The Navy Annex, once an expansive Department of Defense office complex, has been reduced to a pile of rubble.
The military started tearing down the offices, first built in 1941, last fall. The demolition will make way for an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery and, eventually, a realignment of Columbia Pike.
(Arlington County is still in negotiations with the military regarding the exact land swap plan necessary to accomplish both objectives.)
Demolition of the last of the 7 wings of the Navy Annex started on June 19 and appears to be mostly complete. No structure on the site is still standing; rather, piles of rubble and lower portions of the building are awaiting additional demolition and will be hauled away over the next month, we’re told. Additional debris removal is taking place across Columbia Pike, at the Navy Annex’s former parking lot.
Grass and meadows are expected to be planted on the 42-acre site in September, according to Rep. Jim Moran’s office. Before and after photos from the demolition can be found above.
Construction on the Arlington Mill Community Center along Columbia Pike is expected to wrap up early next month, with recreational classes planned to start in early September and a planned ribbon-cutting on Sept. 28.
While it hasn’t opened yet, Arlington County has just given residents a taste of what they’ll get when the center opens its doors. The county posted a host of photos to Flickr Tuesday morning, previewing the new $36 million facility. It includes a basketball court, conference rooms, an outdoor plaza, a green roof, gathering places and more.
In addition to the recreational facilities, Pan American Bakery will be moving into the space in the fall with a full-service café on the ground floor.
Photos via Flickr
Around Arlington on Thursday, parades were held, hotdogs and burgers were grilled, and thousands flocked to the Iwo Jima memorial, the Air Force Memorial, Long Bridge Park and elsewhere to watch the fireworks.
The photos above, from our Flickr pool, captured some of the Independence Day joy experienced by friends and family, young and old.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) was one of two Virginia congressmen to participate in a recent photoshoot for the NOH8 Campaign.
The gay rights campaign is described as a “photographic silent protest.” It was organized by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in response to the 2008 passage of Proposition 8, which invalidated the recognition of same-sex marriage in California.
Moran was one of 67 members of Congress to participate in a photoshoot for the campaign, and one of only two in Virginia. (Rep. Gerry Connolly, the Fairfax County Democrat, was the second.)
In his photo, Moran, a former amateur boxer, makes a fist while wearing duct tape over his mouth. Moran said in a statement that he is proud to oppose “hateful laws” like Proposition 8.
I am proud to participate in the NOH8 project. Proposition 8 and other hateful laws like the far-reaching constitutional amendment that passed in Virginia in 2006 fly in the face of our nation’s commitment to equal treatment under the law. Discrimination has no place in the laws that govern our nation.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the new sprayground at Virginia Highlands park yesterday evening.
Surrounded by a group of children patiently awaiting the water to be switched back on, Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada thanked those involved in the park’s creation, and touted the water-saving features of the water park. The sprayground saves 82,000 gallons of water per month by employing a water recirculation system, he said.
After his speech, Tejada joined County Board member Chris Zimmerman and neighborhood representatives in cutting a ribbon hastily tied to the sprayground equipment. The ribbon survived earlier attempts by the children to use it as a makeshift backrest — an effort that was repeatedly foiled by a diligent county staffer.
The sprayground, adjacent to a picnic area in the southeast corner of the park, features water jets, showers, dumping buckets and rotating water cannons. It’s scheduled to be open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. through Labor Day.
Sunny and pleasant weather and a big-name headliner attracted the largest crowd yet to the Columbia Pike Blues Festival over the weekend, organizers said.
We’re told more than 7,000 people turned out for the 18th annual Blues Festival, which is held on S. Walter Reed Drive just north of the Pike. Guitarist G.E. Smith, of Saturday Night Live and Hall & Oates fame, headlined the event.
Takis Karantonis, Executive Director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, said he wasn’t surprised by the new attendance record. He expects the festival to continue to grow in crowds and quality as community ties continue to strengthen around the developing Columbia Pike town center area.
Asked about the ideal weather condition, Karantonis wouldn’t comment, for fear of jinxing next year’s festival.
“We don’t talk about the weather — before, during and after,” he said.
Disclosure: CPRO is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) Thousands flocked to Ballston Sunday afternoon for the 26th annual Taste of Arlington festival.
Lines to sample food at the more than 40 restaurant booths seemed generally shorter than in years past, perhaps helped by an effort to expand the footprint of the event in order to reduce congestion. Though cloudy weather and the closure of the Ballston Metro station might have played a role in keeping people away, Ballston Business Improvement District CEO Tina Leone tells ARLnow.com that about 20,000 people attended — which would be a record.
The most tightly-packed crowds could be found in the beer and wine garden, where the over-21 set sampled various brews, ciders and wines. Leone says the beer and wine area will likely be expanded next year as a result.
Three awards were handed out to participating restaurants. Rustico (4075 Wilson Blvd) won for best appetizer, Willow (4301 Fairfax Drive) won for best entree, and Mac’s Donuts, a food cart, won for best dessert.
Disclosure: Taste of Arlington organizer Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
A spring storm system dropped some 1-4 inches of snow on Arlington this morning.
Batman dropped by the Arlington YMCA (3422 13th Street N.) on Friday to warn kids about the danger of poison and toxic household items.
The Caped Crusader, also known as Maryland millionaire Lenny B. Robinson, arrived in style in his 1966 replica Batmobile. He was also spotted cruising the streets of Arlington and hanging out in Clarendon after the event.
The event was organized by the Alliance for Consumer Education, along with the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the YMCA and Robinson’s Superheroes for Kids organization. During the event, kids were encouraged “to be a superhero in their home by reading labels, asking permission before using an unknown product, and other poison prevention tips.”
Another superhero, Ace Clean, was also on hand to “teach kids about good health through cleanliness and proper hygiene practices.”
Photos courtesy Eddie Paylor Photography
Leadership Arlington, a local nonprofit that works “to develop trained leaders who are committed to building and strengthening our community,” held its annual Monte Carlo fundraiser at Reagan National Airport over the weekend.
The event drew some 450 people, the group said. Among those pictured above are Leadership Arlington graduates Megan Lake (of Bean Creative), Bobby Wright (of Virginia Heritage Bank), Mary Johnson (of ESI International), Lee Anne McLarty (of the Rosslyn Business Improvement District), Omar Sider (of SuperStar Tickets — and an avid poker player), and respective spouses.
Additional photos can be found on the Leadership Arlington Facebook page. From the group’s press release:
With more than 450 Washington metropolitan community stakeholders in attendance, Leadership Arlington’s eighth annual Monte Carlo Night exceeded expectations. The event was held Saturday, March 9, 2013 at Ronald Reagan National Airport, Historic Terminal “A.” Proceeds from this event support Leadership Arlington’s mission and Youth Program.
The theme of the evening was “Monte Carlo Night Goes to Paris.” Guests were transported to an elegant Parisian soirée without having to leave the DC area. Patrons were treated to an exciting array of activities from a silent auction benefiting the Leadership Arlington Youth Program to Monte Carlo casino-style gaming tables. Mark Ingrao, President of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, graduate of the inaugural Leadership Arlington Signature Program Class of 1999 and member of the Leadership Arlington Board of Regents, led guests through an exciting live auction as the evening neared its end.
“We were thrilled to receive such amazing support from the community for this year’s Monte Carlo Night,” said Betsy Frantz, President & CEO of Leadership Arlington. “This event is critical to the success of the Youth Program and mission of the organization. We appreciate the collaboration of leaders from the area validating our organization.”
Each year, the “who’s who” in the business, nonprofit and public sectors enjoy the opportunity to connect with other key leaders in our community in a fun and elegant environment at Monte Carlo Night, and this year was no exception.
Photos courtesy Leadership Arlington
Crowds lined Wilson Blvd last night to celebrate Fat Tuesday while taking in the annual Clarendon Mardi Gras parade.
Bands played, the D.C. Rollergirls skated through and kids scrambled for beads with as much enthusiasm as the adults. Representatives from local businesses and organizations also entertained the masses while riding or walking alongside the many colorful floats.
Photos by Jason Dixson Photography
The annual Crystal Couture fashion show will be wrapping up its five day run this weekend.
The show starts at 6:00 and closes at 10:00 each night, on the vacant top floor of an office building at 251 18th Street in Crystal City. The space, stripped bare of any of its former office accouterments, hosts a 360 degree runway that wraps around the entire floor. A procession of models walk the runway, wearing clothes, swimwear and jewelry from local boutiques and designers.
The runway is lined by boutiques, hair and makeup stations (free for patrons), a DJ booth and a cash bar.
Tonight (Friday) the show will be hosted by local media personalities Sarah Fraser and Kate Michael (“K Street Kate”). Tomorrow, on its last night, it will be hosted by Guy Lambert and Sunni (“Sunni and the City”) of WPGC-FM.
The photos above were taken Thursday night.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
The Washington Wizards, Mystics and Capitals hosted a holiday party for underprivileged D.C. area families at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston over the weekend.
The holiday party, held from 10:00 a.m. to noon on Sunday, is a tradition for team owner Monumental Sports & Entertainment.
“This year 21 families were adopted through Family-to-Family, an initiative created by the Wizards 16 years ago that provides holiday cheer to underserved, deserving families in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area,” Monumental said in a press release.
At the party, families were able to skate on the Capitals ice, play games, and meet Santa Claus, Wizards mascot G-Wiz, Wizard Girls, Capitals mascot Slapshot and the Red Rockers. The parents were also given gifts, to be opened in celebration of the holidays later this month. The presents were purchased during a $25,000 holiday shopping spree by Wizards and Capitals wives and girlfriends, funded by Monumental.
Photos courtesy Monumental Sports & Entertainment
Whether it was due to a loss of power or downed trees, thousands of Arlington residents have felt the effects of Superstorm Sandy. Marco Delmar and his family are definitely among them.
Delmar might initially be dubbed unlucky because a tree fell into his home. However, upon further inspection he and his family could actually fall into the “incredibly lucky” category, considering all four are still alive to tell the story.
Around 8:00 p.m. on Monday, the family had just finished dinner and left the dining room when a huge tree slammed into their house on the 2800 block of 2nd Road N. in Lyon Park. Delmar and his wife escaped unharmed, along with their children, ages 12 and 17. (A 21 year-old daughter was away at college at the time.)
From the inside, when the tree struck, the family heard a loud crashing sound and could see the plaster falling around them. But they didn’t realize how badly the house had been crushed until they left the house — via the basement, the only way out — and examined the damage from outside. Once they surveyed the mess, the family members felt even luckier to all walk away without a scratch.
“The house is just dirt put together, we’ll build another one,” Delmar said. “I was just thrilled that everyone was fine.”
Delmar said the house was built in the 1920s and he has lived there since 1966. He had a neighbor who worked at the Pentagon and looked up the home in historic records. The neighbor discovered that many of the trees surrounding the house were planted around the time of the Civil War, including the one that crashed into the house.
“You know, my parents owned this house so I bought it when they passed away,” Delmar said. “It was always one of their greatest fears, one of these huge trees would fall.”
Delmar, who is a record producer for Recording Arts, also has a studio in his home and has yet to examine how much of his work may have been affected by the damage. He plans to rent a small place for the family to stay while the house is rebuilt.
Although one of the most severe examples of tree damage from Sandy, Delmar’s case was not the only one in Arlington. Dozens of trees fell in neighborhoods including Bluemont, Waverly Hills, Ballston, Arlington Forest and Aurora Hills (see photos below), some bringing down power lines and utility poles. More reports continue to come in as residents assess damage in their yards and surrounding neighborhoods.
County workers are joining Dominion crews in inspecting hazards and attending to them as quickly as possible.
Photos below by ARLnow.com and various contributors. Contributed photos by photographers as noted.
(Updated at 2:20 p.m.) A car has plowed into the CVS Pharmacy at 5017 Columbia Pike for the second time in as many years.
The incident happened around 11:00. The car, a Mitsubishi sedan, hopped a curb smashed through a low wall and several large windows next to the entrance to the store, coming to rest on the sidewalk. Nobody was injured. Initial reports suggest the driver was trying to back out of the parking spot, but instead hit the gas while the car was in drive.
The fire department ordered the store temporarily closed as a safety precaution, pending a building inspection. A manager, who was assessing the damage, said the mid-day closure was costing the store “thousands” of dollars, not to mention the cost of repairing the damage.
In May 2011, a car hopped the curb and smashed into the store just feet from where today’s accident occurred. The scars from that accident are still visible in the repaired section of wall.
The manager said the store will likely look into planters or other ways to prevent additional accidents.