The Curbed Cup, our annual award to the Chicago neighborhood of the year, is kicking off with 16 neighborhoods vying for the prestigious victory. For this week, we'll introduce two matchups per day, and on Friday, the results from the tournament bracket will be revealed. Voting for each pairing ends 24 hours after it begins. Let the eliminations commence!
Albany Park received quite a few nominations for the Curbed Cup this year, securing a fairly high spot in the bracket. It's a highly diverse, working class area, with residents proud of their neighborhood. As far as demographics are concerned, Albany Park has a population made up of people from all over the world, and has one of the highest percentages of foreign-born residents than any other neighborhood in the city. However, similar to nearby Avondale, the neighborhood is also becoming a destination for students and young professionals who are increasingly becoming priced out of neighborhoods like Bucktown, Logan Square and Wicker Park. Lawrence Avenue, which runs straight through neighborhood sports a bustling small business scene with vendors and merchants of all ethnic backgrounds.
Perhaps no other gentrification battle in the city is as contentious as the one happening right now in Humboldt Park. The area has long had a Puerto Rican majority, and its influence is evident in its small businesses, restaurants, the annual Puerto Rican People's Parade and of course its large Puerto Rican flag arches that stand over Division Street. However the neighborhood is feeling the squeeze from neighboring West Town, Wicker Park and Logan Square, and new residents and businesses are flooding the neighborhood. Earlier this year, real estate listing service and brokerage Redfin named Humboldt Park as one of the hottest neighborhoods to buy real estate in the entire country. Humboldt Park home values are up this year, and so was attendance at Riot Fest, an annual music fest that takes over the sprawling park for a weekend of live music and carnival rides.