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Curbed Cup First Round: (5) The Bowery vs. (12) Red Hook

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The Curbed Cup, our annual award to the New York City neighborhood of the year, for the past three years has been determined by reader vote. This year, we're upping the ante with a 16-neighborhood elimination tournament spanning the month of December. The first round continues today with a morning and an afternoon faceoff, the winners of which will meet in round two.

Another seeming first-round missmatch... but olde Red Hook, the #12 seed, has surprised us before. You may recall this as the year that Red Hook degentrified, or didn't; what really matters is that Barbara Corcoran still believes, people. The Hook faces off in this round against #5 seed The Bowery, not a traditional neighborhood but still—from its north at the crazy Cooper Square Hotel down past the New New Museum to the wilds of Chinatown—one of the most eventful strips in the city in 2007. So who do you like to advance?

The Bowery
2007 Notables:
· The new New Museum. So, er, new! Hell Yes, etc!
· The Bowery Hotel, and its sassy restaurant Gemma, opened for business
· The Cooper Square Hotel went from this insane rendering to reality in 9 months
· While protesters tried to block Cooper Square from hosting Spring Break '08
· Adding luxury to injury, John Varvatos signed a lease on the old CBGB space
· The city's biggest Whole Foods opened, with produce as far as the eye can see. And beer!
· Neighbors got wise to all this insanity just a little too late

Red Hook
2007 Notables:
· Barbara Corcoran refused to give up hope
· Dude in replica Civil War-era submarine threatens western civilization
· Ikea grew, becoming the nabe's waterloo even before its summer '08 opening
· Owner of quirky liquor store LeNell's announces plan to get the hell out
· Restaurant 360 closed, maybe sorta was going to reopen, didn't... but maybe next year?

Other notables we overlooked? Do let us know. And your best arguments for neighborhood superiority or inferiority are welcomed in the comments below, too.