Geographically speaking, this next Elite Eight matchup pits two Atlanta neighborhoods in competition who are diametrically opposed to each other, but who share commonalities of scrappiness and up-and-coming pride. West End is the reigning Curbed Cup champion, having broken voting records en route to its “Neighborhood of the Year” status in 2015. It’s cool enough to have a catchy hashtag — #westendbestend — and while totally livable, smaller West End bungalows can be found in the $100,000s, others this year flirted with the $400,000s, for better or worse. With Atlanta’s bike-share program branching out this way, and the Westside Trail’s construction entering the home stretch (expected completion: fall 2017), the hype for West End is both real and valid.
Nobody bats an eye anymore when East Atlanta cribs — especially those within an easy trot of the neighborhood’s eclectic village — fetch in the $500,000 or $600,000 range, sometimes before they even have a chance to list. That speaks to either a chronic dearth of housing or the desirability of a fun neighborhood that prides itself on being a little funky. Could East Atlanta be out to prove something this year by possibly scoring its first-ever Final Four appearance — and then possibly going deeper? Signs say maybe. It garnered enough pre-tourney nominations for a not-shabby No. 6 seed, and then booted a former Curbed Cup champion — the sizzling Inman Park — in Round 1 action. But toppling the reigning tournament king and possessor of that glorious fake trophy will be no small task.