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!
First up today: Passyunk Square. For clarification, Passyunk Square is not the same as East Passyunk, though they are adjacent. Passyunk Square Civic Association defines the boundaries as Broad Street to Sixth, Washington to Tasker, while East Passyunk goes from Tasker to Snyder. Passyunk Square includes Pat's and Geno's and the Lower Italian Market, which—given the market's increasing number of shops and stalls owned by Mexicans, Koreans and Vietnamese—makes the neighborhood ethnically diverse. It also has businesses and restaurants dotting Washington Avenue, including Hung Vuong Super Market. Gold Star Park, Capitolo Community Garden and other playgrounds and squares bring community together to enjoy a little green space and recreation.
And then there's Kensington. The simple fact of its nomination reveals a lot about what's going on there: The neighborhood that was once best known, sadly, for Oxy-addled zombies and a depressed economy, is springing to life, bringing new residents, businesses and developers. For a long time people said there was no way Fishtown's luck would extend to Kenzo, but then, no one would have imagined Fishtown would become Fishtown either. Here's what one nominator had to say: "Kensington! Pizza Brain, Little Baby's, the Walking Fish Theatre, Greensgrow, Memphis Taproom, PCB, Little Berlin .... the list goes on and on." A Kensington row-house rehab recently made it into Apartment Therapy, and a Kensington home was featured on this year's Modern Home Tours. This new Kensington energy is a weird and wonderful thing.