Letter from the Editor: First to Best

Eric Lyttle

Welcome toColumbus Monthly's "Best of" issue. It's always one of our favorites, not only because we get to hear what thousands of our readers think about this city we all call home, but also because we, as a staff, get to collaborate and bounce ideas off one another and mock, laugh and praise each other-boiling all of that down into what you now hold in your hands. It's a true team effort among our readers and our entire staff-not just editorial, but designers and photographers and sales team members all chip in with ideas.

And while many others are now doing their own versions of Best, we atColumbus Monthly take a little additional pride in knowing that no one in town has been doing it longer or, in our minds, better.

Our first Best issue appeared in July 1983. Back then, we called it "Bests and Worsts of Columbus" and the worsts could get pretty feisty.

The items in that issue, and in every Best issue since, have included a number of fascinating snapshots that prove telling of our city's history. That first issue included then-U.S. Congressman John Kasich as Best Political Animal and predicted that he "may someday become president."

It also named the Victoria's Secret store at the Kingsdale Shopping Center as the Best Place to Buy Women's Lingerie. That was one year after Les Wexner purchased the 5-year-old company with just six stores for $1 million. "A new look for The Limited, featuring elegant, sexy lingerie," we wrote.

The issue also included a readers' poll. Back in those pre-Internet days, of course, readers had to put pen to paper to fill out a ballot, then either drop it in the mailbox or fax it to us. Still, we received a flood of mail (as evidenced by the photo of a messy pile of handwritten ballots that ran on the editor's page of that issue.)

This year, for the first time, we've decided to celebrate our rich history with the Best of Columbus by including a handful of Bests from the past years, along with their covers. We hope you enjoy them, as well as this, our 34th year of publishing all that's Best about Columbus.

Speaking of Bests, we'd like to congratulateColumbus Monthly's Art Director Betsy Becker and Director of Photography Will Shilling, who were recognized at this year's Press Club of Cleveland's journalism awards program. Becker placed second in single-page magazine design for her dining piece titled "Korean Demystified." Shilling placed third in photo journalism for his photo essay titled "Against the Grain."

Our 2015 feature on longtime Columbus rocker Willie Phoenix netted two awards: freelancer Joel Oliphint (who also was named Best Freelance Writer in Ohio and recently became a staffer at our sister publication, Columbus Alive) placed third in the magazine Personality Profile category, while freelance photographer Tessa Berg placed second in the magazine portraits for her stunning shots of Phoenix.

Congratulations to Becker, Shilling, Oliphint and Berg for their good works in these pages.

Eric Lyttle