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Curbed Cup 1st Round: (2) Pilsen vs. (15) O'Hare

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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 24 hours after opening. We'll showcase two first round contests per day through the week with results reviewed on Friday. Let the eliminations begin!

Curbed's readers and Lower West Side enthusiasts vaulted Pilsen to the 2nd seeding. We'll go along with it, as the 18th Street retail corridor is in a state of pronounced change. Other strips haven't budged but that's OK— 18th has enough dynamism all on its own. The upmarket restoration of Thalia Hall is the big ticket from 2013, with its restaurant, punch room, design store, and pending music/theater venue. There's intrigue in the form of a 216-unit apartment plan cleared for takeoff at the border with University Village, and in the new park space and jobs prospect on the site of shuttered coal plants.

O'Hare squeezed into this year's Cup in deference to its nominator's enthusiasm for "TONS of jobs in industrial areas" and for "great restaurants" and nearby entertainment districts, including the new Fashion Outlets of Chicago (in Rosemont). If traffic and suburbia is your thing, there's always a mall or multiplex nearby. And let's not forget that O'Hare has a neat and tidy residential quarter, too, all of it close to road, rail, and air transport and all of it near Forest Preserve. The airport itself is becoming a foodie outpost, but much of it is restricted to ticketed passengers. And that's when you remember just how far away you are from urbanity.
·Curbed Cup 2013

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