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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com June 9, 2011 at 8:15 am 2,071 20 Comments

Wakefield Groundbreaking Today — At 9:30 this morning Arlington Public Schools officials will hold a groundbreaking for the new, $116 million Wakefield High School. Construction on the school is expected to begin next month and wrap up by fall 2013.

Planetarium Group Nears Fundraising Goal — The Friends of Arlington’s Planetarium group has raised more than $350,000 to renovate the aging David M. Brown Planetarium, which supporters helped to save from being mothballed by the school system. The Friends were given the goal of raising $402,800 by June 30, but observers expect that the current haul — plus the haul from one final fundraiser — will be “close enough.” [Sun Gazette]

Crystal City Profiled — “Once considered an area to work but not play, Crystal City has blossomed into a hub of activity for residents and tourists. With roughly 11,000 residents, 5,600 hotel rooms and a number of tallish buildings, the community often has the feel of a bustling city,” says the D.C. Examiner. The paper’s profile of Crystal City credits part of its new-found bustle on the neighborhood’s burgeoning restaurant and bar scene. [Washington Examiner]

  • Vinh An Nguyen

    The Crystal City Shops, an expansive maze of underground stores and restaurants, opened in the mid-1970s and continues to thrive

    Thriving? What a joke. Hardly a week goes by without another business closing in the Underground. There are probably more empty store fronts than there are active ones.

  • othersideoftheriver
  • Clay Gottschall

    If only the Crystal City Sports Pub had stayed a hardware store. That’s what we need in the neighborhood not watery beer and greasy food.

  • CrystalMikey

    Bar scene? Really?

    • Larchmont

      CCSP – downstairs bar, upstairs bar?

  • Southeast Ben

    Crystal City is a ghost town M-F after close of business and especially on Saturday and Sunday. Decent food selections. Can’t imagine people shop at the non-food stores in CC.

    • South Arlington

      I thought this too, but was in Crystal City on Tuesday to pick up Chick-Fil-A on a lark and was surprised to see the streets full of pedestrians, all of the Crystal Dr. outdoor dining tables occupied, and what looked to be a pretty busy farmers market. I’m glad things are looking up for Crystal City.

    • We’ve seen the new Buffalo Wild Wings absolutely packed on a Friday night. That was a couple of months ago, though, not sure if they’re still doing such good business.

  • Larchmont

    Haven’t spent much time in CC over the past several years (the Snuggery!) but do see that they are doing more to get people above ground. Funny the “underground” gets one line – even funnier is that they say it’s thriving. “sipping a cold Miller Lite”? I’d rather Man Up in the heat and drink a real beer at the Westover Beer Garden.

    Long live the Planetarium!

    Hope my toddlers don’t get rezoned to Wakefield in 10 years. Or do I?

    • old CC

      Never speak of The Snug.

  • Pedro

    Phrases I have never heard: “Hey guys, lets go hit the bars in Crystal City tonight! We can grab dinner at one of the trendy restaurants before hand!”

    • The Dope of South Arlington

      How about “Guys, let’s go to the tittie bar in Crystal City”?

  • LyonSteve

    It’s a shame Crystal City still lacks a grocery store, years after the Safeway closed.

  • Bluemontsince1961

    I noticed the last time that I worked in Crystal City (2009-2010) the same thing I noticed when I first worked there (1986-87) – the restaurants and shops do pretty good business during M-F when all the offices are open. There is a lot of turnover for smaller shops, though a couple of shops from 1986-87 were still there in 2009-2010 (one being Kelley’s Mens Wear). The old Safeway that used to be there was always packed at lunchtime (but that was in the early 90s). I wonder how many Crystal City residents and tourists staying at the hotels use the stores and restaurants.

    • Hattie McDaniel

      Kelley’s closed last month.

  • Southeast Ben

    UPDATE: Kelly’s Menswear closed about two months ago. There is a Harris Teeter toward Potomac Yard which is close to CC. BW3s does post a good crowd, though it’s loud and usually poor service. Bailey’s smoking section is before the non-smoking section and they don’t have much for non-smokers in terms of tvs so it is terrible. It’s ashame because they have one of the better happy hours $2 tuesday beers.

  • SamsontheCat

    Crystal Drive always seems to have business and most of the places on 23rd street M-S are usually pretty full. The only day I find CSP or Tourtise & Hare abandoned are Sunday nights. People don’t drive in, but they seem to be doing okay.

    They forgot to add that in case of a zombie apocolypse the Underground makes for a great place to either hide out if you are a zombie unable to stand sunlight or to run through with an automatic rifle shooting zombies unable to stand sunlight.

    • Justin Russo

      The underground is great on days like today (or when it rains or is below freezing). It’s just that there isn’t really anything there. It’s worse than Ballston Common.

  • MC

    There are some interesting pockets in Crystal City if you bother to look. I can recommend SOCCi, a very hiply-outfitted Italian restaurant in a new hotel in the south end. http://www.welovedc.com/2011/03/28/first-look-socci/

  • Michael H.

    I’m glad that Crystal City isn’t a carbon copy of Clarendon. Having drunk 20-somethings from all over the DC region coming into the neighborhood isn’t really what I think of as an ideal place to live. There are many more above-ground restaurants and bars than there used to be 10 years ago. It’s “vibrant” without being obnoxious. Many people actually prefer that their neighborhoods be a little calmer than places like Georgetown, Adams Morgan or Clarendon.

    But I agree about the grocery store situation. The Potomac Yards Harris Teeter is a good walk. Even on Capital Bikeshare, it’s not as convenient as having a large grocery store in the center of CC. There is one smaller grocery store next to the Rite-Aid but it’s kind of pricey, and it’s more like a large convenience store than a grocery store.

    The Crystal City Shops (as they are called now) may not be the most lively area. But those walkways come in handy during the winter months.

    There are also quite a lot of running and cycling events throughout the year, including the 5K Fridays series, the Crystal City Twilighter 5K, the Arlington 9/11 Memorial 5K and the Marine Corps Marathon. A couple more races in nearby Pentagon City too (Army Ten-Miler, Love the Run You’re With 5K). Then there’s the Air Force Cycling Classic events (in Clarendon and Crystal City). For casual riders, there are many non-competitive group rides that start from the City Hub bike shop and rental store.

    The farmers market and the outdoor movies are also nice additions. The quality of life is pretty decent. And it’s very close to downtown D.C. by Metro, car, taxi or bike. Nice to have a major airport nearby as well.

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