First, thanks to the 600 of you who participated in our online poll for this Best of the City Issue. Second, thanks to the 463 of you who voted in the category Best! Thing! Ever! in Las Vegas. Third, thanks to the 11 people who voted for Desert Companion. Mighty sweet of you, considering everything else you could have nominated (just ask the person who wrote in “Luciano Pavarotti”). Thanks also to the 10 people who picked KNPR — although to the person who specified “the guys at KNPR … they are super dreamy,” the guys at Desert Companion have to ask, what are we, Best Chopped Liver? In any case, we appreciate your support; you gave us more votes than “public pickleball courts in Henderson,” which is our baseline for organizational self-esteem.
Best! Thing! Ever! Three small words and some annoying punctuation — but so many vital questions raised. In a dynamic universe perceived through our imperfect systems of relative values, how can one say anything is “Best,” and does “Talking Dogs Mobile Grooming” truly qualify? Is Oscar Goodman, technically speaking, a “Thing”? (Four of you thought so!) And “Ever” — how long is that, anyway?
Then again, perhaps some questions are best left for philosophers to Google (for starters: What the hell is pickleball?). Rather, our task here is to collate your responses into a robust database of Best! Things! Ever! that will finally explain you, Las Vegas, to yourself, also Las Vegas. Who are you? What are you like? What’s your number? What are you wearing? Yes, we’re sure this is how data science works, why do you ask?
Food is clearly one of the best Best! Things! Many of you apparently eat it, and later enthuse about it in online surveys. “Amazing food options,” one voter noted, speaking for many. Dozens of restaurants were nominated: Baby Stacks, MTO Café, Bar + Bistro, Sweets Raku — it’s like there’s a place you can eat every meal, and how many cities of 2 million can say that? Amazing the way a survey like this can open your eyes to a place.
Not surprisingly, the Strip accrued many votes, with a significant subgroup pushing for the Bellagio fountains and one person writing, “multiple dance venues.” We’re happy that at least one person is dancing in our nightclubs. More than 30 of you love something about downtown, whether it’s the three people who voted “First Friday” or the person who said, “the startup tech community” — though probably not the guy who appreciates “free and abundant parking.”
On some issues, of course, Las Vegans are as deeply divided as many Americans in these troubled times. While 29 of you think our weather is great, especially in combination with Nevada’s other natural glories — as one of you put it: “weather, topography, no taxes” — closer scrutiny reveals at least eight degrees of separation: “60-degree winter days,” one voter argued; “68-degree days in January,” another argued back. Can’t we all just get along?
Human nature being what it is, a few respondents took Best! Thing! Ever! to a dark place. “Feelings of mutual depression from living in such a depraved city,” one explained. “At least we are all together.” Not if you keep up that attitude, bub. Another resorted to morose caplock: “LEAVING.” Several allowed themselves a wisp of hope about Best! Things! to come (“haven’t found it yet”) or latched onto whatever silver lining they could find (“not being Reno”).
So, as we take a fresh look at our city through this matrix of food, decent weather and not-Reno-ness, what, finally, have we learned? Perhaps just this: There are public pickleball courts in Henderson. And somehow, that seems like enough.
In closing, thank you again for participating in our survey.