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Curbed Cup 1st Round: (6) Red Hook vs. (11) Harlem

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Which neighborhood should advance? Cast your vote now!

Felix Lipov /

Red Hook

Red Hook is back in the running, and it’s remarkable how many new projects have materialized in just one short year. At the top of that list is the massive Norman Foster-designed office complex on the Red Hook waterfront, dubbed Red Hoek Point. And while only conceptual in nature, AECOM proposed a waterfront megadevelopment twice the size of Hudson Yards. Locals peeved by the lack of community involvement in this project later proposed their own alternative focused on expanding and fortifying much-needed affordable housing.

But Red Hook’s big year wasn’t just about office proposals: Construction got underway on the pricey King and Sullivan townhouses, more than half of which had already sold less than a week after sales launched last fall. Prices on apartments continue to rise, too—some estimates put the jump at 33 percent from where they were five years ago.

On the retail front, Tesla chose the neighborhood for a showroom and brought back the beloved Red Hook sign. In transportation news, Atlantic Basin was chosen as one of the docking locations for the citywide ferry, and the neighborhood may be a beneficiary of the proposed Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar (though residents aren’t too happy about it). On a more somber note, the neighborhood lost one of its biggest champions with the passing of Sunny Balzano, the proprietor of the iconic Sunny’s Bar (luckily, patrons can still visit the beloved dive).


One of Harlem’s most talked-about developments in recent years, Circa Central Park, launched sales for its pricey condos this past year—just one of the many indicators of the rapid change that continues to sweep through the neighborhood.

Jeff Reuben/Flickr

Sustainable living and restoration were big themes Harlem this year, as the city’s first passive house rental building (located in the Hamilton Heights area) launched leasing. The long-in-the-works restoration of the P.S. 186 building into affordable housing also saw its completion in October this past year. In another boost for affordable housing, the city agreed to spend $135 million to upgrade 500 affordable units throughout the neighborhood.

On the flip side, a Hamilton Heights house that sold for just under $5 million was the priciest townhouse ever sold in the neighborhood. Other successful townhouse sales included late poet Maya Angelou’s townhouse, which went for $4.08 million, and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Diaz’s townhouse, which made him a cool $2.3 million.

Plus, the neighborhood is about to get its first Whole Foods—a sign of big things to come (or big gentrification on its way) if ever there was one.

So which area should advance to the next round? Cast your votes below.