It’s good to be local. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we here in Fort Lauderdale love our tourist friends. They’re one of the main ways we keep the lights on around here, for one thing. But in a city where so many people are visiting from elsewhere, it’s always fun to be the person who knows where the hidden-away good stuff is.
This is Fort Lauderdale Magazine’s Best Of issue. This year, for the first time, our winners were chosen by you our readers in a massive online vote. And it was massive – turns out, our readers have views. If you’re new to town or just passing through, I’d recommend spending time with our Best of Fort Lauderdale story. If you’re looking for a good night out, a relaxing spa day, a real estate agent to help with that dream condo or just about anything else, we’ve got recommendations. We even offer a few categories that are fairly Lauderdale-specific; I’m guessing that the local magazine in Topeka doesn’t ask its readers who their favorite yacht broker is.
That’s not to say there’s some exact, mathematically quantifiable way to discern what’s “best.” In my opinion, one of the best things about a Best Of issue is the debate it inspires. Look, we’ve all got our go-to conch fritters place; there’s a good chance mine isn’t the same as yours.
At the same time, there’s nothing life-or-death about an argument over favorite bars or boating stores. A Best Of debate is fun. And at a time when so much debate is of the yelling/social media blocking/friendship-ruining variety, a little fun debate might just be good for us.
Well, please consider this issue of Fort Lauderdale Magazine your argument happy place. Nobody’s going to call you names because of your opinion on Fort Lauderdale’s best florist. Your niece at UF will not block you on Facebook because you’ve got a different favorite sub shop. Your buddy from high school will not stop talking to you because your opinions diverge on local bakery supremacy.
This is not, by the way, a call to stop being civically engaged. But reminding ourselves of what we agree on is also important. It’s a way of creating a sense of community, even if it’s agreeing on something as simple as the pleasure of people-watching at the Elbo Room.
Fort Lauderdale’s a funny place– a sometimes messy mix of tourists and locals, natives and transplants, grits-eaters and bagel aficionados. There’s no way we’re going to agree on everything, or even most things. But by trading tips and favorites, we can take each other’s local knowledge and perhaps all discover a new favorite or two.
And that is the Best of Fort Lauderdale.