Saturday, December 26, 2015

Best of the Year

Broadway Shows. Football plays. Donald Trump insults. At this time of year it's customary to publish a list of the best of everything. Each beat writer scours his or her little corner of the world, and compiles a subjective list of the things that stood out to them above all else. Some lists you look forward to eagerly: best books, best movies, best new restaurants. Others are less useful, but still of interest: best corporate apologies, best fashion faux pas', best amazing-technology-that-is-actually-more annoying-than-useful (we're looking at you, Google Glass). And others cater to a, well, very specific audience: best blow dryers, best strange new musical instruments, best oddball job interview questions. And yes, those all exist.  

As for me, my universe is much smaller. And so to compile a list of the best of most things would be disingenuous at best. After all, to say that "these" are better than "those," you have to have partaken of all of "them" that make up the set. And about the only universe of which I have total knowledge of is, well, me. So in that light, here are some of my personal yearly superlatives, taken from boxed sets wherein only I have had the complete experience.

Best Nap. While there are many contenders, I would have to point to the one on March 19. By about 3PM I had finished up everything in my office and the phones were quiet. I decided to catch up on a little reading on the couch. Five minutes in, after I realized I had read the same paragraph three times, I took off my glasses, put my book on the floor and closed my eyes. Twenty minutes or so later, I woke up. Very refreshing.

Best Sandwich (Homemade Division). Numerous contenders, but it would have to be one from September 5th. Nothing too fancy, but we had some good rye bread, as well as some pesto left over from dinner the night before. Add some thinly sliced turkey, some Swiss cheese and some lettuce, and the result was sublime. Runners up: too many peanut-butter-and-jelly efforts to mention.

Best Use of Coupon(s). I'm not a big coupon user, so each instance stands out. But May 15 was one of those serendipitous combinations of events. I had ripped my pair of blue pants. Fortuitously, the kind I like was on sale at Kohls. Also, I had woken up to find a 20% off coupon in my email. And my wife had left on the counter a $10 Kohls Cash chit that expired a day later. So starting from a "list" price of $55, all in I was able to walk out of the store with my wallet being just seven dollars lighter. Supremely satisfying.

Best Beating of Traffic. Like most of you, 90% of the time I'm driving someplace I know the way. However, that doesn't mean that it's the best route considering what's on the roads at that moment. And so I have started to always use Google Maps to guide me (some of you prefer Waze; while hardly a Bush/Trump choice, that's a style debate for another time). Which brings me to November 26, Turkey Day. I've driven to my mom's place in New Jersey a thousand times. But to counter Thanksgiving traffic, it vectored me on routes I would never have considered. The result is that it only took an extra 15 minutes to get there on one of the busiest travel days of the year vs. a sleepy weekend in June. Drive on.

Best Walk. (Tie) December 7, 8, 9. Three successive days when I had very early starts in downtown Manhattan, but was finished by noon. Being the end of the year, an unseasonably warm stretch of days and nothing pressing in my office, I decided to walk from Wall Street to Grand Central, each day taking a different route. One day I meandered through Tribeca and Soho, another up Broadway, a third via Chinatown and the East Side. On each route I explored places in the Big Apple I never knew existed, finding donut shops, hat emporiums and vest-pocket parks that demanded to be sat in. And bonus points for the exercise of a three and a half mile hike. Can you say win-win?

I can hardly wait to see what tops the lists in 2016. Happy New Year!


Marc Wollin of Bedford hopes you had many bests in 2015. His column appears regularly in The Record-Review, The Scarsdale Inquirer and online at, as well as via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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