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Curbed Cup Round 1: (8) Santa Monica vs. (9) Atwater Village

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Here it is: the 2011 Curbed Cup race for Los Angeles Neighborhood of the Year. Round one of our tournament features 16 'hoods vying for the coveted golden jpeg--we'll have two matchups every day through Thursday, then take a look at our tournament bracket on Friday. Voting for each poll ends at noon the next day (and will be watched closely for any shenanigans). Let the neighborhood on neighborhood carnage begin!

The eyes of the world were on Santa Monica this summer when Boston mobster Whitey Bulger turned up in one of its apartment buildings, but that's not the half the action. SaMo is super excited for the Expo Line (Phase II, expected to hit the city in 2015, broke ground this year) and has all kinds of hotels, housing, parks (by hot landscape architect James Corner), bike infrastructure, beach bathrooms, and more either just arrived or in the pipeline. On the minus side: no dog beach.

Unassuming Atwater Village saw a lot of small lot subdivision action this year, with small, detached houses opening at the Mews on one end (starting at $599k) and at Atwater Crossing on the other (one unit was listed at $999,500!). Housing aside, Atwater Crossing was hopping with arts events all year long, and the 'hood is set to get an "iconic" bridge to link it up to Griffith Park.

Poll results