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Curbed Cup First Round: (5) Lower Haight vs. (12) Civic Center

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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!

[Three Heads Six Arms via Sergio/Haight Shopping via Scott Cox]

The Lower Haight came out of the 2010 Curbed Cup in second place, and it's been quite a year. The neighborhood still boasts late-night eateries, some of the city's best bars, quirky public art, and a great location that's hard to beat when it comes to lovers of parks, Muni, or bicycles. The year has been rough: an amazing public mural was vandalized beyond recognition and a fire hit the center of the neighborhood at Haight and Fillmore. True to form, Lower Haighters have met these setbacks with a neighborhood spirit: getting together to clean up the mural and hosting fundraiser after fundraiser for victims of the fire. A classy bunch like that surely deserves your love.

While most folks wouldn't claim Civic Center as their neighborhood, we'd be doing the neighborhood a disservice by not including it in the competition, since so many people flock to it during the day, whether it be for work or play. It's home to City Hall, the main library, a beautiful museum and a slew of other important civic buildings. It's where people congregate for almost any occasion, including rallies, weddings, SantaCon and celebrating the Giants winning a World Series in 2010. Sure, it gets quiet at night, but during the day it's San Francisco's hub.

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