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Curbed Cup First Round: (5) Noe Valley vs. (12) Lower Haight

The Curbed Cup, our annual award for the San Francisco neighborhood of the year, is kicking off with 16 areas vying for the prestigious (and fake) trophy. This week we'll have two matchups per day, and all the results and the full tournament bracket will be reviewed on Friday. Voting for each pairing ends 24 hours after it begins. Let the eliminations commence!

Lower Haight photo via streetartsf; Noe Valley photo via Ambiance
Today we have Noe Valley, a neighborhood that seemingly grows more refined (and more expensive) by the day going up against the Lower Haight (our 2011 Curbed Cup winner). Let's vote!

In a recent report Curbed NY, our sister site, said that Noe Valley was akin to New York City's Greenwich Village. Although they were referring to cost per square foot, it's an apt comparison in more ways than one. Greenwich Village was traditionally a bohemian enclave until gentrification forces swept through and transformed it. Similarly, Noe Valley was once a blue collar neighborhood, that that's a thing of the long past. Economic boom times have come to this neighborhood, and it's impossible not to notice how many small cottages and modest homes have been remodeled to become large, modern houses. Recently, we've reported on apartments in the neighborhood that rent north of $3,500 and we routinely cover multi-million dollar sales in the area. There's also a host of nicer restaurants and shops—as well as a Whole Foods. The prosperity is even getting the long-stalled development of the former Real Foods going.

The Lower Haight is no stranger to rising housing costs and development (a project to transform the former University of California Berkeley Extension at 55 Laguna St. into 330 market-rate rentals is well underway), but the area has managed to hang onto it's slightly gritty character. Although this stretch of Haight is largely residential, there's still significant drinking and dining options (Eater SF, our sister site, frequently mentions the neighborhood when reporting new restaurant openings).
Poll results

· Where Should A New Yorker Live In San Francisco? [Curbed NY] · Eureka, Noe, Cole Valleys Reach New Heights in Luxury Market [Curbed SF]
· The 2011 Curbed Cup Neighborhood of the Year: Lower Haight [Curbed SF]
· 11 Years After Closing, Owner of Noe Valley's Real Food Finally Ready to Build [Curbed SF]
· Restaurant Opening Coverage [Eater SF]