Here are SFGN's "Best of 2017" winners in the places category in Broward County.
Intersection of A1A and Sebastian Street
Fort Lauderdale Beach
Parking: City of Fort Lauderdale Sebastian Lot
3031 Sebastian Street; $2.50 2 hours
What can be said about Fort Lauderdale’s Sebastian Street Beach that hasn’t been said before? Like the City of Wilton Manors (see “Best City to Live”), Sebastian Beach has won its category every year since 2011, when SFGN began its annual “Best of” issues.
And while Wilton Manors now faces some competition from the likes of Oakland Park and Palm-Aire in Pompano Beach, Sebastian is still the only “gay beach” in Broward County.
At Sebastian, women and children are scarce and male bathing suits are noticeably shorter than elsewhere on the Beach. Aficionados of the male form will find all ages, races and body shapes represented on Sebastian Beach.
In addition to its eye-candy appeal, Sebastian Beach is conveniently close to many of our LGBT guesthouses and resorts, which only serves to draw tourists from all over the world. We can only agree with Out Traveler, which in 2014 named Sebastian Beach the “Hottest U.S. Gay Beach.”
Best City to Live
When Wilton Manors chose its tagline “Life’s Just Better Here” in 2015, the city had already been named “Best City to Live” five times. Since the tagline was chosen, the city has won “Best City to Live” twice more, including this year.
“I want to be braggadocios,” said Commissioner Tom Green at the time the tagline was approved.
There’s no shortage of residents who say there’s plenty to brag about.
Josue Diaz recently celebrated his fourth year living in this “Gayborhood” and says he’s glad he moved here. “I must say, I’ve had an amazing time here. It’s a community. I have built new friendships and strengthened others. I have been able to build a life I love to live here.”
Bill Woeppel has lived here with his partner, Kevin Knorr, since 2006 and said he “certainly would” agree with the city winning the award.
“It's an easy place to live in without a lot of the bothers of living in some of the other cities in South Florida. It is rated as walkable as some of the big Northeastern cities, and we have the benefits of being in Florida and having this climate.”
Best Museum/Best Art Gallery
Stonewall National Museum & Archives
2157 Wilton Drive
That the Stonewall National Museum & Archives was chosen by SFGN to be the Best Museum in Broward County is no surprise. No other local Museum does as good of a job as this one to “promote understanding through preserving and sharing the proud culture of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their significant role in American society.”
But Stonewall was also chosen the Best Art Gallery, which is often defined as “a small business that sells the art that it exhibits, unlike a Museum.” If Stonewall is a Museum – and not a business - can it be an Art Gallery?
Chris Rudisill, Stonewall’s Executive Director, does not see a contradiction here: “This question often comes up when defining our space in Wilton Manors. The museum believes artists tell a unique story through their art, and many of our exhibitions feature contemporary artists who are documenting LGBTQ lives, their personal experiences, and history through a variety of medium. While we don’t sell artwork through the museum, we celebrate artists through our Mona Pittenger Gallery at the Stonewall National Museum in Wilton Manors and thank the community for recognizing us as a cultural destination.”
Meanwhile, the Stonewall Museum and Art Gallery “continues to strengthen our collection and examine LGBTQ history and culture through an exciting season of exhibitions in the coming year. A few to mention include Mascara, Myth & Mayhem: Independence Day on Fire Island; the Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals in partnership with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum; and Nightbirds: A Retrospective of Michael Fazakerly’s photography.”
There is enough going on to make any museum proud. Or any art gallery.