Cover Story: Best of Cincinnati 2002

By any objective standard, the past year has been a challenging one in Greater Cincinnati. Since our 2001 Best of Cincinnati issue, Timothy Thomas was killed by a police officer, riots rocked the ci

By any objective standard, the past year has been a challenging one in Greater Cincinnati. Since our 2001 Best of Cincinnati issue, Timothy Thomas was killed by a police officer, riots rocked the city, the economy went south, terrorism struck the U.S., city elections reaffirmed the status quo and a boycott has hurt feelings and hardened positions into two uncooperative camps.

It's easy to get down on Cincinnati these days — and we've certainly felt our share of bleakness — but sometimes you have to stand back and look at the big picture. The bottom line is, despite these problems, we love living in Cincinnati.

Why? We're glad you asked.

For the sixth consecutive year, we've compiled information about everything cool, weird, fun, hip, annoying and satisfying in Greater Cincinnati. The sheer volume of the 2002 Best of Cincinnati issue is staggering:

· Once again, this is the largest issue of CityBeat ever. Each time we've done a "Best of," we've set a record for page count. This year is no exception.

· Inside, you'll find winners of 168 Readers Picks, compiled from more than 700 good ballots collected online and through the mail (and after the stuffed and mass-produced entries were tossed out).

· The staff contributed 252 Staff Picks, commenting on people, places and things our readers might have missed. We also offer 10 feature stories on further choices, ranging from favorite pad thai dishes and Bloody Marys to Best of Bevis and Best of Queen City Avenue.

· Tons of people contributed to making this issue the best Best of Cincinnati ever. Thanks to the overworked art direction and production staff: Sean Hughes, Geoff Raker, Patty Robisch and Jason Kidwell. Thanks to the overheated sales staff: Jim McIntosh, Chuck Davis, Andy Applegate, Rachel Bollinger, Mike Ferraro, Katie Gilday, Betsy Hodges, Kristofer Sommer, Kim Starling, Tracy Walker, David Whitehead and Robert Young. Thanks to the overexposed photo and art contributors: Jymi Bolden, Lisa Bialac, Matt Borgerding and Jon Hughes. Thanks to the overburdened distribution staff: Cynthia Brown, Bill Kellerman and our drivers. Thanks to the overtaxed accounting staff: Larry Gross and Peggy Parry. Thanks to the overwired Web staff: Matt Parmenter and Becky Lomax. Thanks to the overwhelmed ballot-counter: David Schmidt. Thanks to the overwrought editorial folks who contributed staff picks, wrote stories and/or copy edited this monster: Brandon Brady, Mike Breen, Donna Covrett, Jodi Cox, Greg Flannery, Jason Gargano, Donica Harris, Becky Lomax, Lyn Marsteller, Annie McManis, Rick Pender, Rodger Pille, Steve Ramos, Maria Rogers, Doug Trapp, Jessica Turner and Kathy Y. Wilson.

· A few other folks deserve a shout out for helping: Down to the Bone, Palomino, David Crowley, Tyler Davidson, the hottest man in the Jackson Lofts, the 1986 Reading-Lockland Band Invitational judges, Cianciolo's, Bella, Streetvibes, The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, John Martin and the helpful staff of getodd.com and pigcollecting.com, Cincinnati State student Etsuko Tada's delightful flower arrangement and Jennifer Hughes for her neverending supply of ribbon.

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