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by Ethan Rothstein — April 7, 2015 at 3:45 pm 3,177 0

Eclectic Threads, the vintage consignment, furniture and clothing store in Lyon Park, is closing in June.

The shop, at the corner of Washington Blvd and Pershing Drive, has been open since 1982, owner Sheila Selario told ARLnow.com today. It’s combined with Corner Cupboard, and Selario runs the two stores with her daughter, Tara.

The building’s being sold, Selario said, prompting the closure. Everything in the shop — a mix of knick-knacks, furs, lamps and pretty much anything else that can fit through the door — is 20 percent off for now, but the sale could go up before Eclectic Threads shuts down.

“If the public hasn’t come in yet, now’s the time,” Selario said.

The store opened as consignment 33 years ago before growing in scope. Selario said she’s going to use her time now to “catch up on things” she missed while running the business.

“I’m really going to miss it,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful experience.”

by Ethan Rothstein — April 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm 2,606 0

Demolition of Marymount University’s “Blue Goose” building in Ballston is ramping up.

While the building at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Glebe Road has been slowly, methodically taken apart for months, today demolition crews seemed to reach an inflection point.

This morning, construction crews were hacking large pieces off the distinctive, blue Marymount University building using high-reach excavators, similar to the ones used to tear down the building across from the Rosslyn Metro station last December.

When the building’s demolition is complete, it will be replaced by a nine-story office building and 15-story residential building. The redevelopment is a partnership between Shooshan Company and Marymount University. Shooshan has a ground lease for the land and is developing the new buildings, while MU owns the land and will occupy six of the nine floors of the new office building, with plans to fill the other three over time.

The buildings are expected to be completed by summer 2017, Shooshan Company Vice President Kevin Shooshan told ARLnow.com in February.

Photos via Twitter and Facebook, as noted

by Ethan Rothstein — April 6, 2015 at 2:30 pm 2,245 0

Men running in ClarendonArlington has been named the sixth-healthiest “city” in America, according to a ranking that takes lifestyle, access to healthcare and environment all into account.

Livability.com — the same website that named Arlington the third-best place to live last year — said Arlington’s access to exercise, recreation, healthy food and low obesity rate all factored in to its ranking.

“Nearly every resident of Arlington, Va., can access healthy foods and places to exercise,” the website says in its blurb about Arlington. “Arlington is filled with parks that offer great hikes, athletic fields, and leisurely strolls and private fitness centers offering yoga, Pilates, CrossFit and a variety of other workouts.”

Topping the list is Minneapolis, Minn., followed by Cambridge, Mass., and Madison, Wisc. Madison was named the best place for recent college graduates to live last week and was No. 1 on Livability’s best places to live rankings.

Arlington was named the healthiest county in Virginia last month. The county’s obesity rate is less than 20 percent, and its network of trails, roads with bike lanes and cycle tracks and Metro-accessible development give residents opportunities to stay in shape while commuting to work. Not only do Arlington residents have access to doctors, the website said, they also use them: about 83 percent of residents receive diabetic screenings.

Access to healthy food, recycling programs, not smoking and “drinking in moderation” were also listed as factors for Arlington’s place in the rankings.

by Ethan Rothstein — April 6, 2015 at 1:15 pm 8,653 0

"Let's Not Do Flip-Flops" sign in Clarendon "Let's Not Do Flip-Flops" sign in Clarendon

Arlington residents have long been teased for their summer footwear fashion sense, but an anonymous, self-appointed member of the fashion police is hoping to change that.

A sign posted on N. Highland Street in front of Delhi Club implores passersby “This year let’s not do flip flops,” and it is signed, ungrammatically: “Thank you, an arlington county services message.”

So far, there is no indication of who posted the sign.

Fashion, however, might not be the only beneficiary of an anti-flip-flop trend; there could be health benefits as well. The flip-flops that can be seen adorning the feet and exposing the toes of many Arlington men and women as soon as the weather gets warm could actually be safety risks.

National Flip-Flop Day is June 19 this year. A smoothie cafe in Virginia Square annually gives everyone wearing flip-flops a free smoothie to celebrate the holiday.

by Ethan Rothstein — April 3, 2015 at 11:00 am 1,751 0

(Updated at noon) More and more dead trees are being turned into animals around Arlington.

Artist Andrew Mallon, owner of Potomac Tree Structures, drew attention for the bear he carved into a tree on 14th Street N. in Virginia Square last summer and business has only improved since then.

“I think it can get very big,” Mallon said. “I think that it is something that’s going to keep growing. I get more and more calls all the time.”

The Virginia Square tree has been completely transformed. Where was once a bear in the middle of a dead tree, there is now a complete statue, with a fox curling around the trunk and a hawk perched on top.

An Andrew Mallon original has popped up in Maywood, with an owl perched on top of a carved down tree with a “green man” etched in the middle. That sculpture, on the 3500 block of 21st Avenue N. is set back a little from the road — unlike the bear, hawk and fox tree, which is almost on the sidewalk.

South Arlington also has a bit of tree art. On the 4000 block of 19th Street S. in Douglas Park, Mallon took a stump and carved two dogs chasing two squirrels up a tree.

“Most people don’t even really know exactly what they want,” Mallon said. “They mostly say ‘you’re the artist, you tell me.'”

Most of the pieces he’s done — there are some in Fairfax County — take a week or so, but the bear, hawk and fox statue took longer because of payment issues. When Mallon returned to work on it, neighbors gushed to him about the art he added to their neighborhood.

“That’s probably my favorite thing about it,” he said. “Neighbors stop and thank me for bringing it to their neighborhood. The community really likes it, the kids all love it.”

Mallon can be reached at 703-919-4835 or at potomactreesculptures@gmail.com.

by Ethan Rothstein — April 2, 2015 at 3:30 pm 2,476 0

Rosslyn’s only pizza-by-the-slice restaurant is now open, but only for lunch for the next few weeks.

Wiseguy NY Pizza opened quietly for lunch yesterday at 1735 N. Lynn Street, but by noon today there was a line out the door as owner Tony Errol’s sought after slices were being offered for half-off.

“We’ll get better,” a sweaty Errol told ARLnow.com as he and his new staff were deluged with customers. “We’re still training.”

Errol didn’t tell anyone he’d opened, hoping that crowds would be light to break in his new restaurant. That backfired, as Rosslyn’s pizza-starved lunch crowd learned of Wiseguy’s arrival. The pizza place will open for full hours and service on April 20, Errol said.

For now, Wiseguy is only offering slices of pizza, garlic knots and Junior’s Cheesecake, which is shipped from the legendary bakery in New York.

Wiseguy is not the only pizza restaurant to open its doors to the Rosslyn crowds this month. Spinfire Pizza, at 1501 Wilson Blvd, is planning to launch “early to mid-April.”

Spinfire — co-owned by Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garçon and Paisano’s Pizza owner Fouad Qreitem — promises to make its personalized, single-size pizzas in 90 seconds.

by Ethan Rothstein — April 2, 2015 at 10:00 am 4,002 0

Courthaus Social logo from Facebook

(Updated on 4/10/15) Velocity 5 in Courthouse has been closed for weeks, but this month it will be reborn as Courthaus Social.

The “American beer garden” concept at the sports bar space at 2300 Clarendon Blvd has been in the works for years, but owners Fito Garcia and Nema Sayadian are completing the final buildout now, preparing to open by the end of April.

“Courthaus Social is the perfect spot for a happy hour, a pit stop en route to the city or a final destination to spend an entire evening,” Garcia said in a press release. “Our beer garden is dedicated to remaining an establishment that delivers unforgettable experiences to every guest. Whether you live in Arlington or are here for a few days… Grab a boot and sip, savor, and share in the spirit of beer and great food.”

Velocity 5 in CourthouseThe opening has been pushed back from its original April 13 date, but the owners hope that by the end of the month Courthaus Social will be ready to go, serving two-liter boots and steins of 30 beers on tap, with long benches for social seating.

Sayadian told ARLnow.com that the interior will look wildly different from the Velocity 5 the area has come to know.

“It’s night and day, a 180-degree difference,” he said.

Garcia said the beer garden will have “life-size games” and will be community-focused, focusing on Virginia breweries and “humanely raised, free range” meats. It will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. daily.

Photo (top) via Facebook

by Ethan Rothstein — April 1, 2015 at 11:45 am 910 0

Tomatoes at the Clarendon farmers market by MichaelTRuhl(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Arlington’s ninth and newest farmers market, at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street), will debut this month.

On Sunday, April 19, the Fairlington farmers market will debut at 9:00 a.m. and run until 1:00 p.m. returning every Sunday through November.

There are 11 confirmed venders, according to the Fairlington Citizens Association’s April newsletter, selling vegetables, fruit, eggs, meats, breads, flowers and coffee among others.

“This is Fairlington’s market,” FCA President Guy Land wrote in the newsletter. “It’s not intended to draw in customers from DC or the far suburbs of Northern Virginia. It was developed by Fairlington residents for Fairlington residents, and they will shepherd its operation.”

Every item sold will have been grown or made within 125 miles of Fairlington, the FCA wrote, and all of the vendors will be the producers themselves. Some of the vendors will accept SNAP benefits and senior checks. The market is still looking for volunteers from the community, and is hosting open houses at the community center on Tuesday, April 7 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 2, from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.

Now that April is here, the other eight farmers markets are beginning to arise from their winter slumbers. The Columbia Pike Farmers Market is year-round on Sundays at the Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive and Wednesdays at Arlington Mill Community Center. Here are the other farmers markets in the county.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 31, 2015 at 4:45 pm 1,165 0

Rolls By U in the Colonial Village Shopping Center Rolls By U in the Colonial Village Shopping Center

A new sushi restaurant appears to be moving in to the Colonial Village Shopping Center, next to the IceBerry frozen yogurt shop, at 1713 Wilson Blvd.

Rolls By U has put construction paper in the windows and simple signs on the door, with the business’ name, plus “where u create,” typed out on its logo.

The restaurant’s Twitter account has tweeted just twice, but its bio says “coming to Arlington this spring” and its second tweet includes the hashtag “#createyourown,” implying a do-it-yourself sushi concept.

When Rolls By U, does open, it figures to have some competition, with Kona Grill and Sushi coming in across the street and Cafe Asia and Kanpai serving sushi just a few blocks down Wilson Blvd.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 31, 2015 at 2:00 pm 1,466 0

Ori HofferCherrydale resident Ori Hoffer will fulfill every athlete’s dream this winter: representing his country in international competition.

Unlike many of the athletes sports fans typically associate with the honor — in their 20s, playing in the Olympics, already recognized worldwide for their prowess — Hoffer had to wait decades longer to don the red, white and blue. Hoffer is 45 years old and will play soccer in his first international tournament, the Maccabi Pan Am Games in Santiago, Chile.

Hoffer has played soccer since he was 3 years old, but didn’t even qualify for the varsity team at his high school in Michigan. At the time, he was 5-foot-7 and “120 pounds soaking wet.” But he continued to play, and “grew into [his] body.” As his peers gave up the sport, Hoffer only improved.

“My game is all about speed and endurance, but I’m generally faster than most, so wherever they need a burst of energy, I come in,” Hoffer told ARLnow.com. He sees himself as a slower, Jewish version of DeAndre Yedlin, the young speedster from the U.S. Men’s National Team.

Hoffer was named to the U.S. Maccabi Masters team, which is restricted to players 45 and over of Jewish heritage. Hoffer’s grandfather was a professional soccer player in Israel, and he’s keeping the sport in the family — he coaches his daughter’s second-grade team in the Arlington Soccer Association.

“For many Jews, we don’t have a lot of sports heroes to look up to,” Hoffer said. “Providing examples like this to be able to show my daughter and other kids in the community that you can be Jewish and an athlete and meet Jewish athletes from around the world is a pretty powerful thing to provide.”

The Maccabi Pan Am Games draw Jewish competitors from all over the Western Hemisphere, and the U.S. squad will have to compete against world soccer powers like Brazil and Argentina. But it is not the Olympics — athletes must help pay their own way. Hoffer and his teammates each have to raise $6,600 to be allowed to participate.

Hoffer has set up an online fundraising page, where he has raised $4,194 so far. If he raises the money, he’ll have a chance to compete with many of the players that led the 2013 U.S. Masters team to the bronze medal in the world wide Maccabiah Games in Israel.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 30, 2015 at 3:30 pm 5,680 0

(Updated at 7:00 p.m.) The Curious Grape, the wine bar and shop in Shirlington, closed Saturday night, but a new restaurant will be taking its place shortly.

Coming in to the location on 2900 S. Quincy Street will be Osteria da Nino Cucina Italiana & Bar, an Italian restaurant that plans to start its soft opening on Thursday, its owners told ARLnow.com today.

The restaurant is being launched by a pair of couples and helmed by Italian chef Nino Pino, who has worked at a number of restaurants in Northern Virginia, including Palio Ristorante in Leesburg. Crews will be working around the clock until Thursday night, when Osteria da Nino hopes to get in a few practice runs before a planned Easter brunch on Sunday.

The turnaround might catch some by surprise — many restaurant openings take more than a year in Arlington. Even more so because The Curious Grape had been a Village at Shirlington staple for more than a decade.

“As most people know, running a restaurant is really a 24/7 commitment,” Curious Grape owner Suzanne McGrath said in an email. “Actively managing the restaurant has also diverted my efforts away from wine education, which is really my career focus. We have so appreciated all the support of our loyal customers and the wonderful people who enjoyed The Curious Grape.”

Osteria is looking for waitstaff, bussers and kitchen staff to join the team immediately, and is asking those interested to apply in person.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 27, 2015 at 4:45 pm 2,225 0

Burn & Brew, a new shop that specializes in tobacco and coffee, is open on 23rd Street S. in Crystal City.

Owner Taha Humayun opened the doors to his new shop on March 18, just a few steps away from another smoke-themed store, Smokey Shope III. He said his shop sells the cheapest cigarettes in Arlington — $5 a pack — because of deals he’s supposedly worked out with a variety of cigarette and rolling paper companies.

In the five minutes an ARLnow.com reporter was in the shop, in the former expansion space of the Gossip boutique next door, a customer came in a bought a pack of Marlboro Lights. When Humayun told her the price, she said “wow, that’s crazy.” Most of the cigarettes sold in the county cost at least a dollar more per pack, we’re told.

Burn & Brew sells bags of coffee beans and drip coffee — “no lattes or shots of espresso or anything like that,” Humayun said — as well as vaporizers, vaporizer juice, “every rolling paper on the market” and all different kinds of pipes.

“A majority of the people who smoke drink coffee,” Humayun said. “And a lot of the people who drink coffee also smoke cigarettes.”

Humayun is still waiting for a number of products to come in. When he’s all stocked — he expects that to be complete by next week — he also will sell newspapers like the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today.

He wants to be a daily stop for the smoking and drinking crowd of south Arlington, many of whom, he said, are bartenders and waiters. The Crystal City location is his second shop — he’s operated the first store in Annandale for six years.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 26, 2015 at 4:10 pm 3,515 0

The Penrose Square location of a future StarbucksThe rumors are true: a Starbucks is planning on opening in Penrose Square along Columbia Pike.

The vacant space at the corner of the Pike and S. Barton Street — where Bar TNT and Society Fair closed last fall — will be home to the coffee chain, the building’s management told residents today.

“We’re spilling the beans and we want our residents to be the first to hear the new,” said an email to the residents, which was forwarded to ARLnow.com. “Coming summer 2015, Penrose Square welcomes its newest retailer: Starbucks Coffee. Live, Work & Caffeinate at home in your very own Starbucks.”

The location is facing Penrose Square’s public plaza, next to the Giant and a block away from Red Rocks pizzeria. This will be the first Starbucks on Columbia Pike in Arlington; the closest location is in Pentagon City.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 26, 2015 at 10:35 am 892 0

Arlington County government's offices at 2100 Clarendon BlvdRepresentatives from 16 different countries will visit Arlington to learn how the county assesses properties for tax purposes.

Arlington’s Dept. of Real Estate Assessments will be giving representatives from countries like China, India, Turkey and Greece “guidance on proper property tax management, including an overview of how Arlington County values land and property, and how these processes have generated revenue, while promoting fair and equitable property tax collection methods,” according to a press release from Thomson Reuters, which organized the meeting.

Thomson Reuters’ Tax & Accounting Division helps corporations and governments improve their bookkeeping and revenue-generating practices. Arlington boasts an enviable tax revenue split of 50 percent residential and 50 percent commercial tax revenue, and the assessor’s office is responsible for determining the value of each piece of property.

“Arlington County’s strong, successful tax management system has attracted the attention of government officials from emerging nations,” Brian Jaklitsch, a spokesman for Thomson Reuters, said in an email.

“Officials will get a first-person look at how a government in the US processes and records land rights, and how the information is then used to assign a land value and then to process and bill property tax,” according to a press release. “More than 70 percent of local government revenue in the US is generated from property tax, and generating similar revenue could be a major coup for countries that are impoverished and/or lacking proper recording channels.”

Photo via Google Maps

by Ethan Rothstein — March 25, 2015 at 11:05 am 5,790 0

MoNA logo(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) The Mothers of North Arlington group is reverting to Yahoo! after a maligned platform shift last year, but the splinter group formed in the wake of the original change isn’t going anywhere.

Yesterday, MONA Co-Presidents Morgan Chinoy and M.K. Yeargin sent an email to their membership group announcing that the group would resume using two Yahoo! Groups for communication after switching to a system called MemberFuse last October. The co-presidents said that, in a poll of 900 of the group’s roughly 2,000 members, a majority voted to go back to Yahoo!.

“In light of the challenges over the past year, we look forward to a revitalized member community on the Yahoo groups,” the co-presidents said in an email to members, which ARLnow.com was forwarded. “Over 900 people voted in the poll, and the sheer number of responses, regardless of preference, is a testament to how important the message boards are to the MONA community.”

In response to last fall’s platform change, a separate Yahoo! Group formed: North Arlington Parents, or NAPping. MONA members disheartened by what they felt was a lack of consideration for the membership’s wishes splintered off, forming a free group — MONA costs $40 a year — with fewer restrictions.

NAPping isn’t going anywhere, its leaders told the group’s 766 members yesterday.

“The MONA board has repeatedly shown indifference to its members’ opinions,” NAPping moderators said in an email. “Therefore, we don’t see any reason to abandon NAP in favor of something that could once again be taken away without regard to the members’ objections.”

On March 5, MONA leaders sent out the poll to its membership, saying “notification outages” had led many of its members to “feel disconnected from MONA as a result.” An anonymous tipster told ARLnow.com that the outages were just one source of frustration — the new platform “was very difficult to read and scroll through, you had to click on each message if you wanted to read it, taking a lot of time.”

The NAPping group said it pledged to “continue to be free” and “will continue to use Yahoo Groups for discussions as long as that service continues to be available.” The splinter group doesn’t organize playgroups, host speakers or socials like dues-based MONA does.

Chinoy and Yeargin have not responded to requests for comment. After the jump, you can read the emails MONA and NAPping sent to their memberships yesterday.

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