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Curbed Cup 1st round: (7) Upper East Side vs. (10) Sunset Park

Which neighborhood should advance? Cast your vote now!

David Ayash/Flickr

Upper East Side

It’s the million dollar question that’s on everyone’s mind—will the Second Avenue Subway open by the end of the year? In our most recent update, Governor Cuomo was “cautiously optimistic.” The rest of us are all waiting with bated breath. The Second Avenue Subway alone is enough for this neighborhood to be one of the most talked about this past year.

But that’s not all. Just last week Forbes revealed that the Upper East Side was home to three of the priciest zip codes not just in New York City but in the United States. It’s no wonder when the most expensive home in the city is located in this neighborhood, and hedge funders, celebrities, and the über-wealthy in general are constantly trying to unload or purchase multi-million dollar mansions like the Wildenstein Mansion which just went into contract for $81 million. (At that, it’s still embroiled in legal troubles.)

Legal problems weren’t just restricted to the Wildensteins however. DDG’s tower on East 88th Street was halted after it emerged that the developer was using controversial construction techniques. And the long drawn-out saga surrounding the Sutton Place tower finally came to a close, at least for now.

While some new developments were stopped in their tracks, several others moved forward including Related’s 39-story rental, The Easton, which is now complete, Extell’s 23-story condo, The Kent, which has made rapid progress this past year, as did the Robert A.M. Stern-designed, 780-foot condo at 520 Park Avenue.

Some of the world’s best cultural institutions are located on the Upper East Side, and they too announced expansion/renovation plans this past year. The Frick Collection tapped Selldorf Architects to lead its expansion, and the Met announced early this year that it would add 180,000 square feet of space during its renovation. Another institution expanding is Rockefeller University—it’s Rafael Viñoly-designed modular building is currently taking shape over the FDR. All things considered, it’s been quite the eventful year for the Upper East Side.

Sunset Park

Two separate publications listed Sunset Park as the “coolest” neighborhood in New York City this past year. In February, The New York Times named Sunset Park West (whatever that is) one of the hottest neighborhoods in the city, and later in the year a Cushman & Wakefield report identified it as among the hippest neighborhoods across the country.

Courtesy of NYC Parks

We’ll let you be the judge of “coolest,” but Sunset Park has certainly seen a lot of action this past year. Amid all the chatter about the neighborhood being the next go-to place, rents have remained steady so far with the median one-bedroom rent at $1,600/month, which makes it one of the more inexpensive neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

That might not last for long however, and understandably local residents are concerned. With Sunset Park as one of the stops on the Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar, residents are worried that these developments will escalate rents and shutter local businesses.

Industry City continued to be a point of conversation this year. Though developers ditched plans to build student dorms for NYU and CUNY there, the massive development is remodeling itself to attract more creative tenants, and Gap Inc. signed on for 20,000-square-feet of space at the complex this year.

Another big project in the works is the Eight Avenue Center, which could bring hundreds of new apartments to the neighborhood, along with a hotel, and an office tower. But thankfully, the neighborhood is also working to preserve affordable housing amid this development boom. The local community board just agreed to redevelop the Sunset Park Library, which will bring 49 affordable apartments with it.

Is it the year of the development-heavy Upper East Side or the up-and-coming Sunset Park? Cast your vote below and let us know.