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 first matchup is grit vs grit. In one corner we have the Tenderloin, the 'hood that's rich with history. Shoot forward to present day and it's still lively as ever. One reader e-mailed us to say that it's the "last universally affordable neighborhood that's central." You can still score a condo for less than $400,000. Or you can live in a fabulous Art Deco building for half a mil. But it's also experiencing a fit of gentrification. And, well, you'd have to be living under a rock to not know that the Academy of Art is being a very bad neighbor. But it does have a National Forest! And it's packed with social services! And they're building housing for seniors! Unfortunately it's also home to "some of the worst daily crime in the city," which makes it unappealing to most visitors.
And then we have the Lower Haight. As our own Abby Pontzer puts it, her neighborhood is "completely distinct from lovely but yuppie Hayes Valley to the East or touristy and druggie Upper Haight to the West." This neighborhood's got soul. And great bars. And terrific and inexpensive bites. Unlike the Tenderloin, Lower Haight's got some of the coolest Victorians the city has to offer. Just this year the Nightingale House (Landmark No. 47) hit the market. As did a renovated 1913 firehouse, which quickly sold. The Tenderloin only has four (count that, four) single-family homes, but the Lower Haight is rich with 'em. So what'll it be, readers? Every vote counts!