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Photos: Bill Cosby Helps to Open Ben’s Chili Bowl in Rosslyn

by ARLnow.com | March 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm | 7,896 views | No Comments

(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Comedian Bill Cosby joined Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette and other local notables in helping to open the new Ben’s Chili Bowl in Rosslyn this morning.

Cosby’s jokes and antics drew laughs from the large crowd of media and spectators that gathered to see the ribbon cutting for the iconic U Street eatery’s first stand-alone, brick-and-mortar expansion. Other attendees and speakers included the Ali family, which owns the restaurant; the ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago, late founder Ben Ali’s home country; WPGC DJ Shack Nd Pack; and Rosslyn BID President Mary-Claire Burick.

Cosby joked that as an aging Navy veteran, he was glad to have a Ben’s Chili Bowl near Arlington National Cemetery.

“The reason why this establishment has decided to open here is for me,” he said. “I’m 76-and-a-half years old. I’m going to have my 77th birthday in July… I spent four years in the Navy, which means I am eligible for a military funeral. Now, my can ghost make the trip here instead of flying over to U Street.”

“Over in that cemetery there is no cholesterol,” he continued. “There are no triglycerides. Eat as many as you like. Double down on the cheese and fries. A lot of people may not go to heaven, because this is heaven.”

Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette presented Cosby and Virginia Ali, Ben’s widow, with keys to Arlington. Cosby quipped that he would use it to get out of parking tickets.

“Whoa, who put me on stage after Bill Cosby?” Fisette said, to which Cosby shot back: “your mother did.”

“Thanks for choosing Arlington… for your second spot,” Fisette said. “As I’ve always said, chili for breakfast, chili for lunch, chili for dinner and a half smoke for dessert.”

Customers flooded into the the restaurant following the ribbon cutting, leaving a large crowd outside the doors, waiting to get in. Hundreds showed up to the Colonial Village Shopping Center parking lot to see Cosby speak and get some of the first tastes of chili, half smokes, hamburgers and milkshakes after standing outside in near-freezing temperatures.

The restaurant is located at 1725 Wilson Blvd, in the former Ray’s Hell Burger space. It’s owned and operated by three sons, Nizam, Kamal and Sage, and one daughter, Vida. The family said during the ribbon cutting that the restaurant plans to stay open until 4:30 a.m.

“The chili will sober you up,” Cosby said of Ben’s likely late night customers.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Renovated Clarendon Central Park

by Katie Pyzyk | November 20, 2013 at 4:30 pm | 1,385 views | No Comments

It’s been about a year and a half in the making, but today marked the ribbon cutting for the newly revamped Clarendon Central Park.

County Board members Mary Hynes and Jay Fisette joined county employees for the ceremony, including many from the Department of Environmental Services and the Department of Parks and Recreation directly involved in planning the renovations. Hynes was one of the speakers and thanked all the people involved, from planners to construction workers, for bringing the idea to fruition.

“It addresses so many different goals,” Hynes said. “That great collaboration has led to this amazing space, which will be well used by not only the people who live nearby, but all of the people who come and enjoy our restaurants and the other amenities that Clarendon offers. It’s going to, I think, be a great addition to this neighborhood for many, many years to come.”

Improvements to the park and Metro plaza include new bike shelters, landscaping, irrigation, tables and chairs, lighting and ADA-compliant pavers. The plaza was designed to have more open space for events, such as the farmers market, and for easier pedestrian access to the Metro.

In May of 2012, the County Board approved a contract for the first phase of the project, worth more than $760,000. Workers completed the first phase — the eastern portion ending near the Clarendon Metro elevator — last December, and an additional $197,000 was requested at that time to complete the rest of the park.

County officials believe the hard work and long process involved in this project are worth the end result: an improved “gateway to Clarendon” that thousands of people pass through each day.

“This has been a little bit of a long, torturous journey,” said Dennis Leach with the Department of Environmental Services. “But I think the result is pretty phenomenal.”

Potomac Yard Harris Teeter Now Open

by ARLnow.com | October 23, 2013 at 10:30 am | 1,528 views | No Comments

Ribbon cutting ceremony for the reopening of the Potomac Yard Harris Teeter store (photo courtesy Catherine Becker/Harris Teeter)The Potomac Yard Harris Teeter at 3600 S. Glebe Road has reopened.

The store had been closed since May 2012 after being flooded with raw sewage. It reopened this morning following an extensive clean-up process and a complete renovation.

Harris Teeter employees held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8:00 a.m.

The 44,000 square foot store will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It features a redesigned pharmacy, in addition to “all new flooring; new drywall and paint; updated equipment; wooden display cases; new fixtures; an expanded seating area; an expanded floral department; new prepared food stations including pizza, an Asian hot bar, and a made-to-order sandwich bar; and sustainable décor elements.”

Harris Teeter’s insurers are currently suing Arlington County for more than $1 million to recover losses caused by the sewage backup.

Photo courtesy Catherine Becker/Harris Teeter

Grand Reopening Planned for Potomac Yard Harris Teeter

by ARLnow.com | October 9, 2013 at 2:25 pm | 1,781 views | No Comments

'Now Hiring' sign outside the Harris Teeter store near Potomac YardThe Harris Teeter store near Potomac Yard, which has been closed since May 2012 after being flooded with raw sewage, will hold its grand reopening in two weeks.

The store, at 3600 S. Glebe Road, will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23. Events will also be held that weekend in honor of the reopening.

The store will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

From a Harris Teeter press release:

The 44,000 square foot store, part of The Eclipse luxury mixed-use development, underwent a complete renovation including: all new flooring; new drywall and paint; updated equipment; wooden display cases; new fixtures; an expanded seating area; an expanded floral department; new prepared food stations including pizza, an Asian hot bar, and a made-to-order sandwich bar; and sustainable décor elements. The Company also re-designed its pharmacy to feature an open floor plan that will allow our pharmacists to better serve their customers.

In each of its stores, including its location at Potomac Yard, Harris Teeter considered sustainable building design throughout its re-design process. The refrigerated cases will feature motion detection lighting; the company will also install doors with LED lights on the refrigerated cases as well as LED spotlighting throughout the store to reduce energy consumption. Harris Teeter originally installed both an energy management lighting system and a heat reclamation system in this store and will continue to utilize these technologies to reduce energy waste.

Harris Teeter’s insurers are currently suing Arlington County for more than $1 million to recover losses caused by the sewage backup.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | September 24, 2013 at 8:30 am | 1,827 views | No Comments

Bicycle commuter on the W&OD Trail (Flickr pool photo by ddimick)

Metro Keys Stolen from Arlington Fire Truck — Two men wearing masks and black clothing stole keys to secure areas of the Metro system from an unattended Arlington County fire truck last week. The theft happened during a medical call in Crystal City, and the thieves also stole a forcible entry tool called a Hydra Ram. [NBC Washington]

New Wakefield Aquatics Center Debuts — A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the new aquatics center at Wakefield High School on Sunday. The center is expected to draw a larger crowd than the aging, existing Wakefield aquatics facility it replaces. The cost of entry is up to $5.50 per day for Arlington residents. [Sun Gazette]

Ft. Myer Heights Playground Opening Imminent — A new playground in Ft. Myer Heights, with slides made to look like hollowed-out logs, is set to open as soon as Wednesday. The playground also features a sand pit and picnic benches. [Ode Street Tribune]

New Poll Shows McAuliffe With Lead in Gov. Race — Democrat Terry McAuliffe is leading Republican Ken Cuccinelli 47-39 among likely votes in the Virginia governor’s race, according to a new Washington Post poll. Cuccinelli had a 10 point lead in a poll conducted this spring. [Washington Post]

Lt. Gov. Debate in Arlington Tonight — The candidates for Virginia lieutenant governor — Republican E.W. Jackson and Democrat Ralph Northam — will face off in a live debate in Arlington tonight. The 90-minute debate will take place at 7:00 p.m. at George Mason University’s Founders Hall Auditorium in Virginia Square. [George Mason University]

Flickr pool photo by ddimick

Ribbon Cutting Scheduled for New Ballston Bocce Park

by ARLnow.com | September 3, 2013 at 9:30 am | 2,468 views | No Comments

A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for a new park in Ballston.

The park, at the corner of Glebe Road and N. Randolph Street, quietly opened to the public in July. Located adjacent to the Ballston public parking garage, the park features a pair of bocce courts, numerous benches and landscaped green space.

Construction on the tiny park started this past winter. A ribbon cutting is planned for Thursday, Sept. 19, according to Laura Lazour, Sports and Recreation chief of Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation .

Ribbon Cutting for Virginia Highlands Sprayground

by ARLnow.com | June 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm | 1,490 views | No Comments

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.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | June 19, 2013 at 8:50 am | 1,219 views | No Comments

Lifeguard by Ddimick

County Invests in Supportive Housing — Arlington County has matched a $500,000 grant from the Arlington Community Foundation to convert 10 units at the Marbella Apartments in Rosslyn to Permanent Supportive Housing. The apartments will be offered to the county’s most vulnerable homeless residents at a rate affordable to those making about $22,500 per year. [Arlington County]

Spring Athletic Achievements — Sportswriter Dave Facinoli recounts some of the most notable achievements of Arlington teams and athletes this spring. [Sun Gazette]

Advertising Firm Moves to Rosslyn — Local ad agency LM&O Advertising is moving to Rosslyn. The 94-person company signed a 10-year lease for the top floor of the new office building at 1776 Wilson Blvd, which will also soon be home to Pier 1 Imports and 100 Montaditos. LM&O plans to move from its current office in Courthouse in December.

Ribbon Cutting for New Apartment Complex — A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 9:30 this morning for the new Sedona and Slate apartment complex at 1510 Clarendon Blvd in Rosslyn at 9:30. According to developer JBG: “Sedona is 271 units, and is about 70 percent leased. Slate is 203 units and will begin leasing soon; delivery is expected in July.”

Flickr pool photo by Ddimick

Parks Dept. Holding Two Ribbon Cuttings This Weekend

by ARLnow.com | May 31, 2013 at 10:45 am | 621 views | No Comments

Renovated playground at High View Park (photo via Arlington County)Arlington County’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation will be holding two ribbon cutting ceremonies this weekend.

Tonight (Friday), starting at 6:00 p.m., an opening celebration will be held for the newly-renovated High View Park, located at 1945 N. Dinwiddie Street, within the boundaries of the John M. Langston Civic Association.

Renovations to the park include  new play areas, an ADA accessible route from Cameron Street, new benches, and a picnic area.

The event will include moon bounces “for all ages,” face painting, balloon art and refreshments. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 7:00 p.m.

On Saturday, Arlington County will celebrate the restoration of Carlin Hall (5711 4th Street S.). Dating back to 1892, Carlin Hall is currently used as a preschool, a community meeting facility and a recreation center. It recently underwent an extensive structural restoration.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for Carlin Hall at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday. The ceremony is part of the annual Glencarlyn Day festivities, which include a pancake breakfast, a parade, a fun fair and a home and garden tour.

Photo via Arlington County

Ribbon Cutting for New Rosslyn Office Building

by ARLnow.com | November 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm | 3,548 views | 26 Comments

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Friday afternoon for 1776 Wilson Boulevard, one of the county’s newest office buildings.

The $33.5 million office building includes four floors of office space, 30,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, and 231 garage parking spaces. With environmental features like a green vegetated roof, solar panels, electric vehicle chargers and water use reduction systems, developer Skanska USA is seeking LEED Platinum sustainability certification.

The building is located in Rosslyn at the intersection with N. Quinn Street. The project included the construction of a new section of N. Quinn Street to connect Wilson Blvd to Clarendon Blvd.

Attendees at Friday’s ribbon cutting included representatives from Skanska USA, County Board members Jay Fisette and Chris Zimmerman, Rosslyn BID Executive Director Cecilia Cassidy, and George Contis, the doctor who sold the property to Skanska in 2010.

The building still being leased out, but confirmed tenants include CRDF Global and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Skanska has also established its new regional headquarters in the building.

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