The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is organizing the 5-6 mile evening rides with Bike Arlington.
First up tonight is the Secrets of Crystal City. The ride will start tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Crystal City Water Park, on the 1700 block of Crystal Drive, and end just down the street at TechShop around 8 p.m.
“On our ‘Secrets of Crystal City’ ride, we’ll open your eyes to a whole new side of one of Arlington’s signature neighborhoods,” WABA said on the event’s website.
The rides continue weekly, with a tour of Shirlington on Oct. 14 and a ride through Ballston on Oct. 28. Another ride will take cyclists across the river on a haunted ghost ride on Capitol Hill in D.C. on Oct. 23.
Reservations for each tour costs $10, but it’s half off for WABA members and free for Capital Bikeshare members. Participants must provide their own bikes and helmets. The rides are open to anyone over 14 years old.
The tour is also accepting walk-ups depending on the amount of available space in the tour group. Walk-up riders can participate for free.
(Updated at 1:50 p.m.) There will be a “frenzy” at the Crystal City Farmer’s Market next week, as the Crystal City Business Improvement District gives away tropical plants ahead of the cold weather months.
Prospective adoptive plant owners can stop by the Crystal City BID’s tent to pick up a fern, palm tree or other tropical flora at 3 p.m. next Tuesday, Oct. 13 at the Crystal City FreshFarm Farmer’s Market.
The BID gets the plants for its “Floral Frenzy-Tropical Storm” event through a partnership with Vornado/Charles E. Smith, said BID president Angie Fox. Vornado removes the tropical plants in its planters around Crystal City to replace them with evergreen trees for the winter — the BID then gives away the old plants.
“Tropical Storm allows community residents and workers to rescue tropical ferns and other plants that would otherwise be thrown into the compost pile,” the BID said on its website.
The palm trees given away can grow up to 7 or 8 feet tall, can live year-round inside and are not difficult to keep alive, Fox said.
“We bring them out and Vornado brings planters, and people just grab [plants] and walk down the street,” she said.
The event, which is part of the BID’s Crystal Green program, is well attended and plants are usually gone within 30 minutes, Fox said.
“Tropical Storm is a great way for Crystal City residents and workers to adopt plants and support sustainable landscaping practices within our community,” Fox said in a statement. “The Floral Frenzy program provides hundreds of plants for re-use annually while celebrating Crystal City’s beautifully landscaped streetscapes and open spaces.”
The farmers market takes place on Tuesdays from 3-7 p.m. on Crystal Drive, between 18th and 20th streets. The market’s last day of the year is Nov. 24.
Photo courtesy of the Crystal City BID. Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Construction on the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway will continue through the fall after being delayed by construction conflicts.
“Unforeseen utility conflicts, poor soil conditions and underground obstructions slowed work at several station locations,” the county said on the project’s website.
Arlington County is currently working with contractors to set a new completion date for the project, said county spokesman Eric Balliet, adding that the county will update the community once a schedule has been set.
The county is also holding a public meeting next week to give an update on transitway. The meeting on Oct. 8 will be held at the Residence Inn (2800 S. Potomac Avenue) from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Currently, the county is working on new transitway lanes and on three of the new stations, Balliet said. Crystal Drive, S. Clark Street and S. Bell Street are affected by the road construction, he added.
“New dedicated transit lanes in Potomac Yard are nearing completion,” Balliet said. “Traffic signs and station signage are being installed, and we’ve started testing LED signs and other technologies that will support the transitway. Our contractor recently resumed construction at several station locations where utility conflicts, poor soils and underground obstructions had slowed work.”
Once completed, the Crystal City Potomac Yard transitway will provide better bus service along the Route 1 corridor, especially during rush hour, the county said.
“The new 4.5-mile Transitway between the Crystal City and Braddock Road Metrorail stations will provide faster, more reliable bus service along the congested Route 1 corridor, with amenities designed to attract new riders,” the county said.
The transitway project broke ground in July 2014 and was originally slated to take 10 months.
Photo via Arlington County
Two new outposts of trendy local chain restaurants — Sweetgreen and Taylor Gourmet — are under construction in Crystal City.
Located in the former Corner Bakery space on the 2100 block of Crystal Drive, the restaurants are both expected this winter.
“The Crystal City location should be opening by the end of the year, though we don’t have a firm date to share just yet,” said a PR rep for Sweetgreen.
“We are thinking early 2016 right now,” Hilary Chattler of Taylor Gourmet told ARLnow.com last week.
This will be the second Arlington location for the two eateries; both have existing locations in Ballston. Corner Bakery closed in June.
The frightening incident happened just before 3 a.m. on Sept. 19, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on the 1400 block of Crystal Drive. The men made off with cash following the hold up, police say.
From the Arlington County Police crime report:
Three unknown subjects entered the [Crowne] Plaza Hotel with shotguns and stole an undisclosed amount of money. The subjects fled on foot. The first suspect is described as a mixed race male in his twenties, approximately 5’10”-6’1″ tall and weighed 175 lbs. He was wearing a black ski mask, a black hooded long sleeve North Face jacket, black pants, and black shoes. The second suspect is described as a white male in his twenties, approximately 5’9″-5’11” tall and weighed 210 lbs. He was wearing a black ski mask, a baggy brown jacket, black pants, and black shoes. The third suspect is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 6’0″ tall and weighed 155 lbs. He was wearing a black ski mask, a tight black jacket, black pants, and black shoes.
The Crystal City Business Improvement District wants to scare the daylights of people this October by holding a series of nighttime scary movie screenings.
The BID and Charles E. Smith/Vornado will show a scary movie every Monday in October, starting with 1989 horror flick “Pet Semetary” on Oct. 5 at approximately 6:45 p.m.
“With most of the area’s summer film series wrapping up before the fall, we saw an opportunity to expand the fun,” Crystal City BID President Angela Fox said in a statement. “The cooler fall temperatures and earlier sunsets combined with Halloween make for the perfect opportunity for a scary experience.”
Movies will be shown in the courtyard on S. Bell Street between 18th Street S. and 20th Street S. Attendees are encouraged to wear costumes to the screenings and can win a $20 to Schakolad Chocolate Factory (1750 Crystal Drive) by tweeting or Instagramming a photo with the hashtag #CrystalScream — a take on the name of the BID’s “Crystal Screen” summer movie series.
Each movie’s start will vary depending on sunset, between 6:15-6:45 p.m., but should before 8:30 p.m. The schedule is as follows:
- Oct. 5, 6:45 p.m. — Pet Sematary
- Oct. 12, 6:34 p.m. — Scream
- Oct. 19, 6:24 p.m. — Poltergeist
- Oct. 26, 6:15 p.m. — The Exorcist
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
The event is being held tomorrow (Sept. 17) at the new Bob & Edith’s Diner at 539 23rd Street S., from 4-7 p.m.
“Coffee with a Cop has no agenda or speeches,” says a flyer for the event. “The event is a chance to ask questions, voice concerns and get to know the officers in your District.”
One possible topic of concern for neighbors: the as-yet unsolved murder of Bonnie Delgado Black in nearby Aurora Highlands. Black’s ex-husband’s house, also in Aurora Highlands, was searched by investigators two weeks ago but so far no arrests have been made in the case.
Why Car2Go Can’t Cross the Border — Car2Go car-sharing service is launching in Arlington on Sept. 19, but users won’t be able to drive from Arlington and park in D.C., or vice versa. The District, which also has Car2Go service, is worried about traffic congestion and a loss of parking spaces to Arlington Car2Go users. Arlington officials have also expressed concern about allowing D.C. users park on Arlington streets, but appear more receptive to opening the Car2Go border. [Washington Post]
Arlington Kid’s Letter Read on Tonight Show — As part of a “Kid Letters” segment last night, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon read a letter from Caroline, who said she lives in Arlington. Caroline had a joke for Jimmy: “Which planet is God’s favorite planet? Saturn, because he put a ring on it.” Caroline also confessed that she has a crush on Fallon. [NBC]
APS Menus Now Online — Arlington Public Schools has put its breakfast and lunch menus online. The menus allow students and parents to review detailed nutritional information and to add funds to a prepaid meal account. Today, at Washington-Lee High School, students will have the choice of a 440 calorie chicken sandwich, a 324 calorie stuffed shell and breadstick meal, or a 304 calorie autumn fruit salad. APS also has a food-focused Twitter account. [Arlington Public Schools, Nutrislice, Twitter]
Nonprofits Moving from D.C. to Crystal City — Property owner Vornado has scored another new lease in Crystal City: the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Thanks to lower office rental rates, and generous concessions, Vornado has been steadily winning nonprofit tenants and reducing its vacancy rate, which soared due to the loss of military agencies following the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure plan. [Washington Business Journal]
Dems Select Winning Chili — Del. Alfonso Lopez and his legislative assistant, Jason Stanford, were the big winners at Monday’s annual Arlington County Democratic Committee Labor Day Chili Cookoff. Stanford’s “Fighting 49th” chili featured ingredients from the Columbia Pike farmers market and a secret seasoning blend that was inspired by the staffer’s Louisiana roots. The chili cookoff was held this year at the Barcroft Community House, due to construction on the usual venue, the Lyon Park Community Center. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Grill Kabob, a family-run chain, has opened a new location in Crystal City.
The new store at the corner of 23rd Street S. and S. Eads Street — in the former Cafe Pizzaiolo and Hearthstone Pizza space — opened on Sept. 1, and business has grown steadily each day, said manager David Rasoli.
“The people keep coming since day [one],” Rasoli said.
Grill Kabob (507 23rd Street S.) is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The restaurant is also planning to open for 24 hours one day a week, “which is good for Arlington, good for people, good for us,” he said.
The kabob place serves multiple types of kabobs, including ground chicken, ground beef, lamb, chicken and veggie.
“Nobody else has veggie kabobs,” Rasoli said.
The restaurant also sells falafel and gyros, and everything is made fresh. Recipes are a family tradition, and everything is kept the same throughout the 10 Grill Kabob locations, said Rasoli’s daughter Toba.
Rasoli said the most popular dishes are the chicken and ground chicken kabobs. All meals come with two sides of rice, homemade bread and a salad. For the grand opening of the store, Grill Kabob also offered chicken and lentil soup on the house.
The food is healthy, fresh and not made with any additives, Toba said.
“You’re getting the best of the best, basically,” she said.
The new kabob restaurant will have some competition with Kabob Place a couple buildings down on 23rd Street S.
The frozen yogurt store FroZenYo has closed its doors.
The store opened in 2011 amid a boom in local froyo joints. That expansion has gone cold and turned into a contraction.
A sign recently taped to the door said the FroZenYo at 2231 Crystal Drive is no more.
“This location is permanently closed,” the sign says. “Thanks for all of your business. Please visit our Eye Street location [at] 1634 I Street NW, D.C.”
Pentagon City and Crystal City may be connected by a multi-modal passageway by the end of the year.
The county is working with a private developer to expand 12th Street S. between S. Fern and S. Eads Streets to better connect Pentagon City and Crystal City.
The new extension, built by the private developer, will allow people to bike, walk or drive between the Pentagon City and Crystal City. MetroWay rapid transit buses would also use the new street to get from Pentagon City and Crystal City Metro stations, according to the Crystal City BID.
Two-way traffic on the new 12th Street S. extension is anticipated to start in 2016.
“This new roadway will become the main connection between Pentagon City and Crystal City. Considered the ‘Primary Transit’ street, 12th Street South has dedicated high-frequency transit service between Pentagon City and Potomac Yard,” according to Arlington County.
The entire project is anticipated to be completed in 2016, according to the project’s website, but a target date has not been set, said county spokesman Eric Balliet.
The southern part of the 12th Street S. extension is mostly complete. The developer still needs to install traffic lights and finish utility work before the road can open to one-way traffic, but Balliet said he did not know when that would happen.
“We expect this part of the street to open to one-way traffic later this year (no set date yet),” he said via email. The road is currently blocked off with gates and traffic cones, but pedestrians are able to use a sidewalk on the right side of the street.
The first half of 12th Street S. was constructed as part of the Metropolitan Park development project. Private developer Vornado is building a new complex with 22 levels, 699 apartments and 41,679 square feet of retail space next to 12th Street S.
A Whole Foods grocery store is also being built on the first level of the apartment building. There is no target opening date for the store, according to Katie Malloy, a PR rep for Whole Foods.
Metropolitan Park “completes the pedestrian streetscape along 12th Street for a seamless, urban experience between Pentagon City and Crystal City,” according to the Crystal City BID.
The northern half of 12th Street S. is expected to be completed next year, and is being constructed as an early part of the PenPlace development, Balliet said.
“I don’t have any updates about the timing of that portion,” he said.
PenPlace will sit next to the Marriott Residence Inn, off of Army Navy Drive and will extend to the new 12th Street S. The development, also being built by Vornado/Charles E. Smith, is projected to be five different buildings. The 16 to 22 story towers are expected to be office buildings, but one may be used for residential uses. A 300-room hotel is part of the five building plan and three connected open spaces are also being planned for the project.
There’s no word yet on when the bulk of the construction on PenPlace might begin.
The restaurant will open in the space of the recently closed Charlie Chiang’s (320 23rd Street S.).
The new restaurant will be called Queen Ammanisa and feature Uyghur food from province Xinjiang in Northwest China, a place formerly known as Turkestan, Maimaiti explained. Uygur cuisine is being discovered in other parts of the United States, Maimaiti said, but he and his partner Fatima Baikeli are anxious to bring it to the D.C. area.
Uyghur cooking is a product of its geography and therefore is a mix of Persian and Chinese cuisines. It has kebabs and noodles “like you’ve never had before,” Maimaiti said. Lamb, mutton and beef are common in Uyghur food, as are carrots, raisins and lots of vegetables, he wrote in an email. Uyghur food is often halal too, due to the ethnic group’s predominantly Muslim culture.
As for the name, the partners had planned to name the restaurant Amannisahan, as posted on the window of the building now, which was the name of their previous restaurant in Beijing, where the suffix “han” means queen. They have decided to change it to the English translation, “Queen Ammanisa.” Queen Ammanisa was a queen and musician from the region who lived in the sixteenth century.
The owner would not reveal a specific opening date but hopes that the restaurant will be able to open mid to late fall.
Charlie Chiang’s has closed in Crystal City.
The Chinese restaurant, at 320 23rd Street S., has posted signs on the doors directing customers to its Shirlington location at 4060 Campbell Avenue..
“Thank you for your years of patronage!” the signs say. “We have consolidated our operations with our Village at Shirlington location — Ping by Charlie Chiang’s… Please visit us there!”
Another sign on the door says that a new restaurant will be replacing Charlie Chiang’s and will be “opening soon.”
The new restaurant will be called Amannisahan and will serve Uyghur cuisine, according to the sign. In an indication that a quick reopening may indeed be in the works, Amannisahan says it’s currently hiring restaurant managers and waiters.
Uyghur food is a blend of Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Chinese cuisines, serving dishes like kebabs and noodle soups.
Flash Flood Watch Tonight — Arlington and much of the D.C. area is under a Flash Flood Watch tonight. The watch runs from 4 p.m. to midnight. Forecasters say storms with very heavy rain will pass through the region and may produce flash flooding. [Twitter]
Regional Home Prices Flat — The Washington region saw no year-over-year growth in the median sales price of single family homes in the second quarter of 2015. That comes at a time when 93 percent of metropolitan areas reported increases in median home sales prices. [InsideNova]
Highline Now Offering Sunday Brunch — Highline RxR in Crystal City is now offering Sunday brunch service. The bar/restaurant opened in February, in the former Bailey’s space above McCormick and Schmick’s. [Facebook]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
A damaged power line may be to blame for a large power outage in Crystal City this morning.
Power is out to numerous office and apartment buildings, mostly along Crystal Drive. Dominion Power says a failed underground electrical cable is to blame. They hope to have power restored within an hour.
The outage has closed restaurants and offices in the neighborhood, according to Twitter users.
A lot of Crystal City along Crystal Drive (Arlington, VA near Reagan Airport) is without power. @ARLnowDOTcom (as of 8:20amET)
— rydaka (@rydaka) August 17, 2015
The powers been out in crystal city since I got here this morning and this buildings starting to get all hot and muggy. Come on dominion
— Nick O'Baby (@nickohbaby) August 17, 2015
— Tina Worden (@tina_tinaworden) August 17, 2015
@ChickfilA closed for electrical issues in Crystal city. Day ruined.
— Frank Szita (@BakedSzita) August 17, 2015
— Brookland John (@brooklandjohn) August 17, 2015
Going home ! The power in crystal city is out!
— Bruce Wayne (@Mr_SnackWells) August 17, 2015
Lol Monday. No power in all of crystal city
— Ryan Sanders (@RSanders15) August 17, 2015