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Curbed Cup 1st Round: (4) Columbus Circle vs. (13) Downtown Brooklyn

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The Curbed Cup, our annual award to the New York City neighborhood of the year, is taking on a different tone in this, its fifth running. West Village, Long Island City, Williamsburg?they've all been done. Instead, we're mixing things up by focusing on the most newsworthy microneighborhoods. Let the eliminations commence!

It was the year Columbus Circle, and its charming mall, finally got the rich new neighbors it has always so richly deserved. Robert A.M. Stern's blandly triumphal 15 Central Park West remained the center of the New York City real estate world, with profitable flips continuing even with Wall Streeters perched on ledges. Across the fountainous plaza, architect Brad Cloepfil's transformation of 2 Columbus Circle from lollipops to supercilious 'HI'-cade enraged those still engaged enough to care, but did give the plaza a nice new museum. Meantime, across the East River up Flatbush way, Downtown Brooklyn also came into its own with construction cranes still swinging and downtown hotels (and, people, Morton's!) adding to the fun. Tragically, however, Renzo Piano's plans for a beastly 100-story tower bit the dust. So which neighborhood moves on to round two?

#4 Columbus Circle
2008 Notables:
· Museum of Arts & Design opens in ravaged 2 Columbus Circle [Curbed]
· 15 Central Park West cemented its seat atop the NYC real estate world [Curbed]
· Insanity continued at Sheffield 57, and developer Kent Swig got iced [Curbed]
· A little north of Columbus Circle, but, dude, Uggs! [Racked]

#13 Downtown Brooklyn
2008 Notables:
· The Toren brought new development flair to a once-dead area [Curbed]
· Dreams of a 100-story Renzo Piano skyscraper faded into the dusk [Curbed]
· Preservation of the Underground Railroad houses raged as an issue [Curbed]
· Apple was coming! But actually, no it wasn't! [Racked]
· Morton's Steakhouse jazzes up the neighborhood [Eater]

Any notable events we've forgotten? Do chime in.