Board Candidates on Bad Decisions — The Democratic candidates for Arlington County Board on Wednesday were asked to name a recent County Board decision they disagreed with. James Lander said he disagreed with the decision to cancel the streetcar. Andrew Schneider said “citizens were owed more of a process” on the streetcar decision. Katie Cristol cited the decision not to fund an extra firefighter to staff certain fire equipment. Christian Dorsey cited the decision to delay building an elementary school next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School. Bruce Wiljanen said he wasn’t happy with the development plan for Rosslyn Highlands Park. Peter Fallon disagreed with the redevelopment of the Bergmann’s dry cleaning site on Lee Highway. [InsideNova]
ACFCU Named ‘Credit Union of the Year’ — Arlington Community Federal Credit Union, an ARLnow.com advertiser, has been named “Federal Credit Union of the Year” by the Arlington-based National Association of Federal Credit Unions. ACFCU was bestowed the honor for credit unions with assets of $250 million or less.
Babe Ruth Baseball to Celebrate Anniversary — Arlington Babe Ruth (ABR) Baseball will celebrate its 30th anniversary on May 17. Reportedly the longest-running youth baseball program in the county, ABR will mark the occasion with a “Family Fun Day” for baseball families from 2:00-5:00 p.m. in Barcroft Park.
Rosslyn Skyscraper Still Empty — The D.C. area’s tallest building, 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn, is still empty a year and a half after its completion. Owner Monday Properties, however, is feeling good about the regional economy and about Rosslyn specifically. The company is reportedly not planning to lower its asking rent for the building. [Washington Post]
Deaf Man Suing Arlington County — Updated at 9:20 a.m. — A homeless deaf immigrant who was wrongly jailed for six weeks, allegedly without access to an interpreter, is suing Arlington County in federal court for failing to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The man, Abreham Zemedagegehu, is originally from Ethiopia and was unable to communicate with his jailers via written English. [Associated Press]
Advertising on ART? — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday briefly discussed the possibility of adding advertisements to the side of ART buses — but no action was taken. It was also revealed that the cost of a Metrobus route is about 2.5 times more expensive than the equivalent ART bus route. [InsideNova]
Local Business 40th Anniversaries — Two local businesses are celebrating a 40th anniversary this month. Heidelberg Pastry Shop (2150 N. Culpeper Street) celebrated its 40th year in business this past Saturday, while the Crystal City branch of Navy Federal Credit Union (2450 Crystal Drive) is celebrating its 40th with cake, refreshment and giveaways to those who stop by the branch.
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
ARLnow.com is holding its fifth anniversary bash in Crystal City tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
If you haven’t booked your tickets yet, you can still do so through 5:00 p.m. on Eventbrite. Tickets will also be available at the door.
The event, at the ever-expanding headquarters of the Crystal Tech Fund and Disruption Corporation, will feature two hours of all-you-can eat food from Ruth’s Chris and plenty of wine and beer, thanks to our friends at the Crystal City BID.
To help celebrate our fifth anniversary (which technically is on Thursday), we’re recounting some of the top stories of 2010.
Coming off of the depths of the Great Recession, the year that was 2010 was especially active for business openings in Crystal City. Here are some of the memorable openings in our first year:
- The Arlington Community Federal Credit Union, presenting sponsor of tonight’s bash, opened its flagship Columbia Pike branch
- District Taco opened its first brick and mortar restaurant, on Lee Highway
- Buffalo Wild Wings opened in Crystal City
- Chick-fil-A opened in Crystal City, complete with people camping out in a nearby park for the opening
- Nordstrom Rack opened in Pentagon City
- Food trucks Bada Bing, Rebel Heroes and BBQ Bandidos launched. Only Bada Bing is still serving customers.
- Bakeshop opened in Clarendon, kicking off the Arlington version of the gourmet cupcake craze
- Red Mango opened in Clarendon, kicking off the Arlington version of the froyo craze
- Crumbs opened in Clarendon
- Northside Social opened in Clarendon
- Lyon Hall opened in Clarendon
- Bayou Bakery opened in Courthouse
See you tonight, Arlington!
We’re less than a week away from ARLnow.com’s fifth anniversary party. If you like ARLnow.com and you like fun, presumably you have already reserved your tickets — if not, check out the trivia question below for a chance to get 20 percent off.
As part of the lead-up to the party (hosted at the Crystal Tech Fund offices, pictured, in Crystal City), we’re taking a trip down memory lane to the year we launched.
That year, 2010, featured lots of memorable local stories, some of them downright weird. Do you remember…
- The severed goat’s head that was found in Barcroft Park
- The Russian spy ring that included three Arlington residents, one of whom unknowingly made a videotaped “dead drop” in Glencarlyn Park
- Snowmageddon, which struck on Feb. 5, and resulted in huge snow piles that didn’t melt until April
- Our first (and last) Arlington’s Cutest Dog contest, which resulted in so many entries we had to break it into four separate voting groups
- The Virginia Square Metro hero, who came to the aid of a man who fell on the tracks (and made national news after ARLnow.com obtained the video from Metro)
- Two words: Bacon Week
- The mysterious, abrupt closing of Washington Golf Center, which prompted an early ARLnow.com “investigation”
Now, for the trivia question: what was the original name of the new-for-2010 rooftop deck at Whitlow’s? (It was renamed “Wilson’s” prior to opening.)
If you know the answer, enter that as a promo code (without spaces) on our Eventbrite page for 20 percent off. You’re welcome!
Our fifth anniversary bash will be held on January 27, from 6-8 p.m. at Crystal Tech Fund (2231 Crystal Drive, 10th floor). The price of admission includes craft beer, wine and heavy appetizers from Ruth’s Chris Steak House.
What have followed are five years of continuous local news coverage, from tiny articles about potholes that no other news outlet would report on to big scoops that quickly have become international news.
As part of our five year anniversary, we’re looking back (in no particular order) at some of the defining Arlington stories of 2010. Some are weighty and easily remembered. Others, not so much.
Do you remember…
- The car that crashed into Rhodeside Grill?
- The opening of Bakeshop and Red Mango in Clarendon, kicking off the local cupcake and froyo crazes? (Red Mango has closed, Bakeshop is preparing to celebrate its own fifth year anniversary.)
- The county employee who tossed A-frame signs on N. Fillmore Street in the trash, as part of a crackdown on illegal signage? (A-frame signs are now allowed on sidewalks.)
- President Obama taking Russian president Dimitri Medvedev to lunch at Ray’s Hell Burger in Rosslyn?
- The triumphant announcement that Trader Joe’s would be opening in Clarendon? (“Break Out The Three-Buck Chuck,” our headline blared.)
- The hiring, then abrupt firing, of County Manger Michael Brown? (At the time, the county tried to pass off the firing as a “resignation” due to the health of Brown’s wife. Brown received a $110,000 severance payment.)
- The strong August storm that felled 40-50 trees in Fairlington and blew out car windows in Shirlington?
If you remembered all of those, congrats! You’re officially an ARLnow.com early adopter.
Come reminisce with us at our Fifth Anniversary Bash on January 27, from 6-8 p.m. at Crystal Tech Fund in Crystal City. Through 11:30 tonight tickets are discounted to an “early adopter” rate of $12.90. After that, the price goes up to $20.10.
The event is hosted by the Crystal City Business Improvement District and the price of admission includes adult beverages and delicious finger food.
Launched on a Friday, on the eve of a snowy Saturday and a week before Snowmageddon, ARLnow.com has been published continuously ever since. During that time it has gone from being an informal local news blog based out of a Crystal City apartment to a professional news publication with full-time employees and an actual office.
By the time we officially turn five, two weeks from now, we’ll have published more than 10,000 articles, including on-the-ground breaking news reporting, big local scoops that became national stories, and plenty articles chronicling everyday life in our fair county.
To celebrate our big day, we’re inviting everybody to our anniversary bash. Our friends at the Crystal City Business Improvement District are helping to organize the event, which is being held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 27 at Disruption Corporation’s headquarters (2231 Crystal Drive) in Crystal City.
The party will feature drinks and delicious appetizers, all included in the price of admission. Tickets are $20.10, but act fast because for “early adopters” they’re just $12.90 through tomorrow night.
See you there!
Knightsbridge Trading Company, one of just a handful of small business retail shops in Clarendon, is celebrating its one year anniversary this weekend.
From noon to 4:00 p.m., customers and passersby can walk into the shop at 2871 Clarendon Blvd and enjoy free wine, cheese, tea and hors d’oeuvres, according to shop owner Murat Etili. The celebration comes after a year he says met his expectations when he opened his shop with national retailers like Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn and Orvis all just steps from his doors.
“The first year is always where you build your business and pay your dues,” Etili said. “We’ve been extremely well-received. We’re a family business and we’re local, so people seem to appreciate that.”
The shop offers a wide array of gifts and knick knacks, with a consistently changing selection “at surprisingly attractive prices,” it says on its website.
Etili, a graduate of Washington-Lee High School, closed Knightsbridge’s other location in Rockville last year when its building was demolished, but plans to reopen in the same spot when the new development is complete. Until then, Clarendon will be Knightsbridge’s only location.
Despite some criticism for his business model when he first opened, Etili said the people who have come into the shop have been nothing but positive.
“When I was negotiating for the space, there were a few chains ahead of me and I didn’t think I was going to get it,” Etili said. “People have loved it. They were saying there was a huge need, and they were happy it was not another huge chain.”
New Security Measures at Schools — This school year, Arlington Public Schools has three additional police officers assigned as school resource officers at elementary schools. The school system has also added 30 new video cameras in secondary schools, which can be viewed by the county’s 911 call center and by school resource officers. [Washington Post]
Stamos Back in the ACDC Fold — Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos has apparently been welcomed back into the good graces of the Arlington County Democratic Committee. Stamos voluntarily stepped down from the committee after she endorsed independent candidate John Vihstadt over Democrat Alan Howze. [InsideNova]
Bracket Room to Celebrate Anniversary — Contrary to the pessimistic predictions of its critics, Clarendon sports bar The Bracket Room is about to celebrate its one year anniversary and seems to be thriving. Former Bachelorette cast member Chris Bukowski opened the bar, at 1210 N. Garfield Street, on Sept. 5, 2013. Bracket Room is planning a birthday party on Saturday, Sept. 6. [Clarendon Nights]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Lebanese Taverna, which began as a single storefront in Arlington operated by an immigrant couple and their five children, is celebrating its 35th anniversary with events and specials over the next two months.
On July 28 and 29 at the Westover location (5900 Washington Blvd) and Aug. 6 and 7 at Pentagon Row (1101 S. Joyce Street), Lebanese Taverna will serve dishes from its 1979 menu with the original prices to commemorate the year the restaurant opened.
The restaurant is also currently taking submissions for a social media contest, in which longtime customers can email the restaurant their favorite Lebanese Taverna memory and then vote on their favorites by liking them on the restaurant’s Facebook page. A limousine will chauffeur the winners to different Lebanese Taverna locations for a five-to-six course meal, Shea said.
“We’re celebrating our uniqueness,” said Lebanese Taverna Vice President Grace Shea, the youngest child of founders Tanios and Marie Abi-Najm. “Thirty-five years is a long time for a restaurant to be open.”
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) will present a congressional proclamation of congratulations to the Abi-Najm family at a private event Friday evening, Shea said. The Westover restaurant will be open Friday at 6:30 p.m. for a kickoff event with the 1979 prices for invited guests from local civic associations and members of the public who happen to stop by.
“I’m proud of my family and what they’ve accomplished over the years,” Shea said. “When my parents came here they had five kids, $500 and spoke no English.”
The Abi-Najm family came to Arlington in 1976 to escape the civil war in Lebanon. Marie Abi-Najm worked as a teaching assistant and Tanios Abi-Najm did odd jobs and painted until they saved enough money to open their own restaurant in 1979, in the same storefront they still occupy just down the street from their house, Shea said.
“My dad always loved food and it was a way for him to bring a piece of Lebanon here to us,” Shea said. Her mother came from Dfoun, Lebanon, a village famous for producing chefs.
At first, Lebanese Taverna served pizza and subs and operated under “Athenian Taverna,” the name used by the previous tenants. Shea’s parents and her four siblings in high school were the only employees during the first year, causing business to suffer, she said.
In 1979, the restaurant only offered shish kabob and hummus as menu specials because they were novelties for most Arlington residents. However, their traditional food starting piquing customers’ interests after their first year in business, inspiring the Abi-Najm’s to change the restaurant’s name and put Lebanese fare on half their menu, according to Shea.
“We’d sit down for our family dinners at the restaurant and customers would say, ‘Wow, what is that? We want some of that,'” Shea said. The restaurant kept its half-Italian menu until 1983.
Once the restaurant was officially Lebanese Taverna, a second location opened in 1990 on Connecticut Avenue in D.C. It later expanded to include the Lebanese Taverna Market in D.C., catering division, six restaurants and four cafés it has today.
The event, starting at 8:00 p.m. on June 13, is free and open to the public. It will be the first-ever evening event held at the cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater, according to organizers.
“‘Arlington at 150’ is an hour-long live military show featuring musical performances by ‘The President’s Own,’ U.S. Marine Band and a Joint Chorus made up with singers from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force; a wreath ceremony and historical vignettes that showcase how military conflicts have shaped our nation and the cemetery,” according to a press release.
“Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis in the amphitheater,” the release continued. “Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to ensure access and should plan to be seated no later than 8:00 p.m.”
The Arlington Cemetery Metro station will remain open until 11:00 p.m. to accommodate the event.
Arlington at 150 is one of a number of special events taking place over a 5 week commemoration of the cemetery’s sesquicentennial.
When we started our original coverage on Jan. 30, 2010, literally no one knew about the site other than family and friends. Today we’re glad to count all 200,000 of you among our friends.
Here’s looking forward to another four years of growing and serving the community.
Sometimes it seems like Arlington is a revolving door for small businesses and restaurants, but one store owner in Crystal City is bucking the trend and holding an anniversary party. Gossip (566 23rd Street S.) is holding its “5 Year Anniversary Festa and Fashion Show” tomorrow (November 10).
Owner Katherine Glorioso, who hails from Falls Church, had known for years that she wanted to open a boutique featuring Southern California fashions. She started off by selling a few items at Eastern Market. After four straight weeks of selling out halfway through the day, Glorioso’s parents pushed her to set up a brick and mortar establishment.
Glorioso originally thought her boutique would fit well in Georgetown, but she discovered that rent prices were too high. Her goal was to keep all pieces of merchandise below $100 each, which would make it difficult to pay Georgetown rents. Her father tipped her off to a potential space in Crystal City. Upon seeing the area her father had suggested, Glorioso had a flashback to being on 23rd Street when she was younger.
“I used to walk down the block my store is now on and thought, ‘One day I’ll have something on this block,'” said Glorioso.
She credits her father, an entrepreneur, for assisting her with opening the store.
“It was so much hard work, but it was the best decision I ever made. I feel very blessed,” Glorioso said. “I worked my butt off, I knew what I was doing and I had my wonderful father to help along the way. I was going to make it no matter what. There was no option of failure.”
Gossip began in a small 450 square foot space, then expanded last summer. In addition to clothing and accessories, the expansion allowed for adding vintage clothing, undergarments, shoes and children’s clothing. Glorioso continues keeping her eyes open for potential areas for expansion, because she would eventually like to open a store in North Arlington.
As part of tomorrow’s anniversary celebration, Gossip will run a sale from 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. Customers who purchase at least $25 worth of merchandise will receive a free goodie bag with a surprise inside.
Additionally, there will be a fashion show across the street at Tortoise and Hare Bar and Grille (567 23rd Street S.) at 8:00 p.m. It will feature items from Gossip’s fall and winter collections. The event is free to attend and there will be complimentary appetizers. Raffle tickets will be sold at the fashion show for five gift bags filled with up to $100 in merchandise from Gossip. The raffle tickets are $2 each and all proceeds will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The art venue has often been the target of criticism due to a rocky first year in existence, which included low attendance and revenue. However, there’s been a concerted effort to turn things around by following a revamped business plan.
“We’ve had a really successful year and I think if people engage with the arts they understand the value of it. I would certainly encourage people to participate more to understand the value,” said Artisphere Executive Director Jose Ortiz. “Like any new organization or start-up, you go thorough some growing pains. I hope at this point we would have all moved past that.”
On the heels of accolades over this year’s Frida Kahlo exhibit, Drector of Programming Rosanna Ruscetti suddenly departed in April for family reasons. She had been credited with helping to stabilize the struggling art venue. Ruscetti was replaced in August by Josh Stoltzfus.
In addition to the new Director of Programming, Artisphere hired a Chief Financial Officer in April. Ortiz said the new staff is just one of the factors keeping the venue on track with its new goals.
“It’s definitely a team effort, everyone working together toward a common goal,” said Ortiz. “On the programming side we’re having great appeal. Having a CFO there has helped us to manage our money more closely as well.”
Ortiz said one of the challenges Artisphere continues to battle is how to offer art in a way that’s different from all the other local venues.
“In this business this idea that everyone’s presenting music and art, but how do we do that in a way that distinguishes us?” he said. “The ongoing challenge is always, how do we present a program that’s unique and on-brand and appeals to people?”
One example of the unique art, according to Ortiz, is Craig Colorusso’s roaming exhibit “Sun Boxes” which kicks off the anniversary celebration on Thursday, October 4. It is made up of 20 solar powered speakers that create a sonic landscape. The exhibit will be in different locations throughout Rosslyn this weekend; locations and times are listed online.
“It’s a great example of how we’re able to take our art outside of our walls,” Ortiz said. “People who may not come in to visit us will experience art on the street. It’s an example of how we do something and do it uniquely.”
The big events inside Artisphere take place this Saturday, October 6, and Sunday, October 7. The party begins at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday with Brazilian music from New York City’s Forro in the Dark, followed by the D.C. Metro’s own Alma Tropicalia at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online.
The festivities culminate on Sunday with the Free Family Day Open House, which runs from 12:30-4:30 p.m. Activities are largely hands-on and allow visitors to interact with artists by participating in storytelling, theatrical workshops and creating a commemorative mural.
“It’s a great day for people to engage with the arts in a different way than you would customarily,” said Ortiz.
The nature center was saved from potential closure and demolition in 2009 when supporters rallied to have it removed from a list of county budget cuts. Now, the nonprofit Friends of the Gulf Branch Nature Center organization is throwing the wooded outpost another birthday party.
The free event is scheduled from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 16. The program includes:
- Live music by the New Old Time String Band
- Live animal encounters and nature fun for everyone
- “Open forge” with the Blacksmiths’ Guild
- Birthday cake
Photo via friendsofgbnc.org
The sister establishments will be holding a joint anniversary event at Liberty Tavern (3195 Wilson Blvd) tomorrow night (Thursday, April 12). From 4:00 p.m. until close, the restaurant will be offering two specialty cocktails from its opening menu — the “Pursuit of Happiness” and the “Industrial” — for $5. Starting at 9:00 p.m., at the bar and lounge, Liberty Tavern will also be offering complimentary Liberty pizza, Lyon Hall frankfurters and Northside Social confections.