Park(ing) Day 2016 is in full swing in Arlington.
Described as “an annual international event where the public collaborates to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into small parks to elicit a reconsideration of the designation of public space,” Park(ing) Day is taking place on the side of the road in five separate locations in Arlington this year.
Among them: in front of 4075 Wilson Blvd and 4245 Fairfax Drive in Ballston; 2200 Wilson Blvd and the N. Uhle Street parking lot in Courthouse; and 2847 Clarendon Blvd in Clarendon.
We stopped by two today: in Clarendon, the Lululemon store was hosting yoga lessons, demonstrations and other feats of flexibility. On Wilson Blvd in Courthouse, staff from the Arlington Community Planning, Housing and Development office were giving away free schwag and encouraging passersby to play games they had on hand.
The county tweeted photos from two of the other events:
— Plan Arlington VA (@planArlingtonVA) September 16, 2016
— brett wallace (@bretthwallace) September 16, 2016
“Events like PARK(ing) Day enrich our community life by creating an inviting streetscape and by promoting activities that allow for social exchange, fun, creativity and critical thinking,” the county said on its website. “PARK(ing) Day in particular can furthermore promote a rethinking of the usage of the public-right-of-way and may motivate the public to more actively participate in the civic processes which shape our urban environment.”
The tiny temporary parks will remain open until around 3-3:30 p.m.
A man has been charged with vandalizing the wreath placed during Arlington’s 9/11 memorial ceremony.
The incident happened in Courthouse just after 11 a.m. on Sunday, shortly after the ceremony.
Police say 51-year-old Charles Harris removed flowers from the wreath and left the petals on the sidewalk. He was charged with the crimes of Injuring a Memorial and Drunk in Public.
From an Arlington County Police crime report:
INJURING A MEMORIAL, 160911022, 1500 block of N. Courthouse Road. At approximately 11:16 a.m. on September 11, police were dispatched to the report of a subject destroying the 9/11 Memorial Wreath used during the County’s September 11 Observance. Upon arrival, officers observed the subject removing flowers from the wreath and discarding petals on the sidewalk. Charles Harris, 51, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Injuring a Memorial and Drunk In Public. He was held on a $1,000 secured bond.
A brand new 168-room Hyatt Place hotel opened in Courthouse last week.
Among other features, the hotel has a curated art collection in the lobby and outside at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Adams Street, “for passersby to enjoy.”
From a Hyatt press release:
Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is officially open in Arlington, Va. The hotel features the Hyatt Place brand’s intuitive design, casual atmosphere and practical amenities, such as free Wi-Fi and 24-hour food offerings. Hyatt Place Arlington Courthouse
Plaza is owned by Schupp Companies, a real estate development company, and is operated and managed by LodgeWorks Partners, L.P.
Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is nearby a variety of restaurant, shopping and entertainment options. The hotel is two blocks away from the Courthouse Metro stop and close to major Washington D.C. attractions, including the White House, the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and Arlington Cemetery. With inviting spaces to connect, meet, socialize, eat and drink, the property is a unique place designed around today’s modern traveler.
Hyatt Place Arlington Courthouse/Plaza offers:
- 168 spacious guestrooms, all of which feature a swiveling 42-inch HDTV, the plush Hyatt Grand Bed® and Cozy Corner sectional sofa – all with separate spaces to sleep, work and play
- Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
- Complimentary a.m. Kitchen Skillet™, a free hot breakfast for guests available daily in the Gallery Kitchen, features hot breakfast items, fresh fruit, oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, fresh-baked pastries, premium coffee, an assortment of juices and more
- 24/7 Gallery Menu & Market serving freshly prepared meals anytime, day or night and perfectly packaged sandwiches and salads
- Coffee to Cocktails Bar featuring specialty coffees and premium beers, as well as wines and cocktails
- Odds & Ends program for forgotten items that guests can buy, borrow or enjoy for free
- 566 square feet of flexible, high-tech meeting/function space and connected to the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Conference and Event Center, accommodating up to 200 people for meetings and events
- 24-hour StayFit Gym featuring cardio equipment with LDC touchscreens and free ear buds
- Curated Art Collection with custom-designed pieces that will be featured in the lobby and cascade outside of the hotel onto the sidewalk at the corner of Wilson and Adams for passersby to enjoy
“Arlington is a vibrant community that enjoys both a warm neighborhood feel and an ever-expanding list of must-see places and experiences,” said Ray Schupp, president and owner at Schupp Companies.
“We are fortunate Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is centrally located so guests are just steps away from the best of Arlington. We are confident this hotel will exceed expectations and deliver a memorable experience for all.”
Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is under the leadership of General Manager Shiela Shrestha and Director of Sales Nasima Alam. In her role, Shrestha is directly responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the hotel, including overseeing the hotel’s 40 associates and ensuring guests encounter the purposeful service for which the Hyatt Place brand is known. Alam is responsible for providing sales service and support to travelers and meeting planners frequenting the Arlington, Va. area.
Photos courtesy Hyatt
An unknown male caller phoned in the bomb threat Tuesday afternoon. No explosives were found.
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
BOMB THREAT, 160816032, 1400 block of N. Courthouse Road. At approximately 1:20 p.m on August 16, an unknown male subject called an office within the courthouse building and made a bomb threat. A K-9 sweep of the building was conducted with negative results. There is no suspect(s) description.
On Monday night, a resident in the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood, near Rosslyn, reported hearing a loud “pop” inside their home.
Police arrived and found that a single gunshot had been fired into the residence. From ACPD:
MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED DWELLING, 160815043, 1200 block of N. Rhode Street. At approximately 9:17 p.m. on August 15, two residents heard a loud pop inside their residence. Upon police investigation, it was determined that a single gunshot round had entered the residence causing minor damage. Police conducted checks in the area and found no similar incidents. There is no suspect(s) description and the investigation is ongoing.
The rest of the past week’s crime report highlights, after the jump.
(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) There are various lists for D.C. area football fans, telling them where they can watch their favorite NFL team. There is but one team that’s missing across all of those lists: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Even Reddit can’t figure out a decent place to go out and watch a Tampa Bay game with like-minded fans, save a couple suggestions for suburban bars that show every NFL game.
Sure, the Bucs have the worst all-time winning percentage in the league. But the NFL has some of the most fervent fans of any sports league in the country — heck, the local Browns Backers bar packs it in losing season after losing season. One would think in a melting pot city like D.C., there’d be a bar — just one bar — that a Bucs fan can call (mostly) their own.
Enter Brent Robson.
When he moved to the D.C. area three years ago, he immediately joined the alumni organization for his Florida Gators. Every Saturday in the fall, he’d head to Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill (2424 Wilson Blvd) in Courthouse to cheer on the team.
Then, on Sunday — nada.
“I was hoping to find the same type of setup and atmosphere for my Tampa Bay Buccaneers of which I am also a big fan,” Robson told ARLnow.com. “Many other big name teams, such as the Patriots, Steelers, Cowboys, and Packers, have official designated watch party bars, yet the Bucs do not.”
This year, Robson decided to take matters into his own hands.
“I went to the owner of Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill and pitched the idea of becoming the official D.C. Bucs bar on Sundays,” he recounted. “The owner has had such success with the Gator watch parties and is such a big supporter of the Florida sports fans, he immediately got on board with the idea.”
Arlington Rooftop’s Scott Porter said Robson’s enthusiasm, and the success of his deal with the University of Florida alumni, helped to convince him.
“The Gator fans pack this place from top to bottom!” Porter said. “Brent and his colleges were interested in getting the majority of the Gator fan base back here on Sunday to enjoy the NFL games and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So we said yes! We are excited to be the official host bar, and if it’s anything like the Gators game on Saturdays it’s going to be a great time and season.”
Robson is now focused on getting the word out and drumming up support among other Bucs fans. If being able to watch the game with other Tampa Bay diehards wasn’t enough to get people to show up, he’s hoping some hometown flavor can seal the deal.
“[Arlington Rooftop] has agreed to offer special food and drink discounts specific for Bucs gamedays,” Robson said, “as well as imported kegs of Cigar City beer straight from Tampa.”
The Buccaneers regular season opener against Atlanta is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 11 at 1 p.m.
(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton would help fix Memorial Bridge and the Metro system if she is elected president, local congressman Don Beyer said today.
Speaking at a brief press conference outside the Courthouse Metro station, Rep. Beyer (D-Va.) said Clinton would make it a top priority in her first 100 days in office to break through Washington’s gridlock and make the biggest investment in jobs and infrastructure since World War II.
Her economic plan would add jobs to the economy via investments in U.S. infrastructure, Beyer said, including Northern Virginia’s “two great priorities” — Memorial Bridge and Metrorail.
Without more investment, Metro’s long-term capital budget and the deteriorating bridge — which just received a federal grant — would continue to suffer, he said.
“We know the incredibly important role that infrastructure plays in job creation, economic development and raising incomes,” Beyer said. “In Virginia, we expect our leaders to enact policies that help our economy thrive. Hillary Clinton is committed to building an economy that works for everyone in Virginia and America, not just those at the top.”
Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden’s former chief economic adviser, who joined Beyer and Del. Charniele Herring (D) at the news conference, said Clinton’s plan would have economic benefits for everyone.
“Hillary Clinton’s vision is an inclusive vision where economic growth benefits not just those at the very top, but middle class and lower-income households as well, where investments are made not simply in the bank accounts of those at the very top of the scale, but in people across the income scale,” he said.
According to the Clinton campaign, an analysis by Moody’s economist and former McCain adviser Mark Zandi suggests that Clinton’s economic plan would create 271,000 jobs in Virginia, compared to a projected loss of 89,000 jobs under Republican nominee Donald Trump’s economic plan. (Trump updated his plan in a speech today.)
Not everybody was impressed with the mid-morning press conference. An ART bus driver, picking passengers up at a nearby bus stop, asked a news photographer what was going on. Upon hearing that it was a pro-Hillary press conference, and that the candidate would not be attending, the driver said he was voting for Trump, before driving off.
Put up in only two days near the Courthouse Plaza surface parking lot, workers cleaned up the area, painted the concrete, and added plants and furniture, transforming it into a public square similar to larger efforts done in places like New York’s Times Square.
Its purpose is to show the public what the entire parking lot might look like if it were to be transformed into a town square under the “Envision Courthouse Square” plan.
The plan calls for putting the parking underground, thus making way for a large, open green space and some new development.
— Plan Arlington VA (@planArlingtonVA) August 4, 2016
— Plan Arlington VA (@planArlingtonVA) August 4, 2016
Pop-up plaza's first visitor, he even wore a matching shirt pic.twitter.com/0fQO7LQ9VY
— Plan Arlington VA (@planArlingtonVA) August 4, 2016
Dems Press Advantage in Arlington — Have you encountered voter registration volunteers in Clarendon and in Arlington’s other Metro corridor locales? They’re likely part of the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s effort to deliver votes for Hillary Clinton this fall. Heavily Democratic Arlington is key to Democratic candidates in statewide races. The ACDC is trying to boost turnout among those who live in apartments and condos to reach the goal of a 50,000 vote margin of victory. [InsideNova]
Groundbreaking for Courthouse Office Building — The groundbreaking for a new office building at 2311 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse is likely just days away, after its anchor tenant, Opower, confirmed that it will be moving forward with its lease. Opower was recently purchased by tech giant Oracle, throwing plans for the building — and for Opower staying in Arlington — in doubt. [Washington Business Journal]
Citizen’s Police Academy Accepting Applications — The Arlington County Police Department is now accepting applications for its 19th Citizen’s Police Academy this fall. The program “is designed to create better understanding and communication between citizens and the police through education,” ACPD said in a press release. “Some of the topics of discussion include: police hiring, legal considerations, use of force, vehicle operations, community engagement, K9, SWAT and mental health crisis intervention.” [Arlington County]
Arlingtonians Fascinated By Chinese Bus — ARLnow.com has been bombarded with tweets and emails from readers about a new “elevated” bus in China that straddles and drives over traffic. Is it cool? Absolutely. Is it a possible transit solution for Columbia Pike? Probably not — the new Freedman’s Bridge that carries traffic on Washington Blvd over the Pike almost certainly doesn’t have enough clearance. [Jalopnik]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
A new independent coffee shop is slated to open at some point in the near future in the Clarendon area.
The shop, called Blumen Cafe, is coming to the space that formerly held CD Cellar at 2607 Wilson Blvd, which is about halfway between the Courthouse and Clarendon Metro stations. Signs for the forthcoming cafe state that the business is “coming soon.”
Though we were unable to contact the proprietor behind the cafe, Andira Jabbari, for comment, real estate agent Kenneth Matzkin — who helped lease the property to Jabbari — was able to provide some insight.
The cafe will bring “high-end teas and coffee” and snacks to the space as early as some time this month, Matzkin said.
“They’re putting in a boatload of money to make it look nice,” Matzkin said. “They’re also going to open it up in the front so you could walk directly to the sidewalk from the space.”
But Matzkin cautioned that the end result is still subject to change.
Something knocked down a lamppost in Courthouse this afternoon.
The light toppled over in front of the CVS Pharmacy, near the Metro station. Luckily, no one was reported to be hurt by the falling mass of metal and glass.
The lamppost is located next to a bus stop. However, by the time an ARLnow.com reporter arrived on scene the lamppost had already been moved out of the middle of the sidewalk and none of the buses idling nearby had any sign of damage.
Minh Vietnamese Restaurant, located at 2500 Wilson Blvd, has closed citing lease issues and other business concerns.
There is a sign posted by the owners that reads “Dear Customers, We are very sorry to inform you that due to business concerns including our lease on this space, Minh has ceased operation effective immediately. We appreciate your patronage over the years we have been here, and we are sad to be leaving.”
The restaurant has been at that location for over 10 years and it was one of the few remaining Vietnamese restaurants in the Clarendon area, a hotbed of Vietnamese businesses before the construction of the Orange Line. It was said to be “one of the original Vietnamese restaurants that put Clarendon on the map.”
There is no word yet on whether those behind the restaurant plan on reopening in another location.
After years of construction, work on Courthouse Plaza is finally coming to a conclusion.
Tomorrow, a party is planned for the plaza’s reopening. The metal fencing, barricades and orange-vested workmen that have been plaguing the open area will be gone at last — leaving behind an attractive gathering space for shoppers and pedestrians.
It has been a long time in the making. We first reported that the project was behind schedule in 2011. In January, we reported that “all work is expected to be completed by this April.” Despite the delays, the project is delivering on its other promises.
The plaza now boasts an updated entryway. Trees planted along the brick walkway are surrounded by chairs, tables and wood planters that double as benches. There are potted plants, trees and metal tables. New brick pavers keep the area looking clean and organized.
With renovations to two parking garages and to the AMC movie theater, some of the nearby amenities were also improved during the long plaza project.
To celebrate, Arlington County, Courthouse Plaza owner Vornado and the Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Association are sponsoring a “Party on the Plaza.” The event is taking place this Thursday, July 21, from 5-7 p.m.
The event will feature music, games, free food and giveaways.
The driver of a car ran into the garage door to the Woodbury Heights condo building in Courthouse this morning.
The crash happened around 11 a.m., on 13th Street N. just a block from Arlington County Police headquarters. No significant injuries were reported.
The car that crashed into the garage door, an Infiniti, suffered front end damage.
A man in his mid-30s was helping an older man out of the back of the car when an ARLnow.com intern arrived on scene. “Photos are over,” the man said before walking back into the building.
This coming Tuesday, the National Geographic channel will air an episode of its “No Man Left Behind” series featuring the heroic story of a Courthouse resident and former Army special forces soldier.
The story, as reported in this Washington Post article, takes place in Afghanistan’s infamous Shok Valley, as a group of Green Berets are lured into a trap and ambushed by enemy fighters.
“In 2008, while on a daring raid in Afghanistan, US Green Beret Sergeant First Class, Dillon Behr suffered two gunshot wounds, one to his right bicep and one to his right pelvis/hip, as well as severe abdominal injuries,” said show notes sent by a Nat Geo PR rep. “In No Man Left Behind, he shares the unbelievable story of survival, recalling how his team managed to hold off the enemy for seven hours, despite several of them being injured, until they finally evacuated the wounded and returned to safety.”
Behr and his fellow Green Berets recount their experience during the hour-long show.
“I felt this strange calm and I remember thinking this is it, this is the moment I’m going to die,” he said.
Per the show notes: “Behr was treated for his injuries at Walter Reed Medical Center, and has been living in the D.C. metro area ever since. He received a Master’s Degree from Georgetown University and currently works for a cyber security firm. Up until a few months ago, he also ran a non-profit cross-fit gym for injured soldiers at Walter Reed.”
The episode will air Tuesday, July 12 at 9 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel.
Updated at 7:10 p.m. — There were 10 passengers in the stalled elevator, we’re told. They were freed after about 40 minutes on the elevator.
@ARLnowDOTcom I was on the elevator with 9 other people!! Stuck for about 40 mins with off and on light smoke
— Liza Parrish (@lizaparrish) June 28, 2016
Earlier: A large number of fire department vehicles have responded to the Courthouse Metro station for a possible elevator issue.
Initial, unconfirmed reports suggest a number of people are stuck on an elevator that’s filling with smoke due to an electrical or mechanical malfunction. There’s also a report of light smoke in an elevator service room.
Firefighters and Metro elevator technicians are working to safely get the elevator to ground level, where the passengers can be evaluated by paramedics, according to scanner traffic.
There is thus far no indication that Metrorail service has been affected.
— Alli Henry (@GenY4Transit) June 28, 2016
#ACFD on scene of a stalled elevator w/ several occupants at Courthouse Metro. Removal of people underway.
— ACFD Firefighters (@IAFF2800) June 28, 2016