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Curbed Cup Elite 8: Mt. Airy (11) vs. Manayunk (14)

Which neighborhood will advance to the Final Four?

Will Mt. Airy or Manayunk advance?
Courtesy of Go Mt. Airy

The Curbed Cup, our annual award for the neighborhood of the year, has entered the second round of the Elite 8! Eight Philly neighborhoods are still in the running to be crowned the Best Neighborhood of the Year. Let the eliminations commence!

Mt. Airy

As one Mt. Airy resident put it, like many Philly neighborhoods, this leafy neighborhood has a strong sense of community. “Parents and neighbors participate in kids' local schools, we know our neighbors' names, and we are welcoming to all backgrounds, ages, and lifestyles.” Indeed, Mt. Airy pitches itself as an inclusive, historically integrated neighborhood—with Oprah’s seal of approval—that has the benefit of having the Wissahickon in its backyard.

Meanwhile, its stretch of Germantown Avenue is lined with locally-owned retail and restaurants, including Weavers Way, the oldest co-op market in the region. Even older buildings are seeing new life: The Lovett Library just underwent a top-to-bottom renovation, bringing its dated look into the 21st century, complete with a park in the heart of the community.

Courtesy of Julia Kho/


To understand Manayunk’s current state of affairs, all one has to do is spend some time while stuck on the Schuylkill and look toward the hill-top neighborhood. That view, which once just featured old mills and lines of charming rowhomes, now showcases hundreds of new apartment buildings along the river and throughout Manayunk’s streets—and thousands more are on the way.

It’s being called the neighborhood’s second rebirth, after its initial one in the 1980s, as young adults continue to live and rent here and baby boomers and empty nesters start eyeing life on the Schuylkill River Trail and the bustling Main Street corridor. Manayunk may be nine miles outside of Center City, but that hasn’t stopped its growth in the slightest.

Should Mt. Airy or Manayunk move forward? Vote now—polls are open for 24 hours!