In honor of March, the bracket-iest month of the year, The Wire decided to go all out and create a tournament for everything. Every weekday for the rest of the month, we're presenting a different tournament to determine the very best (or worst) thing in a given field. And we're doing it the way that God intended: Bracket showdowns.
We picked the field, but you vote for the winner. Fill out our interactive bracket, round-by-round, to determine the people's champion, then read through our choices to find out who we think is be the best of the best. Come back tomorrow for a whole new tournament. Each day is a new champion!
We're starting March Madness (all rights reserved and not by us) off with one of the most contentious issues in America today: Which of our great American metropolises is the best? Now, we couldn't include every city, of course, given how many there are and, well, how many are pretty mediocre. We picked the top 16, and ranked them ourselves. But you have the chance to disagree.
- New York: The city that never sleeps. The place that gave America Woody Allen, Bill DeBlasio, and bagel-based notions of pride. Kind of a mixed bag.
- Los Angeles: Land of phonys. Immortalized in art by James Ellroy and Randy Newman. Home to no professional baseball or football teams.
- San Francisco: Coit Tower, Lombard Street, and Fisherman's Wharf. You've probably visited some of SF's many fine attractions, but only the super wealthy can afford to live near them.
- Chicago: Sandburg's "hog butcher for the world" has evolved into a modern metropolis, complete with everything you'd find in any big city except much manufacturing.
- Boston: Catch nine at Fenway or study history at Faneuil. Whatever your pleasure, you can find something to do in Beantown, and then you will get yelled at by a local idiot.
- Seattle: Seattle is America's Toronto: clean, kind of into drugs, polite. Plus the needle thing and all the water. This is a surprisingly good analogy.
- Dallas: Dallas has changed a lot since the days of the eponymous TV show. For example, much of the oil extraction now comes from unconventional wells. This is where Kennedy died.
- New Orleans: What Cinco de Mayo is to holidays, NOLA is to cities. Sure, there's some cultural that's being paid tribute with all of the colorful debauchery, but its mostly about booze.
- Atlanta: Atlanta hosted the Olympics once and is home to one of the few remaining racist-named sport teams. But at least the weather is pleasant several days a year.
- Austin: Home to the most diverse counter-culture in Texas, Austin is also where Gov. Rick Perry lives. What must it be like to be him, riding in a motorcade through town?
- Portland: What Portland does to coffee, it also does to hipster Brooklyn: distills it perfectly and with great self-attention until you can't tell if what results is even any good.
- Providence: Why is Rhode Island a state? Providence has a very large mall and also ocean access.
- Philadelphia: Philadelphia is one of the few cities smart enough to kick out the federal government. When you're done looking at the broken bell, go to one of the cheesesteak places and become very, very insistent that you prefer one to the other.
- Santa Fe: Do you know what kokopelli is? Well, head to Sante Fe for five minutes and you will. Bring a lot of earth tones.
- Boise: I don't mean to be harsh, but literally the only thing I know about Boise is that the university there has a blue AstroTurf field.
- Buffalo: A quick hop from Niagara Falls, Buffalo enjoys a hearty winter and a pleasantly brief summer. Keep your eyes peeled for local celebs like Jim Kelly and Vincent Gallo.
Your vote: Chicago
The Wire's vote: New York City
Obviously, Buffalo beats New York because chicken wings and because it doesn't have a C train. (No, it doesn’t.) Chicago beats Philadelphia because have you ever met an Eagles fan? Boston versus Providence presented us with a conundrum because we wouldn't want to endorse Harvard over Brown ever, but Boston's a pretty cool city that's maybe been overly maligned as of late because their sports teams obnoxiously win all the time. But it's a fun city and New England-y without being obnoxiously quaint about it. Atlanta doesn't have the mystique New Orleans has, but it has the decency to keep its intoxication in its own homes.
Between Dallas and Austin, its tricky. Austin's "weirdness" has basically become a marketing gimmick for South by Southwest, though, so we're giving it to Dallas. San Francisco has a variety of things that make it more appealing than Santa Fe, not the least of which is that you're unlikely to ever die of heatstroke. (Or sweat.) Seattle and Portland are the same city, really, but Seattle's NBA team was purloined by Oklahoma, so they get pity points. As for Boise and LA? It's hard to see how Boise could be worse than LA, based on what I know about LA. So consider this a first round upset.
New York vs. Atlanta Sorry, Atlanta, the run ends here. Blame Phaedra. Just kidding. Blame your out of control urban sprawl.
Chicago vs. Boston Chicago wins because hundreds of years from now, some alien race will eventually come upon the remains of Soldier Field and think that humans were drunk all the time.
Boise vs. Dallas Boise's mystique, low profile, and what we know about Dallas helps Boise coast to another win.
Seattle vs. San Francisco Seattle got this far riding on the SuperSonic pity vote. That doesn't come in handy when you go up against San Francisco, which has to root for a team in Oakland.
The Final Four
New York vs. Chicago It is telling when the best "Chicago" show, The Good Wife, is filmed in Brooklyn. Also, when your pizza is making people agree with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, something is deeply wrong.
San Francisco vs. Boise Sorry, Boise. The run ends here. It was a magical run that mostly consisted of other cities being more terrible, but the positives of San Francisco (Brenda's shrimp and grits, not being land-locked, excellent weather, proximity to other great towns and cities) are too much to handle. Also, San Francisco would have beaten L.A. and Dallas., so no hard feelings okay?
New York vs. San Francisco San Francisco, its airport, its mild weather, and restaurants are all very nice. Nice is what you say about dates you never want to see again and cities that aren't the best cities in America. New York City is not nice.
Winner: New York City