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!
Old City, a neighborhood that used to be known for artsy outsiders, has been transformed in recent years—though its exquisite historic housing stock anchors it among trendy seas. First Friday exploded in Old City, as did the Fringe Fest. The retail shops on Second and Third Street turned into an intriguing mix: everything from the indie AKA Music to a boutique pet store. Then nightlife aficionados started coming across the bridge for cocktails and hookups, giving Old City fans pause, while the civic association tenaciously protects historic buildings as new developers make their way into the small streets, hoping to enliven it with tall buildings. One word for Old City these days? Unpredictable.
Bella Vista, a pretty residential neighborhood between Sixth and 11th, South and Washington Avenue, is more constant. The city's oldest Italian-American neighborhood, it makes the most of that inheritance, from a bocce league at Bardascino Park to a swath of the Italian Market. Home to several public parks that host concerts and community events, Bella Vista has become a popular 'hood for young people who want to be close to Center City but also crave a neighborhood-y vibe. With relatively low crime and one of the best public elementary schools in the city, it's also popular with parents, who are willing to pay a little more for real estate to be in such a family-friendly area.