Monday, May 10
County Board Democratic Candidate Debate on the Arts in Arlington
Via Zoom (with registration details on Facebook)
Time: 7-8 p.m.
Come hear from the two Democratic County Board candidates — Takis Karantonis and Chanda Choun — for a discussion about the arts in Arlington. Registration is required; RSVP to [email protected]
Thursday, May 13
Leadership Arlington & Ignite Young Professionals Info Session
Time: Noon-1 p.m.
The Leadership Center is hosting a free information session to discuss programs designed to help build leadership skills and get involved in the community. The session will feature class goals, curriculum, and application information.
The Yorktown High School theater’s one-person-shows are back, with students showing recorded or live-streamed 15-30 minute shows about historical figures or fictional characters. Shows start Thursday night, and will also be held Friday, May 14, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 15, at 5 p.m.
Sunday, May 16
Yoga and Calligraphy for Parent Child (10-18+ years)
Art House 7 (5537 Lee Highway)
Time: 10 a.m.-Noon
Art House 7 is featuring a fusion of calligraphy and yoga in a joint session with no experience in either required. Participants are required to bring their own yoga mat and water, but art supplies will be provided. The session is $80.
Spring Celebration and Plant Sale
Glencarlyn Library Garden (300 S. Kensington Street)
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
This annual sale will feature native plants along with herbs, vegetables, planting beds and more. Proceeds from the event benefit the Glencarlyn Library Demonstration Garden.
Our Arlington Agenda post is back for the first time since the pandemic started.
As a reminder: Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like your event considered, fill out the event submission form to submit it to our event calendar.
Monday, May 3
Patterns at Gallery Underground
Shops at Crystal City, 2100 Crystal Drive
Gallery Underground in May presents in the Focus Gallery, Patterns: an all-member show of works highlighting pattern and texture. Media used in the display include oil, acrylic, pastel, water media, sculpture, glass, ceramics, wood and metalwork.
Tuesday, May 4
Protecting What You Build: Intellectual Property as the Entrepreneur’s Core Asset
Virtually via Zoom
Time: Noon-2 p.m.
This free session hosted by the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP) at GMU Law School will guide attendees through types of intellectual property and how experienced entrepreneurs rely on them to implement their visions.
Wednesday, May 5
This webinar will review all Virginia laws going into effect on July 1, 2021, ensuring landlords understand new laws and know they are operating within the law — particularly regarding the legalization of marijuana.
Thursday, May 6
Drop in our monthly 30-minute book buzz with local librarians, with library staff and the public swapping book recommendations.
Friday, May 7
Second Anniversary Fundraising Event
Troy’s Italian Kitchen (2710 Washington Blvd)
Time: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Troy’s Italian Kitchen is celebrating its two-year anniversary with a fundraiser to give back to the community. A portion of proceeds on Friday will go to the Arlington Food Assistance Center and the Lyon Park Community Center.
5K Fridays: The Great Inflatable Race
Courtyard Green (2121 Crystal Drive)
Time: 6-7 p.m.
Pacers and the National Landing BID’s annual 5K series returns this Friday with a wacky summer inflatable attire theme. Registration is limited to 250 participants, so make prospective runners should sign-up in advance.
*Denotes featured (sponsored) event.
Ballston Quarter’s Zofia’s Kitchen (4238 Wilson Blvd) is cooking up a limited edition batch of Star Wars-themed snacks, and missing out would be a Wookie mistake.
The restaurant is operating with limited staff but said in a press release that they decided to go all in on “May the Fourth” — a sort of quasi-holiday for Star Wars fans on May 4 rooted in a “May the Force be with you” pun.
“Zofia’s has decided to embrace its inner culinary nerd by going all-out for the International Geek Holiday that is May the Fourth by offering limited edition pierogi made a long time ago in a galaxy far far away,” the restaurant said. “Available 8 to an order, Steamed, sauteed, fried or frozen in carbonite by request.”
A half dozen special menu items are listed for the week.
- The Obi-Won Pierogi: Tatooine Tagine. Braised Chicken, Raisin, Almond, Tunisian Harissa and Couscous — $11.99
- The Baby Yoda Pierogi: Peas, Mint, Midichlorians, Lemon and Ricotta — $11.99
- The Vader Pierogi: Chorizo and Provolone. Note that the white cheese inside represents the good that must be in him still! The Vader pierogi comes with a mandatory force choking hazard warning of course.(please take your time groaning at this joke) — $12.99
- The C-Threepierogi: Blanched multicolor vegetable pasta / standard Android wiring — $11.99
- The Tauntaun Wonton: And you thought they smelled bad on the outside! Red-wine pear and stinky Gorgonzola — $12.99
- Blue Milk Cocktail: In a pouch for Jedi on-the-go! — Price TBD
“This deal is available for a limited time,” the restaurant said. “We’ve altered the deal by offering it May 3-7. Pray that we don’t alter it further.”
The restaurant is open for dine-in, pick-up or delivery from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. If you’re trying to find it in Ballston Quarter: this is the way.
Photo via Zofia’s Kitchen/Facebook
(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) In the latest episode of PBS’ Finding Your Roots, historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. helped guide six-time Tony-winner Audra McDonald on a tour of her family lineage — a journey that led her to a golf club in Arlington.
McDonald’s trip through her family tree started with her maternal grandfather, whom she credited as a major influencing force on her life. Her grandfather, Thomas Hardy Jones, was described by McDonald as “born into the depths of the Jim Crow era” but managing to build a respected career as an educator in historically Black institutions.
Her awareness of her mother’s paternal lineage ended there, but Gates took McDonald further to meet her great-grandfather: Clarence Jones.
“After stints as a miner and chauffeur, Clarence supported his family and paid for his son’s education by working in a locker room in a segregated golf club in Arlington, Virginia, where it seems he somehow managed to thrive,” Gates said.
Clarence Jones worked at Washington Golf & Country Club, the first golf club in Virginia and a prestigious regional institution that counted presidents Wilson, Taft and Harding as active members.
The club was segregated, however, and Clarence Jones worked at the club but could never play there. Only starting in the mid-1970s were Black and Jewish applicants granted membership, according to a book by former Northern Virginia Sun publisher Herman Obermayer.
Even so, Gates’ team found a newspaper article from the time that profiled Jones, in which he was described as indispensable and well-loved by the golfing community.
“[He is a] shoe shiner, story teller, match-maker, gambler and good friend all rolled into one,” Gates read from the newspaper. “Wherever you go around the nation’s capital, golfers ask about Clarence.”
McDonald said many of those traits described in Clarence Jones were passed down to his son, her grandfather.
Records showed that Clarence Jones’ parents were both born in D.C. shortly after the Civil War, but the paper trail ended there as their parents were likely enslaved.
McDonald said that learning about her great-grandfather was bittersweet knowing that he was held back by the racist institutions of his era.
“There’s a part of me that’s amazed and proud of my great-grandfather,” McDonald said, “but a part that hurts for him too.”
The race for the 45th District House of Delegates seat is a weird one.
Delegate Mark Levine announced in December that he would be running for Lieutenant Governor. A month later, Alexandria Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker announced that she would be running for Levine’s delegate seat. The wrinkle in all of this, however, is that Levine is also running for reelection in the 45th district as a precaution in case he doesn’t win the fairly crowded Lieutenant Governor primary.
He’s not alone in this — running for two seats is legal in Virginia — but it leaves the 45th district in an awkward Schrödinger’s cat-type race where Bennett-Parker is simultaneously running and not running against Levine.
“It’s a weird situation,” Levine admitted. “I never expected this to happen. [But] it’s legal under Virginia law. I think I’ve been a good delegate and the people should re-elect me. If I win both, I’ll resign from the 45th district and there will be a special election.”
(The 45th District itself is a bit odd, encompassing some of the residential neighborhoods around Pentagon City to the north; Shirlington and Fairlington to the west; Del Ray, Potomac Yard and Old Town Alexandria in the center; and a narrow corner of Fairfax County to the south.)
Levine, a former radio talk show host, was elected in 2015 and campaigned for stricter gun control regulations and expanding healthcare access, among other progressive goals. Levine, like many Democrats in the state legislature, has found it easier to make good on those campaign promises after Democrats took the majority in 2019.
“This year, the predominant gun regulations have been my bills and in all state-owned buildings and offices and polling places,” Levine said. “Introduced 47 bills and passed half of them… and it wasn’t my bill on marijuana legalization that passed, but I led the way.”
Bennett-Parker, co-director of the nonprofit Together We Bake, was elected to the Alexandria City Council in 2019 and said her experience working in local government would bring a unique perspective to the state legislature.
“First, having served as Vice Mayor, I understand the nuance of the role that local government plays in people’s lives and how the state is often an impediment to localities in serving their residents,” Bennett-Parker said. “Currently there are only 18 Delegates out of 100 who have served in city or county government and none of them are from Northern Virginia. Obviously, we face different issues than other parts of the Commonwealth. I hear from constituents all the time who want the City Council to do things that we can’t do because we don’t have the authority.”
Bennett-Parker also noted that she would be the minority in a government body that is still 70% male.
“Women have for too long been held back by governmental policies and programs designed by men,” Bennett-Parker said.
Bennett-Parker’s nonprofit, Together We Bake, is an Alexandria-based workforce training program that helps women exiting the criminal justice system, experiencing homelessness, recovering from abuse or addiction, or facing unemployment.
Bennett-Parker has been reluctant to criticize Levine openly, saying instead that she aims to focus on campaign goals.
“When I decided to run, this race looked like it would be an open seat, as Delegate Levine had announced he was running for Lieutenant Governor,” Bennett-Parker said. “I am focused solely on this district and serving its residents. I have delivered results for the 45th district as Vice Mayor and on regional bodies, and I will keep doing so in Richmond.”
(Levine’s campaign says he announced he was running for re-election at the same time as his lieutenant governor announcement.)
Levine, in contrast, has no qualms about saying that he doesn’t think Bennett-Parker is the right candidate to replace him as the 45th District delegate.
“No, I don’t think so,” Levine said when asked if he thought Bennett-Parker would make a good replacement.
Levine said that part of his role as delegate has been taking an active role in community meetings and discussions, something he says he hasn’t seen from Bennett-Parker.
“I absolutely have not neglected my community,” Levine said. “We had a shooting in Old Town on Monday night. I was at a community meeting with Police Chief Michael Brown. [Bennett-Parker] wasn’t there. It was a room full of concerned constituents and she wasn’t there… I was out at a COVID memorial. I was there. [Mayor Justin] Wilson was there. [City Council member Mo] Seifeldein and [City Council member Canek] Aguirre were there. You know who wasn’t there? Elizabeth Bennet-Parker. I’m more active in the community every day and I don’t see her.”
Some of Levine’s peers have disagreed with his assessment, however, with Bennett-Parker winning endorsements from state Senator Adam Ebbin and former delegates Marian Van Landingham and Rob Krupicka, among others. She was most recently endorsed by Arlington County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti, according to an announcement this morning.
While much of Levine’s campaign finance has been focused on the statewide race, in the 45th District Bennett-Parker has raised twice as much as Levine’s campaign for delegate.
According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Bennett-Parker has raised $106,434 to Levine’s $45,573 — though Levine has raised $705,284 in the lieutenant governor race. Bennett-Parker’s top donors include attorney and Democratic financier Sonjia Smith, Levine’s 2015 opponent Julie Jakopic, and Alexandria School Board member Veronica Nolan.
For both Levine and Bennett-Parker, expanding healthcare and combatting the effects of climate change are two of the major priorities ahead for the state legislature.
“In terms of fights ahead: healthcare is the big one,” Levine said. “We need affordable healthcare. I think healthcare needs to be more transparent and we need to make sure people aren’t being bankrupted by healthcare costs.”
Bennett-Parker said the state should take the momentum from expanding Medicaid and keep moving forward.
“Expanding access to affordable health care,” Bennett-Parker said, when asked about her top priorities. “Expanding Medicaid was an important step in the right direction, but we need to do more to make healthcare, including mental healthcare, more accessible and affordable for all Virginians. We also need to find a way to lower prescription drug prices, especially for seniors.”
A new bazaar is planning to bring everything from vintage clothing to artisanal food to a National Landing Market starting next month.
The new market is scheduled to launch Saturday, May 15 with a selection of artist vendors. The market will be held at Plaza at 220, a surface parking lot at 220 20th Street S. in Crystal City, and will be open every Saturday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
“DCBB Productions, the group that brought the ‘Below Zero’ market to Dupont Underground in 2020, has come above ground to collaborate with JBG SMITH and the National Landing Business Improvement District (BID) to announce a new market in National Landing, scheduled to open on May 15,” DCBB Productions said in a press release. “National Landing Market [is] a new weekly international arts market [that] will feature extraordinary vendors selling furniture, vintage clothing, collectibles, antiques, a curated selection of jewelry, arts and crafts, delicious fresh food and artisanal food.”
A few of the vendors currently signed up are below.
- Thirakul Designs: Vintage-inspired dresses and separates that pay homage to the styles of the early 1960s. Designed by Nina Thirakul, NOVA native who spent many years working for Chanel before starting her own line. Many of the pieces come in a matching-companion size for dogs.
- Scuttlebutt BakeShop: A small batch, women owned, home-based bakeshop. All of the cookies have a nautical theme — CHIPwreck, The Anne Bonny, Shark Bait
- Vincenzo’s Vintage: Enzo Dagnesese has an eye for treasures. Whether it be vases that are shaped like a mermaid’s tail, to vintage typewriters to original WW1 Red Cross posters from 1917, he’s got it all.
- Ananya Murthy: A GW student who started painting after pandemic canceled her internship last summer. She soon realized she wanted to share her art with people. She’s been running a small business on the side while in school selling paintings and custom painted clothes.
The market will have some COVID-19 precautions. All vendors must be 10 feet from each other, wear a mask, and have touchless payment options. Additionally all vendors, customers and staff will have to receive a temperature check before entering.
(Today the CDC recommended that everyone continue wearing masks in crowded outdoor settings, but said that those who have been fully vaccinated can safely stop wearing masks at small gatherings and while participating in certain types of outdoor exercise.)
Image courtesy DCBB Productions
Big things are afoot at The Crossing Clarendon (2800 Clarendon Blvd) — a stretch of interconnected stores, restaurants, offices and residential space formerly known as Market Common Clarendon — as the center starts to brush off the dust from the past year.
As an overview: The Crossing refers to a multi-block stretch of mixed-use development that includes the Whole Foods, the Cheesecake Factory and the Apple Store. With some recent rebranding, the collection of retail on the opposite side of Clarendon Blvd from the Whole Foods is now known as The Loop.
Also new is the recently expanded and upgraded office space in the center of the development, now dubbed The Loft Office at The Crossing Clarendon. Construction on the project wrapped up last year, bringing with it a floral public art installation.
Jason Yanushonis, manager of investments for The Crossing owner Regency Centers, said retail leasing interest for the shopping center is picking up again as the end of the pandemic seems hopefully in sight.
“The interest has been solid and picking up exponentially,” said Yanushonis. “Tenants are starting to seriously consider the next few years of their operation and what that’s going to look like.”
“We took the roof off and created a two-level space,” Yanushonis said. “We don’t have anything we’re ready to announce yet, but interest for that office and retail space has been going up.”
“As people are starting to have more visibility for when things open up, they’re getting more comfortable with signing deals,” he continued. “Recently, the retail has really picked up, because there’s more visibility for openings. We’ve been happy with the level of activity for both, but the retail is making us specifically excited.”
For The Loop, Regency Centers is aiming to turn the area near the Barnes and Noble into a pedestrian-friendly walking plaza, closing a portion of the existing loop road, Washington Business Journal reported.
“We’re planning to go in front of the [County] Board this summer and start construction in early 2022,” Yanushonis said.
Map via Regency Centers
A new mixed-use building at 2400 Columbia Pike, featuring 120 residential units and ground-floor retail space, will be replacing the current, low-slung 1950s buildings, one of which holds independent cafe Rappahannock Coffee. The County Board approved a modification to the development plan, including adding 15 residential units to the originally-proposed 105, at its meeting last weekend.
Part of the approved proposal included maintaining the current building facades on the ground floor to maintain part of the character of Columbia Pike.
“The façade preservation treatment for the two historic buildings will retain Columbia Pike’s unique setting and scale,” a county staff report said, “while allowing for a more cohesive development to occur, providing for a defined street wall and better efficiencies around underground parking, floor plates, and common areas.”
According to a County press release, the current businesses — Rappahannock Coffee and Cabinets ERA — will be able to stay in place in the new building.
“The proposed development will not only preserve the existing building facades but will also retain space for current retailers and offer transportation improvements contributing to a cohesive and user-friendly network,” the County said.
We tried to reach both businesses to ask about their plans. A person who answered the phone at Rappahannock Coffee hung up on an ARLnow reporter, and a Cabinets ERA employee said the manager did not want to discuss it.
The new development will also come with some improvements to the streetscape and the sidewalk. Six feet of the sidewalk will be designated for pedestrian space, while another six feet could be used for benches, trees, and other amenities.
Provisions are also included for a future transit station on the eastern part of the project. Despite hopes for transit ridership on the Pike, the proposal includes 140 parking spaces in a below-grade garage and 36 spaces in a newly-approved surface parking lot behind the building.
The County Board unanimously approved the project at its meeting on Saturday.
In a rear wing of the Febrey-Lothrop Estate in Dominion Hills, there was an ornate wooden compass floor inlay built into what had been a library.
Like the windows, decorative ornaments and columns, it had been part of the original 1859 home that had seen Civil War soldiers, servants and national celebrities come and go over the years.
All these architectural embellishments were destroyed, and according to the Arlington County Board, any historical merit that could have justified a proposed local historic district overlay went with it.
The County Board voted unanimously at a meeting this past Saturday to reject the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB) recommendation to give the area at 6407 Wilson Blvd with a historic designation.
During the meeting, Cynthia Liccese-Torres, the coordinator for Arlington County’s historic preservation program, ran through what photos and information the county could obtain before bulldozers took the main house and the estate’s other buildings down.
Liccese-Torres said many of the interior sections of the house were in fair condition and many of the architectural details could have been salvaged both in the section of the house that dates back to 1859, an outbuilding from 1898, and a bungalow on the property from 1910.
But they weren’t saved, and Liccese-Torres said with the buildings now torn down, there was little left to convey the historic significance of the property.
Over the last few months it was clear that saving the property was a long shot, with the county’s bureaucratic process for preservation far outpaced by the by-right demolition permitting the homeowner was entitled to. For Tom Dickinson, a local activist who helped lead efforts to preserve the house, the whole process was a failure of county leadership.
“This did not have to happen, but the County Board, county manager and county staff allowed it to happen without the slightest effort at intervention,” Dickinson said. “Our reasonable expectations for total preservation just weeks ago has been utterly destroyed and permanently denied.” Read More
The Freshman is the creation of Nick Freshman, owner of Spider Kelly’s in Clarendon. The restaurant, which offers an all-day breakfast menu as well as lunch and dinner options, advertises itself as one of the first to come into the area in the wake of the Amazon HQ2 announcement.
The Freshman — located in a 3,400 square foot space at 2011 Crystal Drive — is scheduled to open this Wednesday, April 21, after a soft opening last week for friends and family.
“We are really excited to open our doors and begin serving the neighborhood,” said Freshman. “We’ve created an all-day space so we can offer something thoughtful and housemade throughout their day, from a pastry and a great cup of coffee before work to a handcrafted cocktail with dinner.”
The website says the new restaurant will feature coffee and cocktails, along with a selection of beer and wine, in addition to a “locally-sourced and seasonally-driven menu.”
“The menu includes a range of small plates, tartines, flatbreads and salads, and, of course, breakfast (which is offered from open to close),” says a press release.
“Favorites include the Virginia Ham + Dried Fig + Goat Cheese tartine, the Grilled Broccoli + Brussels Caesar, and the Grilled Octopus Escabeche, which includes an apple-fennel pico de gallo, Chicken Fried Oysters and Spring Pea Hummus,” the release continues. “The Freshman‘s breakfast menu includes a vegan Tofu Scramble + ‘Cheese’ sandwich and a range of pastries, including Vanilla Cardamom Bread and a Bacon, Cheddar and Jalapeno Scone.”
The restaurant will be open from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and from 8 a.m.-11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The Freshman will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
The press release said the restaurant will offer dine-in service with masks required, as well as patio service and takeout. There is season for 120 inside and 50 on the patio.
Freshman had originally planned to open the restaurant early last year, but the pandemic disrupted those plans. Instead, relief program Hook Hall Helps used The Freshman’s empty space as a hub for distributing care kits and family meals to hospitality workers and families in need. The press release noted that the program has since moved into the former Cosi space next door and will remain open.
Feeling a little stir-crazy for the movie experience but not quite ready to return to theaters yet? The National Landing BID is bringing back an outdoor film festival next month.
The BID will show a new movie every Friday at 8 p.m. on a softball field at Virginia Highlands Park (1600 S. Hayes Street) in the Pentagon City area.
“Social distancing circles” will be sprayed onto the field with a four-person limit per circle. Masks will be required outside of those circles.
Tickets are free but registration in advance is required.
The “Movies in the Park” lineup for May is:
- May 7: Moana
- May 14: The Secret Garden
- May 21: Mary Poppins Returns
- May 28: Bill & Ted Face the Music
Image via Orion Pictures/YouTube