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Curbed Cup Round 1: (2) Echo Park vs. (15) North Hollywood

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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!

"What is this, 2006?" you're surely asking. Yeah, yeah, Echo Park already happened (even the LA Times discovered it late last year), but all those hipster move-ins were just prelude to the bigger and badder gentrification now underway. This year, a tiny 1881 bungalow went for $695,000, a hipster flip went for $739,000, and Heyday Partners' Dick+Jane townhouses both sold almost immediately for asking or close to it. The Smurf Village/Durbin and the small lot subdivision Morton Village both got reanimated this year, as did the Metropolitan Water District apartments on a neglected side of the neighborhood. EP's namesake lake was drained for a rehab this year and even snooty Conde Nast Traveler wanted in on the neighborhood action.

If there's a better sign for a neighborhood than the owners of the Bigfoot Lodge buying up a cool programmatic building there, we don't know what it is (and North Hollywood already has a subway, so you can't say it's that). Meanwhile, there were stirrings at the NoHo Art Wave and a new movie theater for the NoHo Arts District. The Valley Plaza mall owners gave the site back to their lenders, but hey, Mitt Romney visited and it's at least getting some facade improvements for now.

Poll results