemic proportions, especially among young black men. The reasons for this crisis are rooted in stigma, lack of access to health care, and poverty, among other factors. In a Downtown clinic, DR. DAVID HOLLAND, one of Fulton’s top public health officers,more...
Fulton County has HIV and AIDS infection rates of epidemic proportions, especially among young black men. The reasons for this crisis are rooted in stigma, lack of access to health care, and poverty, among other factors. In a Downtown clinic, DR. DAVID HOLLAND, one of Fulton’s top public health officers, is taking steps to address the crisis by putting up a defense against the virus’ spread. The clinic across the street from Grady Memorial Hospital, part of Fulton County’s forward-looking HIV/AIDS Task Force, offers pre-exposure prophylaxis, aka PrEP, in the form of Truvada, a pill that can drastically reduce the chance of HIV infection when taken properly. The clinic is aimed at high-risk individuals, particularly young men who have sex with men. The drug is available free — helpful in a place where many lack health insurance. www.fultoncountyga.gov/hivaids. less...

Trophy Case BOA Award Winner

The news that MANUEL’S TAVERN would shut its doors to undergo an overhaul didn’t just scare regulars who feared losing that familiar smoky smell. It also meant enduring the 2016 presidential primaries somewhere other than the Poncey-Highland haunt. But when the pub reopened its doors in early August,more...
The news that MANUEL’S TAVERN would shut its doors to undergo an overhaul didn’t just scare regulars who feared losing that familiar smoky smell. It also meant enduring the 2016 presidential primaries somewhere other than the Poncey-Highland haunt. But when the pub reopened its doors in early August, the crowds made clear that old habits die hard. The familiar political operatives, journalists, and politicians can once again be found with beer glasses in hand. The TVs are back up on the walls. Come November, the screens will broadcast election returns to (mostly) Democrats sitting at the same sticky tables surrounded by the same political memorabilia. You can’t renovate the spirit out of the place. less...

Best 30-ish-mile bike ride for novice pedalers in metro Atlanta BOA Award Winner

The Silver Comet between Dallas and Rockmart
If you love biking long distances but have yet to channel your inner road warrior, sometimes a flat paved path is a gift from heaven. You can find that on THE SILVER COMET BETWEEN DALLAS AND ROCKMART. The 15-mile route follows an old railroad corridor along a ridge and through blasted rock and is relativelymore...
If you love biking long distances but have yet to channel your inner road warrior, sometimes a flat paved path is a gift from heaven. You can find that on THE SILVER COMET BETWEEN DALLAS AND ROCKMART. The 15-mile route follows an old railroad corridor along a ridge and through blasted rock and is relatively flat, straight, and completely rustic. Strap your bikes to your car, pack your gear (there are no water fountains along the route), and head 45 minutes to Dallas, Georgia. Park at the Rambo Road Trailhead (or at the Tara Drummond Trailhead lot, if you want bathrooms and water fountains), hop on the trail heading west, and keep pedaling. Along the way, you’ll travel over the 126-foot-high Pumpkinvine Trestle, wind through woods filled with turkeys, turtles, and deer, and pass through an 800-foot-long old railroad tunnel. Pedal past Coot’s Lake to Rockmart, where you can grab some ice cream, or walk around the small city’s Downtown. Stretch, fill up your water, and then pedal back. www.silvercometga.com. less...

Best biblio-building boosters BOA Award Winner

Friends of the Central Atlanta Library
It’s no mystery that Downtown’s Central Atlanta Library is long overdue for a renovation. The boxy Brutalist building that opened in 1980 has broken elevators, dysfunctional doors, and spotty cell service. Some elected officials had proposed bulldozing the Marcel Breuer-designed building and startingmore...
It’s no mystery that Downtown’s Central Atlanta Library is long overdue for a renovation. The boxy Brutalist building that opened in 1980 has broken elevators, dysfunctional doors, and spotty cell service. Some elected officials had proposed bulldozing the Marcel Breuer-designed building and starting from scratch. But to FRIENDS OF THE CENTRAL ATLANTA LIBRARY, the architecturally significant building is not outdated, just unloved. The group turned discussion away from spending tens of millions of dollars on building a subpar replacement and argued why the library needs a makeover. (If only FOCAL were around when the original Carnegie library, which once stood where Central is located today, was torn down.) Despite pressure from heavy-hitters, FOCAL won the hearts and minds of elected officials and  reminded residents of the asset. The victory sent a signal to the powers that be: Don’t keep knocking down things we can’t replace. www.facebook.com/focalpage. less...

Best bike lane BOA Award Winner

10th Street

Best bus route BOA Award Winner

Route: 110 Peachtree St./"The Peach"

Best con(vention) BOA Award Winner

Dragon Con

Best group bike ride BOA Award Winner

The Mobile Social

Best hotel BOA Award Winner

This is where all the text would appear on the page.

Best jogging path BOA Award Winner

The Beltline

Best local blog BOA Award Winner

Decaturish

Best local sports team BOA Award Winner

Atlanta Falcons

Best non-commercial radio station BOA Award Winner

WABE (90.1-FM)

Best place to buy a starter home and contribute to a community BOA Award Winner

Capitol View
If you want to stick around the City of Atlanta for a while, crave the house and picket fence, and don’t want to pay an ungodly mortgage, consider CAPITOL VIEW. Located along the Atlanta Beltline’s Westside Trail, some sections of the neighborhood offer historic bungalows — some of which won’tmore...
If you want to stick around the City of Atlanta for a while, crave the house and picket fence, and don’t want to pay an ungodly mortgage, consider CAPITOL VIEW. Located along the Atlanta Beltline’s Westside Trail, some sections of the neighborhood offer historic bungalows — some of which won’t need extensive renovations — in the mid-$100,000 range. The community is bordered by Metropolitan Parkway and Murphy Avenue with easy access to Highway 166 and I-85 and is near MARTA rail. Homes that sat boarded up are being renovated — or are available for a DIY renovation — and being marketed at relatively affordable prices (for now). www.capitolview.org. less...

Best rec league BOA Award Winner

Atlanta Rollergirls

Best sloppy wet kiss from the state BOA Award Winner

Sales tax to pay for transit expansion
Atlanta’s biggest obstacle is arguably the state of Georgia. If the city wants to try something progressive — say, levying a SALES TAX TO PAY FOR TRANSIT EXPANSION — oftentimes it must first ask permission from the GOP-controlled Gold Dome. It appeared this year that Fulton and DeKalb counties,more...
Atlanta’s biggest obstacle is arguably the state of Georgia. If the city wants to try something progressive — say, levying a SALES TAX TO PAY FOR TRANSIT EXPANSION — oftentimes it must first ask permission from the GOP-controlled Gold Dome. It appeared this year that Fulton and DeKalb counties, plus the city, would get a chance to ask voters to tax themselves to build more transit options. North Fulton mayors started bellyaching about needing more cash for roads than rail and the measure died. Thanks to House Majority Leader Jan Jones, a Milton Republican (!), a compromise was brokered allowing Atlanta to seek a half-percent sales tax to fund at least $2.5 billion for new rail and buses inside the city — and just the city. Sure, there still isn’t any meaningful statewide transit funding. And asking residents to carry the burden — like we’ve done for the sewer system overhaul, which the state was also expected to assist — can be a bittersweet gift. But we can’t get out of our car-oriented hellscape without the Gold Dome. less...

Best suburb BOA Award Winner

Roswell

Best urban evangelist BOA Award Winner

Eric Kronberg
To make Atlanta the walkable transit-connected city everyone says they want, it’s gonna take more than just new buildings here and a bike lane there. True change will require tweaking policies that have helped make Atlanta a disconnected mess. From a gorgeously rehabbed church in Reynoldstown, a bushymore...
To make Atlanta the walkable transit-connected city everyone says they want, it’s gonna take more than just new buildings here and a bike lane there. True change will require tweaking policies that have helped make Atlanta a disconnected mess. From a gorgeously rehabbed church in Reynoldstown, a bushy bearded architect is spreading the gospel. Sought-after architect and urban thinker ERIC KRONBERG takes the warm fuzzy platitudes you hear about urbanism and, using his skills and words, brings them to life — or just eloquently states where Atlanta’s falling behind. High on Kronberg’s list of enemies is Atlanta’s glut of parking, which goes hand in hand with walkability, affordability, and transit ridership. Through public meetings, blog posts, and community sit-downs, Kronberg and his allies show people how parking really works, as well as its negative impacts. He and his firm Kronberg Wall have produced stellar buildings, including rebuilding homes in New Orleans, mixed-use properties, and the design of Inman Park restaurant Folk Art. They brainstorm ways warehouses and old industrial properties along the Atlanta Beltline’s Westside Trail could come to life. To the architect who thinks bigger than the space he is designing, we salute you. www.kronbergwall.com. less...

Best co-working space BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best decision by a sports team that hasn't played single game BOA Award Winner

Atlanta United FC's youth academy
Earlier this year, some metro Atlanta teenagers who had participated in tryouts for ATLANTA UNITED FC’S YOUTH ACADEMY heard a knock on their doors. When they opened they discovered a small package on their doorstep. Inside was a jersey and an invitation to join the Major League Soccer team’s leaguemore...
Earlier this year, some metro Atlanta teenagers who had participated in tryouts for ATLANTA UNITED FC’S YOUTH ACADEMY heard a knock on their doors. When they opened they discovered a small package on their doorstep. Inside was a jersey and an invitation to join the Major League Soccer team’s league aimed at growing and grooming talented players at its under-construction Marietta facility on Franklin Road. For the young men, it was a fitting welcome to an incredible opportunity to improve their skills at a facility that will benefit the metro region’s soccer community. The academy is no after-school clinic for kids with good dribbling skills. It’s a multimillion-dollar training ground led by former Liverpool director Richard Money that could groom hometown talent for future spots on the pro team — they will sometimes train alongside the pros — and create stars that will always have a link to the city. www.atlutd.com. less...

Best foe of the death penalty BOA Award Winner

Stephen Bright
For lawyer STEPHEN BRIGHT, May 23, 2016, was a sound victory in a long career spent fighting for the legal defense of people on death row. Bright had argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that his client, Timothy Tyrone Foster, a black intellectually limited man convicted of the 1987 killing of a 79-year-oldmore...
For lawyer STEPHEN BRIGHT, May 23, 2016, was a sound victory in a long career spent fighting for the legal defense of people on death row. Bright had argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that his client, Timothy Tyrone Foster, a black intellectually limited man convicted of the 1987 killing of a 79-year-old white woman and sentenced to death, didn’t get a fair trial. Bright was armed with newly discovered notes showing the local prosecutor kicked black people out of the potential jury pool because of their race. It was the quintessential unfair trail. Justices agreed and Foster was granted a new trial — and Bright’s record before the highest court in the land became 3-0. His influence is large as an attorney, an author, a professor — he’s taught at Yale University for decades — and a longtime leader of the Southern Center for Human Rights. Because of Bright, and the attorneys he’s helped lead, arguments against racial bias in prosecutions and for fair indigent defense are louder across the South. Not bad for a former trial lawyer who, concerned over the lack of legal resources available to people facing state-sponsored execution, moved to Atlanta decades ago with nothing to his name but a car donated by a homeless shelter. www.schr.org. less...

Best free thing to do in Atlanta BOA Award Winner

Atlanta Beltline

Best guide to a more livable Atlanta BOA Award Winner

Tim Keane
It can take years to see the fruits of city planning. But in the year-plus since TIM KEANE came on as Atlanta Planning Commissioner, he’s not only been saying the right things, he’s starting to do them as well. Keane has brought planning to the people with a pop-up studio at Ponce City Market (itmore...
It can take years to see the fruits of city planning. But in the year-plus since TIM KEANE came on as Atlanta Planning Commissioner, he’s not only been saying the right things, he’s starting to do them as well. Keane has brought planning to the people with a pop-up studio at Ponce City Market (it will launch in other locations after several months) and started cracking open the zoning code for some long-overdue review and repair. The North Carolina native is aiming high, envisioning an Atlanta with 1 million additional people that’s denser, with more well-designed buildings, and public spaces where people can gather — all while protecting historic neighborhoods and a lush tree canopy. At the same time, he’s started reforming a vital city department that goes largely unnoticed by people who have never walked through its doors: the Office of Buildings. The City Hall department that issues building permits — affecting everything from putting up a fence to constructing a high-rise on time — has long been the poster child for dysfunction and, in some instances, corruption. Keane has injected some much-needed urgency and customer service in the office and created an express division. And he’s shown residents that someone at City Hall cares about Atlanta becoming a better city. www.atlantaga.gov. less...

Best local athlete BOA Award Winner

Julio Jones

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