Another notable figure is publicly calling Arlington “soulless.”
Yesterday, Wall Street Journal White House and politics reporter Byron Tau tweeted:
Is Arlington, Va. the most soulless place in the Washington area or the most soulless place in the United States? Discuss.
— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) February 19, 2015
Tau, a resident of the District, formerly worked for several years at Rosslyn-based Politico. At least two of Tau’s followers, including a current Politico reporter, jumped half-heartedly to Arlington’s defense.
— Bob King (@BKingDC) February 19, 2015
Tau later clarified that while he has not lived in Arlington, he’s “been all over Arlington by foot, car and bike. Columbia Pike, Courthouse, Clarendon, Virginia Square, etc, etc.”
Reached by ARLnow.com, Tau declined to elaborate on his views on the record. His comments come several months after New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand made headlines for calling Arlington a “soulless suburb” in her new book.
ARLnow.com first reported Gillibrand’s “soulless” snub, which prompted widespread indignation in Arlington and some nods of agreement in D.C. But it turns out that Tau beat Gillibrand to the punch by more than a year. He tweeted this in 2013.
NoMa: when you want to live in a place as soulless and bland as Arlington at a much higher price point.
— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) July 26, 2013
For the sake of discussion — is there anything you think Arlington should do to become less “soulless” in the eyes of some? Or should it stay just the way it is?
Not only is the frigid weather dangerous for those spending time outdoors this week, in some cases it’s also causing problems for those trying to stay indoors.
At The Market Common apartment building in Clarendon, the cold weather is causing fire alarms to go off repeatedly, thanks to exposed sprinkler heads bursting in the parking garage.
The alarms are apparently going off in Market Common Clarendon retail stores and restaurants, as well.
The apartment’s management team sent the following email to residents last night, telling them that they probably don’t have to run outside into the cold whenever the fire alarm goes off this week.
Dear Valued Residents,
As we are sure many of you already know, in the past 48 hours the fire alarm in the building has been going off sporadically. The alarm is sounding due to the extremely low temperatures in the single digits causing exposed sprinklers heads in the parking garage to burst.
Our retail component is doing everything in their power to prevent the bursts, however, as the weather is expected to drop well below freezing there is high potential the alarms will go off again.
Please keep in mind that these alarms are testing false and they are not emergencies you need to evacuate the building for. However, per the Fire Marshall, you should prepare to evacuate the building any time a fire alarm is to sound.
Our team will be working around the clock to keep sending updates if it is a pipe burst and not an actual fire. In the event that you do see smoke or fire, please call 911.
We are actively working with our retail component to permanently fix this issue and appreciate your patience and understanding.
As always, thank you for calling The Market Common your home.
The Market Common
(Updated Feb. 23 at 9:45 a.m.) A new Vietnamese restaurant plans to take over the space currently occupied by Toscana Grill in Courthouse.
The owners of Pho Deluxe, which has locations in Fairfax and Tysons Corner, told ARLnow.com that Toscana Grill is closing April 1, after which they will move in.
They hope to be open a month afterward at 2300 Clarendon Blvd, facing Courthouse Plaza.
Owners Hue and Dan Nguyen said the restaurant will specialize in the beef noodle soup, as well as rice dishes and noodle dishes. It will also have a full bar.
Toscana Grill had briefly closed in fall 2013, but reopened under new management.
Next door, meanwhile, Velocity Five’s conversion to Courthaus Social is about to get started. Co-owner Fito Garcia said this morning that the sports bar will be closing “in the coming week” to begin its remodeling to an “American beer garden.” Garcia said he expects the remodeling and staff training to be complete in time to open in April.
A previous version of this story stated Toscana Grill would close March 1. That has been corrected.
A driver suffering from an apparent medical emergency drove his car off the road and into a tree this afternoon in Douglas Park.
The driver was attended to by medical personnel and ultimately taken to the hospital. According to police sources, the driver lost control of his car driving northbound on S. George Mason Drive, mere feet from the intersection with Four Mile Run Drive, just before 3:00 p.m.
The road was closed briefly as fire and police personnel responded to the crash, but it has since reopened.
Airbags deployed and the windshield shattered. The car, a Dodge Avenger, is likely totaled, suffering severe front end damage. There’s no word on the severity of the driver’s injuries.
The Chinese restaurant that has become known around Clarendon for serving giant mugs of beer for cheap is closed for now.
Hunan Number One (3003 Wilson Blvd) has a sign on the door that says it will reopen on Friday, Feb. 20. The business has been closed since last week, it appears.
An employee who answered the phone Wednesday morning said the restaurant was closed “for a bit of remodeling” and confirmed that it’s expected to reopen Friday. When ARLnow.com stopped by this morning, workers were inside getting the business ready for the reopening.
The closure comes at an inconvenient time for those who might have wanted to toast the Chinese New Year, which is Thursday.
It’s unclear at this point what changes are being made to the interior.
Update at 12:05 p.m. — An earlier version of this story reported that Hunan One’s website automatically redirects to an online store that sells only Air Jordan sneakers. It appears that the problem has been fixed and the restaurant’s website is working properly again. Some users, however, may still be experiencing the redirection under certain circumstances due to browser caching.
“We call ourselves a network of neighborhood productive spaces,” cove Brand Director Erin Gifford told ARLnow.com today. “It’s an alternative to working at home, a coffee shop or even your office.”
Cove already has six spaces in D.C. and one in Old Town Alexandria, and its eighth location will be on the first floor of 1735 Clarendon Blvd. Gifford said the space “fell into our lap,” and it should be open for users by the end of the month.
“We’ve been getting so many requests to come to Arlington. We wanted to get something as quickly as possible,” Gifford said. Cove is planning on opening more spaces in Arlington in the not-too-distant future, although she couldn’t say where or when. “We’re continuing our search.”
Cove charges for its space not by leasing it out on a monthly or longer basis, but by charging by the hour. Each user is given a personalized QR code and checks in when they enter, and out when they leave. Users pre-pay for the time they’ll spend in the space by the month.
Cove offers memberships starting at $32 for eight hours, and users can pay less by the hour the more time they plan to spend in the space. Additional time is billed at an hourly rate.
When Cove opens, it will have nine desks, a Keurig coffee maker with about six different types of coffee, soda and sparkling water. Gifford said Cove also has a partnership with nearby BeanGood Coffee Pub, allowing users to take refillable Cove coffee mugs and get 10 percent off their orders.
Cove also offers its users free WiFi, printing and scanning. Anyone who pays for a membership can spend time at any Cove location; there are two outposts in Dupont Circle and one in Georgetown, Columbia Heights, Capitol Hill, on 14th Street NW and an under-construction location on K Street NW.
Many of the roads around Arlington remain unplowed as of 10:00 a.m., despite the sunshine and the end of the 4-5 inches of snowfall.
The federal and county governments are closed, as are many private offices, which sought to avoid asking employees to trek through hazardous driving conditions this morning. Many retail businesses decided not to open due to the storm either.
Outside of Wilson and Clarendon Blvds, all of the roads in Clarendon were unplowed this morning, and the normally bustling rush hour around the Metro stop was quiet — the man handing out the Washington Post Express newspaper could be heard saying “Have a good day” to every passerby from a block away.
Jessica Chakrin, a Clarendon resident, ventured to a mostly empty Whole Foods this morning with her boyfriend, Steve Benkert, who lives in D.C. Neither works for the federal government, but both were enjoying a day off work and some spontaneous, child-like fun.
“We went to Whole Foods breakfast, had some [coffee] there, and I was about to shove her in the snow… that was about as far as the day was planned,” Benkert said. He noted that the Whole Foods was almost empty — a rare sight for most Clarendon regulars.
With Monday’s federal holiday, the snow meant most workers in the area got four straight days off work.
“Snow days are fun,” said Rusty Mathews, who lives near Clarendon on Fairfax Drive and works for a law firm. “They’re a nice change, but right after a holiday, it’s particularly nice. You get a long, long weekend.”
The Clarendon Alliance, which organizes the parade, announced this morning that it will not be held tomorrow night, on Fat Tuesday, as scheduled. Instead, the parade is being rescheduled for St. Patrick’s Day (March 17).
Six to ten inches of snow are expected to fall overnight.
Arlington Independent Media‘s low-power FM station was approved by the Federal Communications Commission for 96.7 on the dial, with call letters WERA-LPFM. As part of their FCC approval, the radio station must be broadcast-ready by Dec. 9, according to AIM Executive Director Paul LeValley.
When the radio station does launch — and LeValley has no doubt they will be ready to air by the deadline — it will be a platform for anyone interested in broadcasting to get real, on-air experience.
“We’ll train [the community] on how to do it, how to produce a radio program, and they will produce the programming,” LeValley told ARLnow.com this morning. “There’s an interest group among just citizens, people who for years have been lobbying for low-power FM around the area and just in Arlington. The Arlington portion of that group is starting to coalesce, and they meet independent of my board, independent of my staff. And they’re saying ‘What kind of stuff do we want to do?’”
The FCC requires that any low-power FM station operate only for educational, noncommercial purposes.
LeValley said the low-power FM committee of the AIM Board of Directors is meeting to determine what kind of programming mix the station should have. When it’s live, the station will reach most of Arlington and stretch into parts of the District.
AIM received a construction permit to build a radio tower in June, but it’s still in the process of figuring out where the tower will be located. LeValley couldn’t disclose which sites he was looking at, only that it would be “somewhere toward the center of Arlington, on a multi-story building.”
AIM’s LPFM committee chair Andy Rosenberg has worked for years in public radio and has lived in Arlington for more than 40 years. He said he’s thrilled to see how the community gathers around its own radio station.
“There’s a bit of controversy about whether radio is a dead medium, but I think with these LPFM stations, there’s a chance to build community,” Rosenberg said. “Radio is immediate and flexible and there’s so much you can do with it to engage the community. That’s exciting to think about it.”
WERA-LPFM has the capability to broadcast 24 hours a day and the studio will be in AIM’s headquarters on N. Danville Street in Courthouse. Eventually, Rosenberg said, radio programs will be able to be recorded in satellite offices, sent to the station and transmitted through the tower.
Over the next few months, while the tower site is chosen and construction begins, AIM will hold community meetings to try to determine who and what the community wants to hear on the radio, Rosenberg said.
Photo via Facebook
Today through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., the mall will offer free, full-service gift-wrapping, complete with a variety of wrapping paper, ribbons, and red and pink bows.
The only catch: you have to spend more than $250 at any of a handful of pricey stores. Those stores include:
- Armani Exchange
- Hugo Boss
- Kate Spade
- Michael Kors
- Stuart Weitzman
- Vince Camuto
Shoppers who want to take advantage of the service are asked to bring proof of purchase to the Guest Services kiosk.
Two new businesses in Clarendon have opened their doors, in the new retail space on the ground floor of 3001 Washington Blvd.
Cherry Blow Dry Bar, which offers blow outs and extensions for women’s hair, opened on Jan. 30 at 1041 N. Highland Street, next door to the even-more-recently opened Citizen Burger Bar. Salon owner Jennifer Weiss said last week they offered a $15 blow out special and were booked solid all week.
“We were totally sold out and overwhelmed,” she said at her new shop yesterday. “We’ve gotten great support from women in the community who felt that there was a need for our services.”
Pure Barre opened late last year, offering ballet-inspired workout classes and athletic apparel. They have specials for new clients — $100 for 30 days of unlimited classes — and offer six to nine classes a day, starting at 5:50 a.m.
Cherry Blow Dry Bar offers blow outs for $35 and extensions for $395. It is open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Sundays. Weiss said she’s considering opening at 7:00 a.m. on weekdays because her customers want to get blow outs before work.
Single classes at Pure Barre are $25, while a 10-class pass is $210. A 12-month unlimited membership is $185 a month.
(Updated on 2/13/15) Clarendon residents will soon have another option to get their caffeine fix.
A Peet’s Coffee & Tea appears on its way, with signs up in the windows of the building at the corner of N. Highland Street and Washington Blvd. The store is expected to open this spring, but “our exact date is still to be confirmed,” according to a company spokeswoman.
When it opens, it will be the second Peet’s location in Arlington, following the coffee shop that opened in Shirlington last year.
Peet’s offers higher-end coffees and teas, and will compete with Oby Lee and the 7-Eleven across Washington Blvd. The location is also a long block away from Northside Social and a third of a mile from the Starbucks on Clarendon Blvd.
(Updated at 3:25 p.m.) Would you pay $25-30 for a day of unlimited coffee and snacks in a place that offers video games, board games, poker, foosball and the occasional standup comic or musician?
A husband and wife team are banking that the answer is “yes.” Vitaliy Hayda and Kseniia Shnyreva, immigrants from Ukraine and Russia, respectively, are planning on starting a new type of coffee shop, called The Third Place, in Arlington.
The pair has been blogging the travails of opening up a business, from the registering as an LLC to advertising to showing the initial renderings of the interior. They say they plan to open the business this summer in Arlington, but they do not plan to look for a location until April or May, the owners told ARLnow.com via email. They list “Rosslyn, Virginia” as the location on their Facebook page.
The name of the establishment refers to the concept of a “third place” where people can hang out and socialize.
“According to urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg, the first place is your home, the second place is your work and the third place is your ‘great good place,’” The Third Place’s website says. “It’s where you go to relax, have a good time, and surround yourself with friends both new and old.”
Traditional coffee shops, where people work on laptops, meet friends and hold informal business meetings, are viewed as a type of third place. However, sometimes “third place” business can be challenging for coffee shops, where customers can buy a $4 coffee and occupy a table for hours while tapping away at a laptop and using the free Wifi.
It appears that The Third Place seeks to remedy that by encouraging people to spend the entire day for a flat fee. It could almost be compared to an airport lounge, minus the airport but plus occasional entertainment.
The website says The Third Place will have bottomless coffee, tea, milk, juice and snacks for a $25 a day fee online, and $30 at the door. It will also sell coffee and tea to go. Hayda and Shnyreva also plan to offer memberships, including a $300 a month option that allows for unlimited entrance, eight guest passes, 50 percent off coffee to go and a 50 percent alcohol discount.
The Third Place plans to have a bar, allow for food delivery and let customers to bring their own food and alcohol in. In one of their blog posts, Hayda writes that they will have edible coffee cups, milk shots, a circular wood-burning fireplace and outlets with USB chargers.
According to the National Retail Federation, 37.8 percent of Americans will buy flowers for Valentine’s Day this year, spending $2.1 billion.
Crystal City-based Bloompop launched in September 2013, and it’s currently gearing up for its second Valentine’s Day this Saturday. The company offers $10 delivery of flower bouquets from $50 to $150 from local florists. To become a Bloompop partner, a florist must have four- or five-star reviews on a combination of online review websites.
Bloompop Founder and CEO Shavanna Miller said Valentine’s Day, along with Mother’s Day, is the biggest day of the year for her company’s florist partners, and they’ve been undergoing weeks of preparations.
“Our Florist Partners are doing the heavy lifting this week,” Miller told ARLnow.com today in an email, “managing huge amounts of floral inventory, adding additional drivers and team members (sometimes two-three times their normal staff), and making sure all of their beautiful floral art work is delivered carefully and on time for Valentine’s.”
Bloompop is offering an “Easy Valentine’s” service this year, allowing customers to pick the price, color and whether their Valentine hates or loves roses — “the biggest Valentine’s Day fault line,” Miller said. In any ZIP code in the country, a bouquet will be arranged and delivered by a local florist, based on the customer’s specifications.
Whereas Bloompop specializes in variety and creative partnerships, D.C.-based UrbanStems prides itself in simplicity. The company, which also delivers to Arlington, offers three types of bouquets for $35, $45 and $55, also selling chocolates and a floral-patterned bowtie. Bloompop partners with local florists, while UrbanStems sources its flowers directly from South America.
Urban Stems was launched just before Valentine’s Day last year, delivering its products through last year’s snowstorm. This year, the weather outlook doesn’t look great, but it’s not quite as bleak as last year. No matter the weather, the pair of D.C.-area flower startups knows this holiday is too important to take a snow day.
Image via Bloompop
A developer is cutting down an oak tree thought to be more than 200 years old today in Bluemont, prompting outcries from some neighbors.
The large, willow oak tree, on the 5600 block of 8th Road N., is on a 12,000-square-foot lot that WSD Homes is in the process of redeveloping. According to nearby residents, the homebuilding company is planning on building two $1.2 million houses on the property — where now sits an unoccupied house ready to be torn down.
A request for comment from WSD Homes has not been returned. The tree was more than 100 feet tall and more than 23 feet around at chest height, neighbors said. WSD Homes had originally said it would try to preserve it, but its director of sales, Jon Ferris, changed his mind after talking with neighbors, they said.
“Ferris stated that even if the tree could be saved, people who would buy a nice $1.2 million home would not want such a tree in their front yard,” Mark Haynes, who has been one of the leaders of the campaign to save the tree, told ARLnow.com in an email this morning. “A petition asking WSD and the County to attempt to save the tree has been circulated and has well over 100 signatures including many from local tree experts and neighbors.
“Last week, when local representatives of the Arlington Tree Stewards group and others requested a meeting at the site to discuss how the tree might be saved (with WSD still able to make a profit), Ferris stated that WSD would hurry to cut the tree down to stop the discussion.”
Workers from The Care of Trees were at the house today, chopping the tree down with chainsaws and woodchippers. Several truckloads of tree chippings had already been hauled off site, with the majority of the trunk still firmly in the ground. It’s unclear what, if anything, will be left of the tree when the work is completed.
“This magnificent Willow Oak is estimated to be 180 to 250 years old and predates the American Civil War by at least 50 years,” Haynes said. “Willow Oaks are one of the more long-lived (up to 400 years) and hearty of the oaks. This particular tree was, in the view of a number of experts, very healthy and had many, many years left in it.”
Arlington keeps registries of “Champion Trees” and “Notable Trees,” but the willow oak does not appear to be on either list. Trees that are listed as “Specimen Trees” or in a Resource Protected Area have some protections on them that prevent them from being cut down. The Willow tree has no protections, said Arlington Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish.
“The County cannot stop a private landowner from taking down a tree on their property unless it is a Specimen Tree or in a Resource Protected Area and sadly this tree is neither,” Kalish said.
One of the residents who contacted ARLnow.com said it was the second-largest tree in the county, but ARLnow.com hasn’t been able to confirm its official height or how it compares to other trees in the county.
“To us, it was a magnificent tree no matter it’s ranking,” Kalish said.