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Curbed Cup 1st Round: (5) Northern Liberties vs. (12) Girard Estate

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Which neighborhood should advance to the second round?

The Curbed Cup, our annual award for the neighborhood of the year, is kicking off with 16 neighborhoods vying for the prestigious (fake) trophy. Let the eliminations commence!

Northern Liberties (5)

Longtime residents of Northern Liberties will often say that their neighborhood is unrecognizable today. It’s blossomed from a place of blight into a mini-boom town, continuing to draw in new construction, retail, and restaurants to its streets day by day. But it’d be wrong to say that Northern Liberties’s 15 minutes of fame is over: WeWork has a new spot here, as does Yards Brewery, which just set up shop in a 70,000-square-foot space designed by Digsau. Another boutique Target is on its way, and if one can believe it, developers continue to break ground on new homes on every remaining lot available. And yet, the residents continue to take action to make sure their neighborhood isn’t just known for its building boom: They recently teamed up to preserve the neighborhood’s ‘last wilderness’ with the establishment of Orkney Park.

Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Girard Estate (12)

As its nearby neighborhoods like Point Breeze and Grays Ferry have eyed rapid change and gentrification, the historic Girard Estate has continued to maintain its reputation of being a little pocket of suburbia in a major U.S. city. In nominating Girard Estate, a new resident to the neighborhood called this South Philly enclave one of the “lesser-appreciated and even unknown” spots in the city. That’s what makes it so delightful, though: Instead of big-name retailers, you’ll find mom and pop shops, and its tree-lined streets feature an array of architecture. Still, the neighborhood is poised for some change, with plans to transform its shopping plaza and sea of parking lots into a big mixed-use development. All that to say, Girard Estate is one neighborhood to watch.

So will it be booming Northern Liberties or up and coming Girard Estates that will advance to the second round? Polls are open for 24 hours!