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Curbed Cup 1st Round: (5) East Passyunk vs. (12) East Falls

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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. Polls for each pairing stay open for 24 hours. Let the eliminations commence!

East Passyunk is in major transition mode. King of Jeans is closed, the iconic sign is coming off the building and apartments for young, bike-oriented renters are taking its place. Indie coffee shops with funky art have sprouted on streets once known for doing brisk business in votive candles. A classic pizzeria is across the street from a store that sells handmade crafts you might see at the Punk Rock Flea Market. Amazingly, there's not too much tension between old and new residents, which is fairly unprecedented in the history of Philadelphia neighborhoods in transition. The East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association, among other organizations, has been instrumental in bringing new municipal attention to the 'hood, and it seems to be paying off.

East Falls couldn't be more different—and more variegated. This northwest Philadelphia neighborhood is primarily residential, from row houses to grand homes on leafy, quiet streets best know best known by outsiders as the stomping grounds of former Philly mayor and PA guv Ed Rendell. Situated along the Schuylkill, East Falls' neighborhood association calls it "an urban village on the river." That's a pretty good description, too: Like a village, it has an intimacy that tends at times toward the old-fashioned. Take the events listed in the neighborhood's newspaper, The Fallser (another homey touch). Tomorrow is the annual Carol Sing that starts at McMichael Park. Participants will hold candles and sing carols as they walk to the East Falls Presbyterian Church for hot cider and holiday cookies.

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