Firefighters spent part of the morning dealing with a small fire at Portofino restaurant (526 23rd Street S.) in Crystal City.
According to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani, firefighters found a dryer fire in the basement of the building. They were able to extinguish those flames quickly with a water can fire extinguisher, as well as some flames that had spread to the area behind the dryer. Crews remained on the scene for a while to ventilate the smoke that had seeped throughout the building.
There were some people cooking inside the building when the fire broke out, but nobody was hurt.
Although a fire marshal was still on scene conducting an investigation as of 10:30 a.m., the fire is not expected to affect Portofino’s business and it will be open as usual.
Photo via Google Maps
Workers could be seen removing the Bailey’s sign from the building today. The Crystal City location has also been removed from the sports bar’s website.
The Bailey’s in the Ballston Common Mall is still open and employees there did not have any information about any possible plans to close.
A tipster tells ARLnow.com that the space formerly occupied by Bailey’s in Crystal City is being considered for a possible music and comedy venue.
Hat tip to @hamblinj
Victim, Witnesses Testify During Krusinski Trial — The 23-year-old woman accusing the Air Force’s former sexual assault prevention chief of groping her in May testified about the incident yesterday during the first day of Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski’s assault and battery trial. The woman broke down in tears while describing how Krusinski allegedly grabbed her buttocks after he spent the night drinking in Crystal City. Witnesses reported the woman repeatedly punched Krusinski following the alleged groping. One of the witnesses who testified — a transgender woman who goes by Jordain — also reported being groped and propositioned by Krusinski that night. Jordain said Krusinski appeared to be a “happy drunk” and she brushed him off. The trial is expected to last three days. [Stars and Stripes, Military Times]
County Prepares for Winter — No snowflakes have fallen yet, but Arlington County has already launched preparations for the 2013-2014 winter season. The snow removal team includes 92 drivers and 46 trucks that are equipped with plows and salt spreaders. Residents will be able to track the progress of road clearing online, including the ability to check traffic cameras at certain intersections. Residents are asked to clear snow from sidewalks within 24 hours of a storm, per the county’s Snow Removal Ordinance. [Arlington County]
1K Wine and Beer Walk on Sunday — The Washington Wine Academy is hosting its semi-annual 1K Wine and Beer Walk in Crystal City on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 16-17). Start times will be staggered from 1:00-5:00 p.m. and participants get to sample 22 different types of wine or beer while strolling through the Shops at Crystal City. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online. [Washington Wine Academy]
SoberRide to Offer Free Halloween Cab Rides – The Washington Regional Alcohol Program is offering free taxi rides next Thursday on the night of Halloween. From 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., revelers can dial 1-800-200-TAXI, be picked up and taken to their destination free of charge, within a $30 fare. The service is offered in D.C. as well as the Maryland suburbs and other Northern Virginia municipalities. The service is being offered to prevent drunk driving, and WRAP says that 52 percent of traffic deaths on Halloween come from drunk drivers. [SoberRide]
Crystal City BID to Give Away Free Bike Lights — The Crystal City Business Improvement District will be giving away free bicycle lights this afternoon (Friday). The giveaway is taking place at the Crystal City exit of the Mount Vernon Trail from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. At the bike light giveaway last year, cyclists received front and tail “Bug Eye” lights. [Crystal City BID]
Road Closures for the Marine Corps Marathon — The Marine Corps Marathon is this Sunday, and many road around Arlington will be closed while runners participate. The closures will begin at 4:00 a.m. and many roads will not reopen until 4:30 p.m. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by ddimick. Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
The Texas-based bar/restaurant chain has started interior construction work that includes core drilling as they work to replace the old Memphis Barbecue restaurant at 320 23rd Street S. Bar Louie applied for a permit in the space this summer, but the company said at the time that it hadn’t made a final decision on a location.
Per an anonymous tipster, management at the Buchanan sent the following note to residents, notifying them of the construction activity.
Please be advised that the contractor working the old Memphis BBQ space has scheduled core drilling for tomorrow and Friday, October 24th and 25th, 2013. They intend to work during the day, starting around 8:00 a.m. each day.
Core drilling can be noisy; however, based on the restaurant being on the first floor, we do not anticipate that you will hear too much noise from this activity.
Thank you for your understanding as Bar Louie continues to construct their new restaurant at The Buchanan.
Representatives of Bar Louie could not be reached for comment on a potential opening date for the restaurant. Bar Louie’s website lists the Crystal City location as “coming soon” with a target date of “Winter 2014.”
Terminal A Revamp Underway at DCA — A $37 million renovation project at Reagan National Airport’s Terminal A is proceeding swiftly. The project isn’t adding a significant amount of extra space to the historic terminal, but it will make the existing space seem brighter and more open. Most of the work is expected to be complete by the holiday travel season. [Washington Post]
Pupatella Makes National Pizza Rankings — Bluemont’s Pupatella Neapolitan Pizzeria (5104 Wilson Blvd) serves one of the top 40 slices of pizza in the country, according to new rankings. Pupatella’s capricciosa pizza was ranked No. 36 on the list, as judged by the Daily Meal website. [Daily Mail]
Students Receive Scholarships at NAACP Banquet — Through a partnership with the Arlington NAACP, a new scholarship fund awarded $2,500/year college scholarships to four high-performing local students over the weekend. The scholarship fund allows the NAACP to “invest in our youth,” said the head of the Arlington branch of the organization. [Sun Gazette]
Beer and Wine Walks Return to Crystal City — Crystal City’s 1K wine and beer walks will return next month. The walks — which allow participants to sample various wines and beers while walking through Crystal City’s underground shopping center — will take place on Nov. 16 and 17. [Crystal City]
County Board Adopts Public Safety Radio Resolution — The Arlington County Board adopted a resolution yesterday (Tuesday) that calls on builders to install technology that allows better police and fire department communications in new buildings. Modern construction materials have made it difficult for first responders to receive radio signals in newer buildings. The Board’s non-binding resolution calls on builders to install in-building wireless systems to better transmit public radio signals. [Arlington County]
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
TechShop, a workshop that offers access to high-tech equipment like 3D printers and laser cutters, is expected to open in Crystal City early next year.
The Crystal City Business Improvement District announced Tuesday that TechShop would move into the Crystal City Shops at 2100 Crystal Drive in early 2014. Construction is expected to begin this fall.
TechShop, which describes itself as a “membership-based, do-it-yourself creative workshop and fabrication studio,” offers monthly and annual memberships to use its facilities, as well as classes for non-members to learn how to use the equipment. According to TechShop, each location includes more than $1 million of machines, tools and equipment.
In addition to 3D printers and laser cutters, TechShop also offers plastics and electronics labs, a machine shop, a wood shop, a metal working shop, a textiles department, welding stations and a waterjet cutter.
“The arrival of TechShop is a huge win for Arlington County and Crystal City – cementing the community’s role as the region’s center of creation and innovation,” Angela Fox, President and CEO of the Crystal City BID, said in a press release. “TechShop is a catalyst for activity, energy, and excitement offering an incredible amenity to area employees, residents, workers, and businesses.”
The Crystal City TechShop will partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to offer a free membership program to veterans. Currently, there are six TechShop locations across the country.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
Development Proposed to Replace Courthouse Wendy’s — Developer Carr Properties is planning to propose an office building to be built at 2038 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse, replacing the Wendy’s. The building will be similar to Carr’s planned office building at 2311 Wilson Blvd, which was approved by the Arlington County Board in December. [Washington Post]
Questions Remain As Staff Works on Urban Ag Report — County Board Chairman Walter Tejada is pressing county staff to move faster on a report on urban agriculture. The report is expected to recommend a course of action on the controversial issue of urban hen raising, an issue for which many questions remain. [Sun Gazette]
Free Tropical Plants Today – Ferns, palms, ficus trees and banana plants will be given away for free this afternoon at the Crystal City farmers market. Used to decorate outdoor areas of Crystal City during the summer, the plants would otherwise be composted in advance of winter. [Crystal City BID]
Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser. Photo courtesy @BrianWohlert.
Furloughed Workers Voting Absentee? — The pace of absentee voting in Arlington has nearly doubled since the federal government shutdown, perhaps the result of furloughed workers casting ballots in advance. The pace is now about 50 ballots a day, which is still far slower than the absentee voting pace during the last presidential election. [Sun Gazette]
County Celebrates Crystal Drive Project — Last week Arlington County celebrated the completion of its Crystal Drive two-way project and the installation of a HAWK (High-intensity Activated Crosswalk) traffic signal on Crystal Drive between 23rd & 26th Streets South. [Arlington County]
Paint-Splattered Play Requires Ponchos — Synetic Theater’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” which runs through Nov. 3 in Crystal City, features on-stage paint-slinging as a special effect. Though a plexiglas pen is set up between the actors and the audience, those in the first few rows are provided with Gallagher-esque ponchos on the off-chance that drops of paint make it past the plexiglass. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by J Sonder
Located next to McCormick and Schmick’s, the new location is “officially open” after holding a “soft opening” on Tuesday, according to owner Jim Barker.
“It’s in the heart of Crystal City, in the heart of the retail district,” Barker said. “We expect that it will be a very good location for us and for Crystal City.”
Barker said the interior will look similar to the first store at 401 12th Street S., but the building’s architecture will be different, and the store’s inventory will vary slightly.
Barker, who also owns the Washington Wine Academy, said the 1K beer and wine walks the organization has been organizing in recent years will now be more tightly tied-in to the physical stores.
The 20th Street location of Crystal City Wine Shop has an outside entrance — it’s not part of the indoor Crystal City Shops — and will open at 11:00 a.m., an hour earlier than when the 12th Street location opens. It will host tastings from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
Photos courtesy of Jim Barker
Those who live in and around Crystal City questioned the noise and safety impacts of the planned Crystal City streetcar at a public forum last night (Wednesday), but many in attendance seemed generally pleased with the county’s presentation.
County officials gave a presentation explaining the current vision for the streetcar now that the planning process is underway. The six-stop transit system will connect with the Columbia Pike streetcar in Pentagon City to the north, and will go as far south as Four Mile Run, running primarily along Crystal Drive.
One change to the design since the last community forum on the streetcar earlier this year is moving the southbound streetcar alignment directly adjacent to Jefferson Davis Highway, and off Clark and Bell Streets, as had been previously planned. The northbound and southbound tracks will both be on Crystal Drive from S. Glebe Road to 18th Street before diverging.
About two dozen residents were in attendance, most of whom asked questions of Senior Transportation Planner Matthew Huston, who gave the presentation. Huston said the impacts to environmental and cultural resources in the surrounding area were close to nonexistent, and said the noise generated is consistent with a busy urban, commercial area like Crystal City. Some attendees seemed unconvinced, however.
“My understanding of the Crystal City Sector Plan is a better balance between residence and commercial,” said one woman in the audience. “You’re putting a streetcar in an area that’s largely residential. I think you need to consider treating the residents not as office buildings.”
Many of Huston’s answers were simple acknowledgments that residents’ concerns would be addressed in the ongoing environmental study, which will continue until next spring.
“We consider residential buildings sensitive users,” Huston said. “We specifically look at the impact to sensitive users in the environmental study.”
Other residents questioned the alignment — one wondered why it the streetcar tracks don’t run further along Jefferson Davis Highway, which he said would make it more accessible to the residents of Aurora Highlands to the west and would reduce what he sees as a potential safety hazard at the intersection of Crystal Drive in 12th Street.
Still, opposition to the streetcar was relatively subdued, especially compared to some of the heated public dialogue over the Columbia Pike streetcars system.
“I’m pleased that they’re looking at all the right issues and asking the right questions,” said Crystal City resident Gerry Fuller after the forum. “There’s a lot of things they can’t do much about, like the width of the street… I’m in favor of any proposal to get people out of their cars. I think it’s the direction they have to go.”
Huston said “the assumption” is the Crystal City streetcar will connect with the Columbia Pike streetcar once both systems are complete, and that travelers will be able to ride from the Skyline section of Fairfax County to Four Mile Run with no transfer. Huston said the streetcar would be funded with a mix of state and local funds.
Free Burgers for Feds — Because the federal government shut down early this morning, Z-Burger is following through on its offer to serve free burgers for all federal and D.C. workers who have been furloughed. The local burger chain, which has a location at 3325 Wilson Blvd, near Clarendon, says customers must present a government ID to get the free burger.
Task Force Recommends More School Buses — An Arlington Public Schools task force has recommended that the school system’s bus service be expanded, at least for elementary school students. Elementary students should be supervised on their way to school, said the task force, which also said that buses are safer and produce less traffic than cars. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Startup Raises $100 Million — Arlington-based Evolent Health has raised a whopping $100 million in its latest funding round. The health management company expects to rapidly hire and develop technology in order to meet heavy demand from the hospital industry, spurred on by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. [Washington Business Journal]
Crystal City Showing Resilience — Despite heavy military job losses caused by the Base Closure and Realignment Act, Crystal City is starting to bounce back and find new tenants to fill vacant office space. Property owners are also using the tough times to upgrade or redevelop older buildings. The office vacancy rate in Crystal City stands at 24.2 percent, up from 9.8 percent in 2011. [Washington Post]
Vintage Plane Flies Over Arlington – The photo above was taken from a Ford Tri-Motor, the first mass-produced airliner in the world. Built in the 1920s, the plane has been carefully maintained and, on Saturday, flew over Arlington in a flight organized by the Experimental Aircraft Association. [EAA]
Photo courtesy Mary Dominiak/Experimental Aircraft Association
The Crystal City area has the highest concentration of divorced men in Arlington, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The data comes from the bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey. The number of divorced men in each individual census tract was posted in an interactive map on Patch this afternoon.
Among census tracts in Arlington, the following had the highest number of divorced male residents.
- 1. Crystal City — 297
- (tie) 2. Pentagon City — 281
- (tie) 2. Lyon Village area — 281
- 4. Shirlington/Fairlington — 243
- 5. Courthouse area (east of Courthouse road) — 223
This Saturday, Sept. 28, from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m., the Crystal City Business Improvement District will hold the Diamond Derby, a racing event in the parking garage at 2345 Crystal Drive.
There will be five races on the day, a kid’s race and a river ride that will bring cyclists from D.C. to the event, which are both free, and three competition races: the Open Challenge ($20), the Gran Prix ($20) and the team relay race ($70). All events require registration in advance. There will also be a place for the public to watch in the center of the action, an art gallery and lounge built right in the middle of the course.
The following Saturday, Oct. 5, is the day of the Arlington Fun Ride. At 8:00 a.m., riders will head out together to ride the 17-mile Arlington Loop, starting at 18th Street S. and Crystal Drive. Registration is $10 for individuals and $25 for families.
Cyclists can already use the recently-installed bicycle vending machine (pictured above), at the entrance to the Mount Vernon Trail in the Crystal City Water Park. Dubbed the “Fixtation,” the vending machine offers supplies that riders may need to repair their bikes in a pinch, in addition to a bike stand with basic tools and an air pump. The Fixtation’s ribbon-cutting ceremony will immediately precede the Arlington Fun Ride on Oct. 5.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser. Photo via Crystal City BID.
(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) Work on the Metrorail system this weekend will affect all of the lines that travel through Arlington, including shutting down the Reagan National Airport and Crystal City stations. Disruptions begin at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, September 13, and continue through closing on Sunday, September 15.
Blue line trains will operate at regular weekend intervals (every 12 minutes during daytime hours, and every 15-20 minutes at other times) in two segments: between Largo Town Center and Pentagon City, and between Franconia-Springfield and Braddock Road. Yellow Line trains will also operate at normal weekend intervals in two segments: between Mt. Vernon Sauare and Pentagon City, and between Huntington and Braddock Road.
Customers on the Blue and Yellow lines will need to take free shuttle buses between Pentagon City and Braddock Road while the two stations are closed. Express buses will operate non-stop between Braddock Road and Pentagon City. Customers should add up to 15 minutes of travel time. Local buses will operate between Braddock Road and Pentagon City, making intermediate stops at Reagan National Airport and Crystal City stations. Customers should add up to 20 minutes of travel time.
Riders should note that there are also alterations to the times for final trains. The last Yellow Line train from Huntington to Braddock Road will depart 22 minutes earlier than normal to allow for shuttle bus connections. It will depart at 2:12 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and at 11:12 p.m. on Sunday. The last Blue Line train from Franconia-Springfield to Braddock Road will also depart 22 minutes earlier, at 2:07 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and at 11:07 p.m. on Sunday.
WMATA says the closures are due to crews replacing junction boxes and performing various maintenance and rehabilitation tasks.
Due to work in the District, customers riding the Orange Line this weekend should expect trains to come at 20 minute intervals.
More information about all of the work on the Metrorail system this weekend can be found on WMATA’s website.