A concrete sculpture of an adult embracing a child has been moved from its home of nearly six decades, a planted median in Courthouse, and possibly damaged in the process.
This week, the statue — missing a chunk of concrete — could be seen on a pedestal of soil and flowers on a nearby sidewalk, surrounded by construction work.
A gift to Arlington County in 1969, the sculpture was decommissioned due to its age and significant damage it sustained from the elements, according to Arlington Cultural Affairs. The 54-year-old sculpture was moved as part of the decommissioning process and is set to be destroyed and replaced with a bronze replica.
“Over its nearly 55 years in the public realm, time and weather took their toll, eroding the surface and rendering the sculpture unrecognizable,” Arlington Cultural Affairs spokesman Jim Byers told ARLnow. “Due to the condition of the original sculpture, two independent conservators agreed that the sculpture could not be repaired.”
Una Hanbury, an England native, made the work — entitled Compassion — to pay tribute to Arlington’s values. It was one of several works she completed in the Mid-Atlantic, including large-scale commissions for the Medical Examiners Building in Baltimore and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Springfield, Virginia.
During discussions about what to do with the aging sculpture, Hanbury’s grandson, Colin Poole, recommended recreating Compassion in bronze to match its original likeness, says Byers.
Fittingly, Poole is set to take on the replica, as he is a professional artist who apprenticed under his grandmother.
When it was still in one piece, Poole had “digitally scanned the weathered concrete sculpture, milled a replica in foam, and enveloped it in clay,” Byers said.
“Using his grandmother’s sculpting tools and referencing other sculptures she had crafted during that era, Poole skillfully reproduced the surface textures, and the renewed form was cast in bronze for longevity,” he continued.
Some of the material of the original sculpture will be incorporated within the base of the new piece, but the rest will be destroyed. Byers said this is the industry standard when a work of art is decommissioned due to severe deterioration.
The recreated bronze statue is set to be installed later this fall, somewhere “close to its original location,” Byers said. He added that he expects the piece to be incorporated into the county’s Public Art collection — adding to the roughly 70 permanent public art projects in Arlington.
“A dedication event is being planned for some time after the installation of the artwork,” he said.
Arlington County is looking to make a three-block stretch in Courthouse safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Specifically, it is looking for ways to improve conditions along a three-block stretch of Wilson Blvd and Clarendon Blvd between N. Uhle Street and N. Adams Street.
The county says the overall project goal is to “create a safe and consistent travel experience for people walking, taking transit, biking, and driving through the Courthouse section of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor,” which has a lot of pedestrian, transit and micro-mobility activity.
Through this Sunday, the county is asking people to share their current experiences as road users and what upgrades matter to them.
When it comes to government priorities, safety is a top concern. The county says Clarendon and Wilson Blvd have seen a higher concentration of critical crashes in recent years.
They are included in a “High Injury Network,” a designation the county uses to prioritize adding transportation safety features to its least-safe roads. This is part of Arlington’s Vision Zero initiative to eliminate fatal and severe-injury crashes by 2030.
Within the project’s boundaries, there was a pedestrian crash with severe injuries on Clarendon Blvd in 2015, per a dashboard of crashes with severe and fatal injuries. One block east of the intersection with N. Uhle Street, there was a fatal pedestrian crash in 2014.
Another aim is to fill a “missing link” in bicycling facilities. Clarendon and Wilson Blvd are identified as “primary bicycling corridors” in the county’s Master Transportation Plan, as is N. Veitch Street, which connects cyclists to Langston Blvd, the Custis Trail and the Arlington Blvd Trail.
The county says it aims to realize community visions for better walking, cycling and transit experiences in Courthouse with new curbs and ramps for people with disabilities and improved bus stops and facilities near the Courthouse Metro station.
To encourage (proper) use of shared e-bikes and scooters, the county will review and provide “adequate end of trip facilities.” That could look like the corrals it has installed elsewhere in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and in Crystal City and Pentagon City.
Whatever improvements are selected would link to upcoming road resurfacing work. The county previously incorporated small upgrades when it resurfaced Clarendon Blvd from Courthouse Road and N. Scott Street and from N. Garfield Street to N. Adams Street.
The improvements would also link to street upgrades developer Greystar is delivering via its under-construction Landmark development (2050 Wilson Blvd), set to wrap up this fall, and its redevelopment on the former Wendy’s site (2025 Clarendon Blvd).
Those projects will bring about:
- A “bike island” at the intersection of 15th Street N. and Clarendon Blvd, as well as more and wider protected and dedicated bike lanes
- Wider sidewalks
- Improving pedestrian crossings of Wilson Blvd and Clarendon Blvd
- Two new “floating” bus stops
- A pedestrian promenade along N. Uhle Street from Clarendon Blvd and 15th Street N.
- Relocated and newly installed traffic signals
Chip City is raising its flag in Clarendon.
The New York City-based cookie shop is making its move into Arlington by opening up at the Crossing Clarendon at 2700 Clarendon Blvd. It is setting up shop near the back of the development, a few doors down from Barnes & Noble and next to the recently opened cosmetic dermatology business Ever/Body.
The plan is to start baking by the fall, CEO Peter Phillips told ARLnow.
Chip City is known for its “big, gooey five and half ounce cookie,” as Phillips put it. It has a rotating weekly menu encompassing 40 different flavors, including classics like Chocolate Chip and Triple Chocolate and more unique flavors like Blueberry Cheesecake, Horchata, and Cannoli.
“We spent a lot of time canvassing the area and I fell in love with the opportunity when I saw all of the strong growth energy in the area and just the general vibe,” Phillips said. “I really fell in love with it. And, then, we identified a small space that fits our model and we were quick to jump on the opportunity.”
This is not the only Arlington location that Chip City is planning, either. Phillips told ARLnow they are also considering a space in Shirlington.
“We are very excited about entering the market,” he said. “There’s a great food scene in [Northern Virginia].”
Cookie shops seem to be having a moment in Arlington. Captain Cookie and the Milkman opened a location in Courthouse earlier this year while Crumbl Cookies is planning to open this fall at the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center. There’s also delivery-only local cookie purveyor MOLTN.
Captain Cookie & the Milkman is soaring into Courthouse today, opening its new location on Clarendon Blvd.
A ribbon-cutting is set for 10 a.m. at 2600 Clarendon Blvd for the first Arlington location of the D.C.-based cookie shop. It’s moving into a 700-square-foot space that was formerly a GNC. There will be indoor and outdoor seating.
At the grand opening there’s set to be a wheel where locals can spin to win free t-shirts, cookies, ice cream, and other Captain Cookie merchandise.
Join us at 10am on 2/10 for a fun-filled Grand Opening in Arlington. Spin a wheel to win t-shirts, cookies, and more! 10% of our grand opening sales will benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center @AFACfeeds! Save the world, one cookie at a time! #arlingtonva #washingtondc pic.twitter.com/srk6s8DZYC
— Captain Cookie (@captaincookiedc) February 8, 2023
Ten percent of sales on opening day will be donated to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC), per a social media post, which also noted that Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz and Arlington Chamber of Commerce president Kate Bates are expected to be in attendance at the ribbon cutting.
Captain Cookie’s new location was first announced a year ago. Started as a food truck by a husband and wife team in 2012, the couple opened its brick-and-mortar location in D.C. three years later. They have since opened two other shops, but this one will be the first outside of the District.
Co-owner Kirk Francis told the Washington City Paper last year that he noticed customers from Arlington were coming to the Foggy Bottom shop since they were outside of that store’s delivery radius.
(Updated at 5:30 p.m.) Arlington’s newest seafood spot is finally ready to open.
Seamore’s is expected to open its doors this week in Clarendon. Currently, the opening is set for Thursday, after being pushed from Wednesday.
The restaurant serves sustainably-sourced seafood, including clams, lobster rolls, arctic char, fish and chips, and oysters. This will be the first location outside of New York for the chain.
“We believe Clarendon will love our sustainable seafood, our delicious cocktails, and beachy Montauk vibes,” owner Jay Wainwright said in the press release. “D.C. is closely connected to the Chesapeake Bay supply chain. This made our decision to open our next location in Clarendon a natural one.”
It was first announced late last year that Seamore’s was bringing a location to the old Baja Fresh space in Clarendon, which had been vacant for more than three years. It was initially supposed to open in late summer, but it was pushed to the back end of September.
Located at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Edgewood Street, next to the one-year-old Tatte Bakery, the 2,605 square-foot restaurant space is now complete.
Back in March, Wainwright told ARLnow that Clarendon is a “perfect fit” for Seamore’s because of the walkability of the neighborhood and and the proximity of the Chesapeake Bay. He additionally noted that a large portion of the catch served at the restaurant will come out of the Bay.
The decor will also differ from the New York locations with decor, colors, and art all inspired by the region and the Chesapeake Bay. Additionally, the restaurant says it wants to build relationships with Bay improvement projects and organizations.
“Seamore’s does not merely look to bring New York flavors to Virginia. Rather, building local relationships such as the Oyster Recovery Partnership will not only ingratiate the new establishment into the community but contribute a positive impact,” said the press release.
For those seeking to add some education to their dining, oyster shucking classes at the restaurant are in the works.
Prior to Seamore’s, Wainwright helped open the first Cosi in America in the mid-1990s. There were at one point a number of locations in Arlington, but the last one, in Rosslyn, closed in early 2021. He also helped build Le Pain Quotidien, which still has a location in Clarendon, one block up from Seamore’s.
A number of in-person events are back in Arlington this weekend after extended pandemic-related hiatuses. With those, though, comes road closures.
Clarendon Day is returning this Saturday (Sept. 24) for the first time since 2019. One of Arlington’s largest street festivals, the event will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and include music, food, vendors, and art.
There will be road closures throughout the neighborhood, including large swaths of Wilson Blvd and Clarendon Blvd. The closures will begin in the middle of the night, around 3 a.m., and go as late as 10 p.m.
The closures include:
- Wilson Boulevard, from N. Highland Street to Washington Boulevard
- Clarendon Boulevard, from Washington Boulevard to N. Garfield Street
- N. Highland Street, from 11th Street N. to Wilson Boulevard
- N. Herndon Street, from Wilson Boulevard to alleyway behind CVS
- N. Hudson Street, from Wilson Boulevard to alleyway behind CVS
- Southbound N. Highland Street, from N. Hartford Street to Wilson Boulevard
The Prio Bangla Multicultural Street Fair is also making its comeback after a pandemic hiatus, taking place on Saturday (Sept. 24) in the Arlington Heights neighborhood between Columbia Pike and the Arlington Career Center. The annual festival has been going on for about a decade.
There’s only one road closure related to this event and that’s 9th Street S. from S. Highland Street to S. Walter Reed Drive. The closure will be from 6 a.m. Saturday until midnight on Sunday (Sept. 25).
There are also two events in the Shirlington and Green Valley neighborhoods this weekend.
Beckett’s Celtic Festival is also set for Saturday in the Village of Shirlington. Campbell Avenue from S. Randolph Street to 28th Street S. (the alleyway near the Harris Teeter) will be closed from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Finally, Valley Fest is taking place near Four Mile Run Drive on Sunday. The beer-centric event, organized by New District Brewery, did take place last year. The festival is set to begin around noon and go until 5 p.m.
S. Oakland Street, from S. Four Mile Run Drive to S. Nelson Street, will be closed to traffic from 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on Sunday to accommodate the event.
Arlington County police are cautioning that roads may be congested with vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the areas around these events, asking drivers to “remain alert.”
Parking will be restricted and there will be a larger police presence in the area, according to ACPD.
“Street parking near the events may be restricted. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary ‘No Parking’ signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed,” said a press release. “If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.”
Five “Complete Streets” roadway project designs are ready for community feedback.
As part of Arlington County’s Complete Streets program, the projects aim to improve safety and access on local roads. The changes are usually made in conjunction with repaving projects and mostly involve re-striping the roadway, sometimes at the expense of parking or through lanes.
According to the project website, the five stretches of roadway that are up for improvements this year are:
- Wilson Boulevard — N. George Mason Drive to N. Vermont Street (Bluemont)
- Clarendon Boulevard — N. Garfield Street to N. Adams Street (Clarendon / Courthouse)
- Clarendon Boulevard — Courthouse Road to N. Scott Street (Courthouse / Rosslyn)
- S. Abingdon Street / 34th Street S. — Bridge over I-395 (Fairlington)
- N. Ohio Street — 12th Road N. to Washington Boulevard (Madison Manor / Highland Park-Overlee Knolls / Dominion Hills)
Those interested in giving feedback on the designs can fill out an online form on the project website through Wednesday, July 6. The final plans are expected to be released in late summer or fall.
S. Abingdon Street bridge
The county’s Department of Environmental Services plans to remove under-utilized parking from the S. Abingdon Street bridge over I-395 in Fairlington.
The project would add buffer zones to the bike lanes to improve access for cyclists and safety for those using the sidewalks, while narrowing the travel lanes for speed control, according to its concept design summary.
Residents previously expressed concern about drivers speeding on the bridge while students walk to and from school.
The bridge is also part of a planned VDOT rehabilitation project, which will include adding concrete protective barriers and replacing bearings.
Wilson Blvd between N. George Mason Drive to N. Vermont Street
The segment of Wilson Blvd in Bluemont between N. George Mason Drive and N. Vermont Street, near Ballston, could see additional high contrast markings at high conflict crosswalks, according to the designs.
The plan is to reduce Wilson Blvd to one travel lane in each direction, with a center turn lane into N. George Mason Drive to better control vehicle speed.
The design plan also includes modifying markings to extend the left turn lane near N. George Mason Drive. The project would also add bike lanes and a continuous center turn lane east of the fire station.
The section of Wilson Blvd between George Mason and the Safeway grocery store saw similar changes last year.
Clarendon Blvd from N. Garfield Street to N. Adams Street
A segment of Clarendon Blvd is set for changes between N. Garfield Street and N. Adams Street, in the Clarendon and Courthouse area, including the removal of nine parking spots.
Apart from reducing parking spaces, the project team also plans to add high contrast markings at high conflict crosswalks. A bike box is set to be added at Clarendon Boulevard’s intersection with N. Garfield Street to make turning easier for cyclists.
The plan will also add parking protection to the bike lane between N. Garfield Street and N. Edgewood Street. A county summary says residents in the area expressed concern about speeding, unsafe pedestrian crossings and double parking in the bike lane.
The self-proclaimed “world’s first decentralized pizzeria” is now serving up pies in Courthouse
Bitcoin Pizza, a “virtual restaurant,” opened on Oct. 31 and operates out of the kitchen of Fire Works Pizza at 2350 Clarendon Blvd. It is one of about 100 locations across the country and one of seven locations in the D.C.-area.
And, yes, the restaurant accepts Bitcoin as well as U.S. dollars.
“We want to spread the word of Bitcoin through this pizza,” Popchew CEO Rushir Parikh tells ARLnow. “[Pizza] is a very approachable way to learn about Bitcoin. We want to make Bitcoin as widely known and available as pizza is.”
It’s about educating the public on cryptocurrency and making it less scary — all while serving up great food — he says.
Bitcoin Pizza is essentially a ghost kitchen, with the company doing the branding and marketing, a local restaurant (in this case, Fire Works) making the pizza, and a third-party (UberEats, DoorDash, etc.) delivering. Like many ghost kitchens, ordering is online-only.
About 20% of the generated revenue goes to Bitcoin Pizza, Parikh said.
There was no specific reason that Arlington or Courthouse was chosen as a location, beyond wanting to have a number of locations in and near major cities, he notes.
The idea for a pizzeria was inspired by the famous — in the crypto world, at least — story of how a Florida man in 2010 purchased two pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins. Eleven years ago, that equated to about $40 US dollars. Today, 10,000 bitcoins are worth more than $500 million.
October 31, the day of Bitcoin Pizza’s Arlington launch (along with the launch of a number of other locations) is also an important day in the cryptocurrency’s history. On Halloween 2008, Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin white paper which explained its rules, workings, and structure.
The menu includes pizzas with cryptocurrency-themed names, like Capital Greens (veggie), Satoshi’s Favorite (Hawaiian) and Laser Eyes (pepperoni).
On its website, the company behind Bitcoin Pizza, calls itself “the coolest food court on the internet.” Parikh compares the aspirations of Popchew to Yum! Brands, which owns fast food staples Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC.
“What we want to do is work with influential brands and people to build the next generation of food brands,” he says.
Working with local restaurants, like Fire Works Pizza, allows the company and its ideas to scale up quickly.
And Popchew is already working on its next food brand. “Wingszn” has launched and is expected to open a location in Arlington in the next month or two, Parikh says.
That “virtual restaurant” will be serving up chicken wings and yes, you can pay with Bitcoin.
Jimmy John’s in Rosslyn has made its last sandwich.
The chain’s location at 1512 Clarendon Blvd in Rosslyn has permanently closed, the franchise owners tell ARLnow.
“Sales simply never recovered after the pandemic,” writes Jessica Manning, who owned the shop along with her father and her husband. “It was a difficult and incredibly emotional decision for us.”
Its last day was September 28, closing after lunch. The family also own the Jimmy John’s in Ballston on N. Quincy Street as well as a location in Woodbridge, Virginia. Both remain open.
Manning says that they were able to find all of their Rosslyn employees other jobs.
“Everyone is healthy and we were able to get all staff members another job immediately so that’s really all that matters,” she writes.
Rappaport Company, which is offering the retail space for lease, tells ARLnow that the space formerly occupied by Jimmy John’s is available and they “are actively marketing the space for lease.”
Jimmy John’s on Clarendon Blvd first opened in 2013, more than eight years ago, in what was then the new-Sedona Slate apartment complex.
(Updated at 1:40 p.m.) Arlington County will be holding a virtual public meeting tonight to discuss a trio of road projects set for later this year.
The county plans to repave and re-stripe portions of Wilson Blvd in the Dominion Hills and Boulevard Manor neighborhoods, Potomac Avenue in Potomac Yard, and Clarendon Blvd in the Courthouse and Rosslyn neighborhoods. The work is expected to take place this summer and fall, following the current public engagement process.
Arlington has been using its regularly-planned street maintenance to re-stripe roads in an effort make them safer, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists. It often involves the addition or enhancement of bike lanes, sharrows and crosswalks.
More from the event page:
The Master Transportation Plan identifies routine street maintenance as an opportunity to provide cost-effective and easy to implement measures to improve safety and access for all people using the street. Community engagement is a core value in Arlington, and we wanted to provide opportunities for community members to share their feedback on the concept plans for the 2020 Street Maintenance season.
Please join county staff for an online meeting on Thursday, June 4 from 6:30-7:30 pm to learn about the project, ask questions and share feedback on the design concepts for the three 2020 Resurfacing Projects for Complete Streets.
Staff will present concepts for:
- Wilson Boulevard – N Larrimore Street to McKinley Road (Dominion Hills/Boulevard Manor)
- Potomac Avenue – S Crystal Drive to Alexandria City Line (Potomac Yard)
- Clarendon Boulevard – N Nash to N Oak Street (Clarendon-Courthouse/Radnor/Fort Myer Heights)
An online open house in April discussed all four projects.
(Updated at 12:25 p.m.) Five arterial streets in Arlington are being considered as candidates for a Complete Streets overhaul.
The county’s Complete Streets program adds safety features to roadways that improve the experience of road users other than drivers, including pedestrians and cyclists. The changes are usually made in conjunction with repaving projects.
The streets that are up for a makeover later this year are:
- Wilson Boulevard — N. Larrimore Street to McKinley Road (Dominion Hills/Boulevard Manor)
- Potomac Avenue — S. Crystal Drive to Alexandria City Line (Potomac Yard)
- Clarendon Boulevard — N. Nash Street to N. Oak Street (Clarendon-Courthouse/Radnor/Fort Myer Heights)
- N. Lorcom Lane — Old Dominion Drive to N. Taylor Street
- Military Road — Lorcom Lane to Old Dominion Drive
The virtual public meeting is scheduled to run from 6:30-7:30 p.m. via Microsoft Teams Live Event. No account is needed to join.
Complete Streets upgrades may include “sidewalk expansion or obstruction elimination,” “curb ramp reconstruction,” “crosswalk and signal enhancements,” “pedestrian-scale lighting,” “improved access to transit stops” and bike lanes, per the county’s website.
Such changes have been implemented in other parts of Arlington, though they’ve also faced some public pushback from local residents concerned about traffic impacts. One Complete Streets project in neighboring Alexandria has become a legendarily contentious issue.
Photos via Google Maps