Best Memphis Success of 2011
1. Memphis Grizzlies
2. Shelby Farms Greenline
3. A C Wharton — tie — Booker T. Washington High School Graduation Ceremony
What a difference a year makes. Not long ago, our long-beleaguered NBA franchise popped up on the "failure" list. But after a magical playoff run last spring — which included more post-season games in a few weeks than in the previous decade, a first (and second, and third, and ...) playoff win, and six quick sellouts — plus a likable group of hard-working players, Memphis finally "believes" in the city's only major-league sports team.
Best Category We Left Out
1. Best Park
2. Best Nonprofit — tie — Best Politician
3. Best Artist — tie — Best School
Memphis has long had a reputation as a city of natural appeal — even having the oldest beautification commission in the U.S. With green space stretching from Shelby Farms Park in East Memphis to Overton Park in Midtown to Tom Lee Park on the river — and dozens of points here, there, and everywhere — the city offers many locales for folks wanting to get outdoors. Apparently, our readers would like us to put it to a vote.
1. A C Wharton
2. Fred Smith
3. Josh Pastner
When a mayor is voted the best person in the city by the public, the mayor must be doing something right. (Especially since A C Wharton's predecessor was a perennial finalist for Best Memphis Failure.)
Best Locally Produced Product
Barbecue, Ghost River Beer, Music
"Readers Choice" means there is essentially a tie between barbecue, Ghost River Beer, and music for Best Locally Produced Product. Memphians like to eat, drink, and be merry to equal degree.
3. Central Gardens — tie — High Point Terrace
As Memphis Flyer writer John Branston co-coined, "Midtown is Memphis." Midtown contains neighborhood #2 and half of #3 on this list, too. Live, work, and play all in one place, a city within a city.
Best Memphis Failure of 2011
1. Schools Merger Situation
2. The Pyramid/Bass Pro Deals
Remember when Memphis City Schools (MCS) surrendered its charter, forcing a merger with Shelby County Schools (SCS)? But then SCS said, "Nuh-uh." And then city voters said, "Uh-huh." And then some lawmakers also said, "Uh-huh," but others said, "Nuh-uh." And then a judge said, "Uh-huh, but ... ." And then SCS and MCS said, "Uh-huh." But some suburban municipalities said, "Nuh-uh." And everyone watching it was like, "Huh?" Remember that? We do too.