The time has come. It's the Neighborhood of the Year face-off you've all been waiting for. After two weeks of voting, it's time for the Curbed Cup 2013 final face-off. For this voting period, we're extending the voting hours. Y'all have until noon on Thursday, January 2nd to decide if the Irish Channel or Bywater will rock the crown and carry the bragging rights until this time next year. Check out how the competing neighborhoods got to this point and vote away!
Bywater battled it out with the Lower Garden District in round one, then beat Bayou St. John in the second round to make its way to the Curbed Cup 2013 finals. Once a regular 'ole neighborhood, this part of town has become a serious dining destination — The whiskey-focused gastropub Oxalis just opened; Mariza is highly-rated; and then there's Booty's, Elizabeth's, The Joint, Maurepas, Bacchanal, and Pizza Delicious. Markey Park got a make-over (pissing off some locals who preferred the non-landscaped dog park vibe) and when Crescent Park opens the long-awaited perk of riverfront access will be a reality. Swank warehouse living and rocketing real estate prices was a shocker to some (especially when "Bywater" and "expensive" are used in the same sentence) but there's still a bit of grit (and affordable dwellings) if you dig around. GoNOLA says Bywater has the "most unique style," Movoto blog says its trendy, we say it's a good place for renters, and even The New York Times gave their two cents on Bywater (pissing off some locals, again).
The Irish Channel easily knocked St. Roch out of the running in round one, then did the same with the Riverbend a week later. The similarities are strong between Bywater and its Uptown competition, the Irish Channel. Once a working class neighborhood, the real estate scene went through the roof this year with houses listing for half a million and one really bold rental asking $2,050. A retail-residential combo is taking over an empty lot on Magazine Street near Washington Avenue and luxury apartments are going in at the 146-year-old Gates of Prayer Synagogue on Jackson Avenue. There's definitely no shortage of places to eat or drink in the IC: Dat Dog opened its second location and Amici brought its pizza to Magazine Street; NOLA Brewing opened a taproom in its brewery on Tchoupitoulas; the Rum House owners are opening Red Dog Diner; Café Atchafalaya is still going strong; and libations are flowing at Rendezvous, The Bulldog, and Tracey's (to name a few). The 'hood gets packed when St. Patrick's Day rolls around — first with a block party and then a massive parade — but Bywaterites will argue that theirs is better. Whether it's Irish pride, an Uptown vs. Downtown competition, a dining showdown, or straight-up neighborhood vanity, it is now time to vote.
· Curbed Cup 2013 coverage [Curbed NOLA]