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Curbed Cup 1st Round: (4) Hayes Valley vs. (13) Castro

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The Curbed Cup, our award to the San Francisco neighborhood of the year, is kicking off with 16 'hoods competing for a glorious JPEG of an illustrated trophy. This week we'll have two matchups per day, and all the results and full tournament bracket will be reviewed on Friday. Voting for each pairing ends in the wee hours the next morning. Let the eliminations commence!

Today's last battle is between two hubs. Hayes Valley vs. Castro. Both are considered averaged sized neighborhoods, yet the bulk of the action happens on one strip of street.

The Castro's widely considered to be America's first, currently largest, and best-known gay neighborhood. But as one commenter put it, "It's not just for gay people - I'm a little old lady and I love it here." New condos are going up, it had one of the best NIMBY fights ever, and it just might get its very own Whole Foods. But some say it's still a little too risque, and others worry that the its "it" neighborhood status is driving up home prices.

Take a walk down Market from the Castro and you're in Hayes Valley. Like our own Andrew Dalton wrote, it's "gone through several rounds of rehab to get where it is today." And boy, is it still going. There's the Proxy Project, the mega-collaboration between the city and Envelope A+D, the LGBT Community Center got approval for a restaurant, and SFJazz received the go ahead on their proposed Hayes Valley performance and administrative building. It's definitely a neighborhood on the move. But as one reader let us know, "the ever-changing landscape of my neighborhood makes me wonder if I'll always feel at home here."

Poll results

· All Curbed Cup 2010 coverage [Curbed SF]
[Hayes Valley photo via; Castro photo via.]