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Curbed Cup 1st Round: (7) Pilsen vs. (10) Albany Park

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The Curbed Cup, Curbed Chicago's annual Neighborhood of the Year tournament, is kicking off with 16 'hoods, which will square off in a series of one-on-one matchups. Voting for each matchup will close in the wee hours of the following day. We'll showcase two first round contests per day through the week with results reviewed on Friday. Let the eliminations begin!

Pilsen had a good year for a lot of reasons. The Fisk & Crawford coal plants finally closed after a 20-year-long grassroots anti-pollution crusade, the housing market has recovered enough so that developers are eyeing sizable new construction on desolate parcels. Simultaneously, housing for the low income community is gaining traction and the neighborhood's college students have a cheeper option for bunking away from home. And on the environmental front, the "greenest street in America" is fully operational.

Albany Park is probably the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in Chicago. There's no sense in enumerating all the immigrant groups, but the majority are Latin American. There's also Lawrence Avenue's Korea Town and a Swedish stronghold along the border with North Park. 'Working-class residential' best characterizes the area, with a renowned collection of bungalows in its western realm. Ravenswood Manor has some snazzier properties, and Blago doesn't live there any more! The river is a big part of life in Albany Park, whether or not you live on it. It forms the 'hood's east and north borders and offers public access at Gompers, Eugene Field, and Ronan parks. Anyone know of big developments/transitions/upheavals? The nominators didn't explain themselves, nor is Curbed up to the minute on this neighborhood.
·Curbed Cup 2012

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