Half the field has already been eliminated in the Curbed Cup, our annual award to the Los Angeles neighborhood of the year. This week will see the last match-ups---polls will be left open for 48 hours. On Friday, two final contenders will compete prestigious JPG trophy. Let the eliminations continue!
In this corner, we have the Old Bank district, a neighborhood that's got the edge on architecture, art, and wine. Has there ever been a better combination? Some of the highlights of the year: The El Dorado was restored, the Spring Street park plans were finalized, and new rental Medallion tried to fit in with its new turn-of-the-century building neighbors. An August party saw the neighborhood celebrate its 10-year anniversary, the wine-centric bar Mignon opened, and the art walk grew so popular (and filled with chardonnay-drinking revelers), that it was temporarily shut down. And in September, the Los Angeles Times announced the Spring Street club scene was perhaps better than Hollywood's nightlife scene. If the neighborhood is still lacking diverse retail for the loft pioneers, at least there are some baby steps: The Last Book Store on Main just celebrated its first anniversary. But if you want a sense of community--all in a few block radius--in a very urban area, it's a very good place to live. (The neighborhood even has a Facebook page.) And if you move, don't forget to get a dog first!
But is the neighborhood to beat Echo Park? (Yes, quite literally.) The music and arts scene continued here, but now the musicians aren't just playing in the clubs and packing up--they're actually purchasing expensive homes. Ke$ha was spotted hanging out in a local bar, OK Go made some videos, and even a Panic! At the Disco rocker moved in. There was a near bidding war for what amounted to a heap of wood sticks on Valentine Drive and a handful of listings almost hit the $1 million mark. More evidence of the neighborhood's upward trend? The opening of yuppie deli Cookbook on Echo Park Avenue, while a forthcoming supper club will take over the space in the long-suffering Ramona Theater. Smallish art galleries like Machine Project continue to draw a funky crowd, while some local architects and their work made Dwell magazine. And the neighborhood may be missing out on all the subway action, but with easy bus access to Hollywood, Los Feliz, and Downtown (all about a 15-minute ride or so), who needs a car? But the neighborhood's biggest accomplishment of 2010: Ghetto Von's cleaned up nice!