Arlington, VA

Next week an Army Navy Country Club employee will celebrate her 100th birthday.

Hattie Louise Jones will turn 100 years old on Sunday, Sept. 22, and the centennial will be celebrated at the golf club with a party for her family and friends.

For nearly 40 years, Jones has worked as a coat room attendant for the country club, where she greets guests — many of which she has known for decades.

“Turning 100 years old is unbelievable to me,” said Jones, as quoted by her family. “I can still work, drive and exercise, which are my favorite activities. My life is so blessed with a wonderful family, friends and coworkers.”

(Jones’ son, Clarence McGill, was one of the Syracuse 8, who spoke up against racial discrimination at the cost of their football careers.)

Jones was born on September 22, 1919, in Florence, South Carolina. She grew up in Ithaca, New York and worked at IBM before retiring and moving to D.C. Shortly after moving, she left retirement to begin working at the country club.

“Hattie is one of our longest serving employees,” said Captain John C. Tuck, chairman of the golf club, in a press release. “Her dedication to the club and her genuine love for so many of its members helps make Army Navy such a very special place.”

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When Mrinal Oberoi first moved her family from London to Arlington in 2014, she struggled to find a way to settle into the community — and then she found MONA.

MONA, or Mothers of North Arlington, is a nonprofit group for mothers and families across six ZIP codes. First established in 2001 with less than 70 members, the group now has more than 2,200 member and is ready to prove those who think the group exists merely as an exclusive social club wrong.

Oberoi, who has since become president of MONA, says 75 percent of the group’s members have either part time or full-time jobs, and a growing number of fathers have also joined. Though MONA membership is geographically exclusive — applicants who live in South Arlington are gently informed that they cannot join — the group has been working on new initiatives and events that are free for all to attend.

“This year, we’re focusing on external partnerships with local organizations — to be able to expand our reach to the wider community,” said Oberoi.

This Saturday MONA is launching a series of free, family social events at Ballston Quarter mall.

“Ballston Quarter is such a kid-friendly place, and I think it’s important that this sense of community and belonging doesn’t have to stay within the context of the group, which is why we opened it to anyone who wanted to come,” said MONA vice president Amy Waldron.

Additional free public events include a new, ongoing partnership with The Sycamore School, where MONA will be hosting a series of workshops on topics like bullying. The first event will be held October 23-24, from 7-9 p.m. The film Finding Kind, about female bullying, will be shown followed by a discussion led by the school counselor.

Also on tap for this fall is the annual MONA Sip n’ Shop, held in November at the Knights of Columbus on Little Falls Road. Forty local vendors will offer their wares at the free event, while drink bracelets for an open beer and wine bar will be offered for $7.

“I cannot stress enough how much we encourage everyone from the county and beyond to come and enjoy our public events,” said Oberoi. “We decided to move socials to Ballston Quarter, so we are able to reach their community as well.”

MONA accepts members in the 22201, 22203, 22205, 22207, 22209 or 22213 ZIP codes. Membership is $30 per year plus a $20 initial registration fee. Members have access to an online listserv, marketplace, and special events, and there are several sub-groups including those for mothers with children in preschool, a business entrepreneurial network, and more.

“Our main source of income comes from this registration fee, and 100 percent of this goes back into events, both ones that are open for everyone and others that are for MONA members,” said Oberoi.

MONA works with additional mother support groups in the area, such as the MOMS Club of South Arlington. For mothers of children with special needs, MOMS Club of South Arlington and MONA work together across a county-wide network.

“We aim to be as inclusive as possible,” said Oberoi. “Personally, for me, this was a great way to get settled into the community.”

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Hula Girl Bar and Grill is closing next week in the Village at Shirlington after nearly four years in business.

The Hawaiian restaurant, which opened at 4044 Campbell Avenue in late 2015, is the creation of chef and owner Mikala Brennan, who first operated Hula Girl as a food truck. Since opening the restaurant Brennan has made occasional appearances on the Food Network.

In an announcement today, Brennan said Hula Girl would be closing after Saturday, Sept. 21.

More from a press release:

Mikala Brennan, Chef/Owner of Hula Girl Bar + Grill announced that the restaurant will be closing its doors on September 21, 2019.

For four years, Hula Girl has been bringing the authentic tastes of the Hawaiian Islands to the DMV from its Shirlington location in the Village at Shirlington at 4044 Campbell Avenue.

“All I really wanted to do was to bring Hawaiian food to this area.  And I did, for close to 10 years, from the food truck to restaurant,” Chef Brennan said.  “I am just so very proud that I took this chance and I will always be thankful for the opportunity that I was given.  Connecting to a community is always so very important – and I thank our community for the support for the past 4 years.”

The restaurant will be offering specials until closing and an ‘eat the restaurant’ event on its last evening with special offers on food and beverage.

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(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) There was one question that ran through the mind of Zeb Armstrong, a newlywed from South Carolina recently drafted for service in the Vietnam War.

“Will I return?”

It was a question Armstrong etched onto his bunk in a magic marker, alongside hundreds of other messages and images from countless young men taking a journey many wouldn’t return from. The 18-21 day trip from the West Coast to Vietnam aboard the USNS General Nelson Walker left a lot of time for soldiers to get homesick or anxious about the journey ahead. Though against regulations, drawing on the canvas beds became a widespread past-time.

Yesterday (Tuesday), a traveling exhibit called the Vietnam Graffiti Project stopped at CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis organization in Clarendon that works on improving efficiency and effectiveness of military operations. For one day, canvases covered with years of doodling from soldiers covered the walls of the offices, and co-founder Art Beltrone spoke with CNA personnel about their stories.

The ship started its service in the final days of WWII then ferried troops to and from the Korean War and the Vietnam War. After Vietnam, the ship was put into the James River Reserve fleet — the Ghost Fleet — to be reactivated in case of an emergency. It sat there virtually untouched until Beltrone visited the ship with Jack Fisk — a production designer doing research for The Thin Red Line — and stumbled on rooms littered with relics from the war sitting exactly as they’d been left when the last soldiers disembarked.

When he found out the ship was scheduled to be scrapped, Beltrone said he and his wife asked the military if they could recover the canvases and other items to preserve the memory of the soldiers who traveled on the ship. The ship was taken apart in Texas in 2005, but Beltrone had recovered the graffiti from inside the ships.

“We did not want to see that material lost and those men forgotten,” Beltrone said. “It’s not just an artifact. It’s someone talking back to us through time.”

Then the work began on telling those stories. Many of them signed their work and left messages about their hometowns or loved ones, which made looking them up easier. Beltrone said he still gets emotional when they read the little notes drawn on the canvas about insecurities and homesickness — only to find that the person who wrote them was ultimately killed in Vietnam.

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The new baseball diamond in Gunston Park will open this weekend with a game and food-filled celebration.

Officials from the Department of Parks and Recreation will open the sports field at 1401 28th Street S. this Saturday, September 14 at 11 a.m. and are inviting families to attend the free event.

“Youth baseball games will be held before and after the ribbon cutting,” officials wrote in a press release about the event. “Food trucks will be on site selling delicious tacos and ice cream!”

The old natural turf field were replaced by a controversial, artificial turf that officials hope will allows players to use the field later in the winter season and be more accessible for all players.

The overhaul cost $370,000, split between a $180,000 grant from the private nonprofit Arlington Sports Foundation and $190,000 from the county’s sports commission’s Diamond Field Fund after years of discussions.

The costs were in addition to the $1.4 million approved by the Arlington County Board in 2014 to make several other changes, including: replacing the dugout and batting cage, and adding stormwater drainage as well as ADA-compliant paths to the diamond.

Images 1, 2 via Arlington County

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The new Harris Teeter along Columbia Pike appears to be one step closer to opening.

State records indicate that the grocery store replacing the Food Star market at the corner of the Pike and S. George Mason Drive applied for a Virginia ABC permit to sell wine and beer last week, and a Harris Teeter spokeswoman said it’s expected to open soon.

The spokeswoman told ARLnow yesterday (Monday) that the new store at 950 S. George Mason Drive had an “anticipated opening date of fall 2019,” but did not provide an exact opening date. Previously, a spokesperson said the store was slated to open in late 2019.

The finished store will have 50,000 square feet of space and is part of the redevelopment of the Columbia Pike Village Center that demolished the shopping center that Food Star, EvolveAll fitness studio, and several other small businesses inhabited.

As part of the project, dubbed Centro Arlington, developers are also building a 22,150 square foot public space, 31,530 square feet of space for other retailers, a three-level parking garage, and 365 market rate apartments.

Pop-up hotelier WhyHotel is planning to open around 150 temporary hotel rooms in the new apartment building this fall.

Image 1 via Google Maps, Image 2-3 via Google Maps

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A new bubble tea joint is coming to Rosslyn.

Permits have been filed for a Gong Cha Tea Shop at 1650 Wilson Blvd, across from the new Arlington Public Schools facility The Heights.

There is a Gong Cha international franchise with locations throughout D.C. and Maryland with a Fairfax location in Annandale (4230 Annandale Road) that opened earlier this year.

The chain offers bubble tea — a tea-based drink with pearls of tapioca balls — at a variety of sweetnesses. It also offers egg waffle dishes with ice cream.

There was no evidence of construction activity at 1650 Wilson Blvd and Gong Cha could not be reached to learn when the shop will be opening.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

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Arlington’s first indoor running studio is coming soon to Clarendon.

Formula Running Center will feature coached treadmill workouts focusing on high-intensity intervals training and high performance recovery, with classes catered to runners of all fitness levels.

Additional features in the space include full-body cryotherapy, an infrared sauna, a cold water plunge pod, stretching classes, and more.

“Our comprehensive list of classes and recovery services is made to keep you hitting the tread, pounding the pavement, and crushing personal fitness goals,” the company wrote on its Facebook page.

Formula Running Center is slated to open this fall, according to owner Christopher Hoffman. It will be located on the first floor of the office building at 3101 Wilson Blvd, in the former American Tap Room Space.

The member-based running and fitness center was previously called “FootFire” in permit filings last year.

The studio applied for a construction permit in April, per county records. It will join the ranks of nearby boutique fitness studios SoulCycle and Barry’s Bootcamp, among others, and is also just steps from the Clarendon Metro station and running store Pacers.

The studio is sponsoring the upcoming Clarendon Day Run on Saturday, September 21.

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Don’t tell the Caped Crusader, but someone swiped the name of his family’s estate for use as the name of a small garden apartment building in Arlington.

“Wayne Manor” may conjure up images of Batman, but it’s also the name of the apartments at 500 S. Wayne Street in Penrose, according to county property records.

The apartment building was built in 1963, 24 years after the Dark Knight first appeared in comic books. The “Wayne Manor” name doesn’t seem to appear on apartment rental websites, but it was prominently featured on a commercial property sale listing from 2011.

Wayne Manor Apartments is a four-story, 15-unit, walk-up apartment building situated in the Penrose neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia. Built in 1963 and continually renovated over the years, the subject property has a history of consistently high occupancy levels with rental rates that have seen substantial growth over the last few years. Situated on a 19,250-square foot parcel of land, Wayne Manor Apartments totals 11,925 square feet of net living area… A majority of units have been updated with new kitchens including microwave ovens, bathrooms, and flooring, providing tenants with a modern living space. Due to the property’ s superior unit conditions, ample on-site parking, and the neighborhood’s recent growth and new development, top rents for one and two-bedroom units have immediate potential for growth.

Located in the Penrose neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia, the DC MSA’ s most desirable sub-market, Wayne Manor Apartments is in close proximity to public transportation, areas for recreation, new development, educational facilities, dining, entertainment, and employment hubs.

Unfortunately for Bruce Wayne wannabes with similarly deep pockets, the apartment building is no longer listed for sale.

Photo via Google Maps

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A small plot on Wilson Blvd bisected by a gravel trail will be reopening as a park with paved central walkway.

The Oakland Park project is centered around plans to bring the park in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and adding overall enhancements to the green space at 3705 Wilson Blvd.

“Design elements include all-new site furnishings, decorative paving, wood decking, native plantings and new park signage,” the county said on the project website. “A highlight in the park will be a public art piece created by Foon Sham.”

Earlier this week, workers were laying some of the final bricks in the walkway, though other work remains to be done across the park.

Construction at the park is on schedule, and Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish said the project should be open by the end of the year.

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A new fast-casual taco restaurant from one of Arlington’s most prolific restaurateurs is slated to open in late September in Rosslyn, according to a spokesman.

“Taco Rock” from chef Mike Cordero will be located at 1501 Wilson Blvd, in the former Spinfire Pizza space.

The approximately 2,500-square-foot space will be rock-and-roll themed, with a large ceiling guitar and graffiti-style art throughout. There will be space for 50 diners and an 18-seat bar.

The menu will feature specialty tacos served on homemade blue corn tortillas, plus appetizers like corn elotes, ceviche, and “hot Cheeto jalapeño poppers.”

In addition, the restaurant will offer an extensive drink menu featuring tequila cocktails and Mexican beers.

Taco Rock will be Cordero’s ninth Northern Virginia establishment. Currently, Cordeo co-owns the popular Arlington bars Don Tito and The G.O.A.T, and is the force behind the just-opened Bronson Bier Hall in Ballston.

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