The Curbed Cup, our annual award to the Philadelphia neighborhood of the year, kicks off with 16 'hoods vying for the prestigious fake trophy. This week we'll have two matchups per day, and all the results and the full tourney bracket will be reviewed on Friday. Voting for each pairing ends in the wee hours the next morning. Let the eliminations commence!
Our next contest of the day starts with the Northwest Philly neighborhood of Germantown, home to America's longest National Historic district, and a 'hood with surprises around every corner. (Not long ago we featured a home there that was a stop on the underground railroad; the area is flush with such properties, many of them unmarked.) There's a renewed energy in the area around this oft-struggling stretch of Germantown Avenue, partly due to the birth of Germantown United CDC and some attention from the Planning Commission. Anti-blight activists like Emaleigh and Ainé Doley are returning to the neighborhood to infuse it with young energy.
Washington Square West (more familiarly called Wash West) encompasses what's variously known as the Gayborhood or Midtown Village, depending on your mood. The Washington Square West Civic Association describes the boundaries this way: "bounded by Seventh Street, Chestnut Street, Broad Street and South Street." It includes Antique Row, Louis Kahn Park and also has a great deal of historic charm—from the old buildings of Pennsylvania Hospital to a warren-like maze of cobblestone streets that run into each other and betray little evidence of the contemporary world. Even the regulars at the neighborhood dive bar, Dirty Frank's, are historic—some have probably been sitting there since the 19th century.