49°Fog

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 22, 2018 at 4:30 pm 0

A Crystal City to Reagan National Airport pedestrian connection is feasible, according to a study conducted by the Crystal City Business Improvement District.

The study, released today (Thursday), determined that the connection would allow most Crystal City residents and employees to walk to the airport within approximately 15 minutes. The connection would link the airport’s terminal B/C parking garage with a JBG Smith private office building complex on Crystal Drive near 20th Street S.

Construction is estimated to cost approximately $38 million, with annual maintenance fees of $100,000. Various possible pedestrian connection configurations, including both open air and enclosed setups, were illustrated in the study. One configuration envisions the pedestrian bridge as a park-like destination, akin to New York City’s High Line.

The majority of airport arrivals are via either private car or taxi. Only 12 percent of arrivals are via Metro, according to the study.

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 14, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

Shaheen Hossini likes when Valentine’s Day is in the middle of the week.

When the holiday falls on the weekend or a Monday, her floral arrangements business, Crystal City’s Flowers With Love, scrambles to deliver sometimes hundreds of rose bouquet orders as early in the day as possible. The florists can’t encourage people to have their arrangements delivered a few days in advance, because people won’t be in the office to enjoy them for as long.

But when the holiday is later in the work week, it’s easier for Hossini to encourage customers to have early deliveries.

“A lot of times, people are not expecting the flowers on Monday or Tuesday, because they’re thinking Valentine’s is on Wednesday,” said Hossini, a Springfield, Va., resident. “It gives them an opportunity to enjoy the flowers earlier.”

Flowers With Love only has two full-time employees and a part-time employee, but several seasonal employees are hired each Valentine’s Day just to keep up with the high volume of orders.

Ranard Wood, a seasonal employee and resident of D.C.’s Cleveland Park neighborhood, has been working with flowers for the last 45 or 50 years. He loves arranging flowers, preferably tropical bouquets or hydrangeas, but since retirement he rarely works except for at Hossini’s store around Valentine’s Day.

“She’s the only one who can bring me out to do this, because this is insane this time of year,” said Wood, pointing toward Hossini along the arrangement bar, where slews of Ecuadorian and Colombian roses cover the counter.

In the two or three days leading up to Valentine’s Day, Hossini’s store makes about 10-15% of their annual sales. Mother’s Day and the Christmas season are their next busiest times of year, but Valentine’s Day is another level. That demand leads to higher markup for roses in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, as rose growers stop cutting to prepare for the February 14 onslaught.

The markups can range from an additional 100% per rose to as high as an extra 140%, which leads to higher prices for the florists and, in turn, for the customers. Beginning in early December, the prices shoot up, incrementally raising higher and higher closer to mid-February.

The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend two billion dollars on Valentine’s Day flowers in 2018. Total planned Valentine’s Day spending is up nationwide, from $18.2 billion in 2017 to a projected $19.8 billion this year.

“There used to be a time where we would depend on the phones and at a certain point we would turn them off,” Hossini explained. “But now, with internet e-florists, we get so much business from that. We think we’re not that busy but the orders are coming through on the computer.”

“You turn around and there’s 10 orders on the computer and you’re like — ahhh!”

This is the only time of year that Flowers With Love, bought by Hossini in 1998 from the original owner, does a lot of walk-in business. Much of their business comes from party work for the businesses and hotels in Crystal City.

Flowers With Love is one of only a few florists in Arlington, according to Hossini, but having competition from elsewhere in the county is actually a good thing around Valentine’s Day, when there are sometimes just too many orders to fill at the last minute for one store.

“We can only do so much, and everyone wants flowers,” said Hossini.

by ARLnow.com February 14, 2018 at 9:25 am 0

Crystal City Could Be Big Budget Winner — Commercial real estate analysts expect Crystal City and the Dulles Toll Road corridor to be the big winners from the new spending bill that was signed into law last week, boosting domestic and military budgets. Crystal City is also among the Northern Virginia locales under consideration for Amazon’s HQ2. [Bisnow]

Park Police Chief Cancels Meeting with BeyerUpdated at 12:30 p.m. — The chief of the U.S. Park Police cancelled a scheduled meeting yesterday with Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Beyer and Norton are seeking answers in the fatal Park Police shooting of Bijan Ghaisar, who fled from a reported crash and then from officers before being shot in Fairfax County. USPP later released a statement explaining the chief’s decision. [WUSA 9, PDF]

Ballston to Hold Puppy Party Tomorrow — “Didn’t feel the love on Valentines Day? Join the Ballston BID for a puppy pick-me-up. All dogs present available for adoption through our partner, Homeward Trails. They bring the furry friends. Earl’s will bring the food.” [Ballston BID]

Charlie Clark on Arlington and Its History — “Clark compared the local population to the cast of the NBC show ‘Parks and Recreation,’ a group of honest, do-gooders who try their best but things still go awry. They’re a body of citizens that aren’t afraid to challenge their local governance on issues, pointing in particular to the struggle put up by local citizens last year when Arlington worked to relocate Fire Station 8.” [Arlington Connection]

Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Reservations — Procrastinators rejoice, a number of Arlington restaurants were, at last check, still taking reservations for Valentine’s Day dinner tonight. [Patch]

Flickr pool photo by Tim Brown

by Anna Merod February 7, 2018 at 5:15 pm 0

Registration is now open for Crosshairs Garage Races, formerly known as Wednesday Night Spins, in Crystal City.

The underground bike races will begin in March. The course will be set up on the G4 level of the parking garage at 201 12th Street S., Designed as a “dry criterium” course, it will feature plenty of turns and no dismounts.

In addition to the new name for the series, there’s also a new competition to see who can rack up the most points over the first four races.

“Crosshairs Garage Races challenges amateur and elite cyclists alike to compete weekly for prizes and points in pursuit of the ‘Petty Cup.’ Named in honor of Joseph Petty, the former Crystal City BID employee and Crosshairs racing team member who conceptualized the event, the Petty Cup is awarded to the racer in each category with the most points earned over the course of the first four weeks of the series (March 7th to 28th),” the Crystal City Business Improvement District said in a press release.

The event is free for spectators and $15 for most bicyclist race registrations. There will also be a pop-up bar.

Here’s the list of upcoming races:

  • March 7
    • Beginners’ Race Series, 6:30 p.m.
    • Women’s Open Series, 7:25 p.m.
    • Open Race Series, 8:25 p.m.
  • March 14
    • Beginners’ Race Series, 6:30 p.m.
    • Women’s Open Series, 7:25 p.m.
    • Open Race Series, 8:25 p.m.
  • March 21
    • Beginners’ Race Series, 6:30 p.m.
    • Women’s Open Series, 7:25 p.m.
    • Open Race Series, 8:25 p.m.
  • March 28
    • Beginners’ Race Series, 6:30 p.m.
    • Women’s Open Series, 7:25 p.m.
    • Open Race Series, 8:25 p.m.
  • April 4
    • Beginner/Intermediate/Junior Open Race, 6:30 p.m.
    • Feds v. Contractors Race, 7:25 p.m.
    • Cargo Bike/Tandem/Bikeshare Showdown, 8 p.m.
    • Fixed Gear Finale, 8:25 p.m.

Crosshairs Garage Races is hosted by the Crystal City BID in partnership with JBG Smith and In The Crosshairs.

Photo courtesy Crystal City/Bruce Buckley Photography

by ARLnow.com February 5, 2018 at 2:00 pm 0

Two men robbed a woman of her purse and cash early Sunday morning in the Westover area, according to police.

The robbery happened around 1 a.m. on the 5700 block of 10th Road N., a block or two from the Custis Trail. The woman was not harmed and the suspects fled in a pickup truck, police said.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ROBBERY, 2018-02040017, 5700 block of 10th Road N. At approximately 1:00 a.m. on February 4, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that a female victim exited her vehicle and was walking to her residence when she was approached by two male suspects, who demanded her purse and money. The two suspects stole the victim’s purse and other items of value and fled in a dark blue two-door pickup truck driven by a third suspect. Responding officers canvassed the area with negative results. Suspect One is described as a medium-skinned black male, approximately 5’8-5’10, medium build, in his early 20’s, wearing a black cap, a long black jacket with a hood, with a beige jacket underneath and black shoes. Suspect Two is described as a black male. There is no description of the third suspect. The investigation is ongoing.

Also over the weekend, a Purcellville man was arrested and charged with drunkenly brandishing a gun at a security guard in Crystal City.

From ACPD:

BRANDISHING, 2018-02030233, 200 block of 18th Street S. At approximately 9:37 p.m. on February 3, police were dispatched to the report of a brandishing. Upon arrival, it was determined that a security guard was patrolling the area on foot when a male suspect walked past him. The security guard looked back and observed the suspect allegedly brandishing a firearm at him. Responding officers canvased the area and located a suspect matching the description provided by the victim. Trevor Burns, 23, of Purcellville, VA, was arrested and charged with Brandishing a Firearm, Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Carrying a Concealed Handgun Under the Influence of Alcohol and Drunk in Public.

by ARLnow.com February 5, 2018 at 10:15 am 0

An elevated portion of S. Clark Street is closing today ahead of a planned demolition project.

The $6.3 million project will remove the existing roadway and create new open space, sidewalks, landscaping and lighting, while also creating new development opportunities adjacent to Route 1.

The S. Clark Street overpass was underutilized, according to county traffic studies, but it was useful for those seeking a faster way to get from one side of Crystal City to the other.

Major work on the demolition project is expected to begin in March and wrap up in the summer of 2019. More from Arlington County about what to expect during the project:

The demolition project will generally work from north to south starting with the removal of the 15th Street overpass, scheduled to start in March.

  • Throughout the project, some detours will be in place to accommodate removal of the bridge structure. The first of these closures will be on 15th Street in early spring 2018. Details will be shared on the project webpage and in this email update as the temporary street closures are scheduled.
  • The at-grade portions of 14th Road South (between 12th and 15th Streets) and South Bell Street (between 15th and 18th Streets) will remain open throughout and after the demolition.
  • East-west pedestrian access under elevated Clark Street will be maintained throughout the duration of this project.
  • During removal of the bridges over 15th Street and 18th Street, one side of the sidewalk under the bridge will be closed but the other side will remain open.

Photo via Google Maps

by Anna Merod February 2, 2018 at 2:55 pm 0

The Stand, a food stand in Crystal City that has been open since November, has some new offerings.

The food stand, which is located along Crystal Drive, adjacent to the Crystal City water park and an entrance to the Mt. Vernon Trail, has a rotating menu reflecting new food trends in the area.

Here is what The Stand is offering throughout February:

by Anna Merod January 31, 2018 at 4:45 pm 0

The annual Crystal Couture fashion show in Crystal City will return this weekend.

The free event includes models walking the catwalk in fashions from local designers, plus more than two dozen pop-up shops from local boutiques and designers. There will also be a bar and free five-minute makeup and hair makeovers.

The event is scheduled for Friday (Feb. 2) from 5-9 p.m. and Saturday (Feb. 3) from 2-9 p.m.

Special guest hosts slated for appearances include Ashley Darby from the Real Housewives of Potomac, media personality Paul Wharton and Sunni from radio station WPGC.

by Chris Teale January 29, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

A section of Army Navy Drive could go down to one lane for cars in each direction under a Complete Streets plan being considered by the county.

County staff wrote that the project would rebuild Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City as a street “featuring enhanced bicycle, transit, environmental and pedestrian facilities.”

The lane reduction would take place between S. Eads Street and 12th Street S., and staff said it would help connect various local neighborhoods and landmarks.

“The goal of the project is to improve the local connections between the Pentagon and the commercial, residential and retail services of Pentagon City and Crystal City,” staff wrote.

Other changes include planted medians instead of raised concrete medians, and new bike lanes.

“The reconstruction will provide a physically separated two-way protected bicycle lane facility along the south side of Army Navy Drive, in addition to shorter and safer pedestrian crossings, and will accommodate future high-capacity transit,” said the county’s website. “Motor vehicle travel lanes will be reduced in number where appropriate and will be narrowed to dimensions appropriate for a slower urban context.”

The project would also extend the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway into Pentagon City by adding a dedicated bus lane on Army Navy Drive, and link to the bike lanes planned for S. Clark Street between 12th Street S. and 15th Street S.

Staff will host an Army Navy Drive Complete Streets Workshop on Wednesday, January 31 from 4-7 p.m. at the Aurora Hills Branch Library (735 18th Street S.). The meeting will be an open forum to discuss the project.

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2020, and be complete in spring 2022.

Image No. 1 via county staff. Image No. 2 via Google Maps.

by ARLnow.com January 8, 2018 at 8:15 am 0

Ice Training for ACFD Water Rescue Team — While you were enjoying your weekend, snug in your warm home amid 10 degree weather, the Arlington County Fire Department’s water rescue team was using a chainsaw to cut holes in the ice on the Potomac and then jumping in. [Washington Post]

Freezing Rain Still Expected Tonight — A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect tonight, as forecasters expect freezing rain to fall this afternoon and potentially make for a very messy evening commute. [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]

Civic Federation Seeking County Event Help — The Arlington County Civic Federation is asking county government to help make it more affordable for civic associations to hold events on county property. Currently, there are insurance requirements that eat into civic associations’ meager budgets. [InsideNova]

Metro Proposes Refunds for Delays — “Under the proposal, riders would receive an automatic credit on their SmarTrip card if their trip is delayed by 15 minutes or more. Staff will ask Metro’s board to approve the change this week… The refunds would only be given during the weekday rush period.” [NBC Washington]

Crystal City Startup Scores $3 Million — Stardog Union, a “Enterprise Knowledge Graph startup” based in Crystal City, has added $3 million to its Series A venture funding round. The funding will be used for “marketing, sales and speeding up product development.” [Technically DC]

Notable Local Runner Publishes Novel — “Arlington marathon champion Jay Jacob Wind has published his first novel, a techno-thriller entitled The Man Who Stole the Sun, available now on Amazon Kindle and hand-printed by mail-order. ‘It is the first marathon terror fiction novel, based on the Marine Corps Marathon though Washington, DC, since the very real Boston Marathon bombing nearly five years ago, in April, 2013,’ Wind said.” [PRNewswire]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by ARLnow.com January 4, 2018 at 5:15 pm 0

Update at 3:25 p.m. — The charges have been posted in Friday’s Arlington County Police Department crime report.

NARCOTICS VIOLATION (Significant), 2018-01040111, 2200 block of S. Clark Street. At approximately 3:30 p.m. on January 4, police executed a narcotics search warrant and one suspect was taken into custody. Jacob Hill, 36, of Fairfax, VA was arrested and charged with manufacturing, selling, giving, distributing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute a controlled substance and transporting a controlled substance.

Earlier: A man was arrested by a heavily-armed SWAT team in the middle of Crystal City today, to the surprise of residents and office workers who watched it happen.

It happened around 3:30 p.m. in the parking lot behind the WeWork and WeLive building in Crystal City (2221 S. Clark Street). Video and photos posted to Twitter show three dark SUVs filled with heavily-armed law enforcement personnel surrounding a man in a light-colored SUV. Damage is visible on the light SUV’s windshield as the man surrenders to police.

In a brief statement, the Arlington County Police Department confirmed that they were involved in the arrest and that it was drug related.

“Arlington County Police executed a narcotics search warrant in the 2200 block of S. Clark Street,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “A diversionary device was utilized and one suspect was taken into custody. No injuries were reported. The investigation is ongoing at this time.”

by ARLnow.com January 3, 2018 at 8:45 am 0

New ‘Best of Arlington’ List — Arlington Magazine is out with its annual “Best of Arlington” list. This year’s winners include The Liberty Tavern for Best Restaurant in Arlington, Ambar Clarendon for Best New Restaurant and Clare & Don’s Beach Shack in Falls Church for Best Outdoor Dining.

Tattoo Expo Returning — The D.C. Tattoo Expo is coming back to Arlington for another year. The expo is being held Jan. 12-14 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott. [D.C. Tattoo Expo]

Arlington Commute Near Average — Arlington residents have a 28.3-minute commute from home to work, on average, comparable to the statewide average of 28.1 minutes, according to the Census Bureau’s latest American Communities Survey. [InsideNova]

Snow, Bitter Cold in Forecast — A ‘monster storm’ will bring bitter cold, strong winds and — according to the latest forecasts — 1-2 inches of snow between tonight and Thursday afternoon. The National Weather Service is warning of possible impacts on the Thursday morning commute. [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter, Twitter]

NBC Profiles ‘Arlington Ladies’ — The “Arlington Ladies,” a group of women who are a part of every funeral at Arlington National Cemetery since 1948, were profiled by Lester Holt on last night’s NBC Nightly News broadcast. [NBC News]

REIT Acquires Rosslyn Office Building — “Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (NYSE: WRE) has reached a deal to acquire a Rosslyn office tower for $250 million, one of its largest office deals in recent history as the District-based developer seeks to rebalance its D.C.-area portfolio.” [Washington Business Journal]

by ARLnow.com December 22, 2017 at 8:15 am 0

New Renderings of Crystal City Development — Property owner JBG Smith “has unveiled never-before-seen concept images of its planned 50,000-square-foot Alamo Drafthouse Cinema fronting Crystal Drive, a yet-unnamed specialty grocer and the future look of an office building it plans to convert to multifamily. The images were presented to Arlington County’s Site Plan Review Committee earlier this month.” [Washington Business Journal]

Pentagon City Mall Holiday Hours — Arlington’s biggest shopping mall, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, will be open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Christmas Eve (Sunday) for last-minute shoppers. The mall will be closed on Christmas and open from 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m. on Boxing Day (Tuesday).

Aurora Highlands Chimney Fire — Thankfully happening prior to Santa’s arrival, a smoky fire broke out in the chimney of a home in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood last night. Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames before they could potentially spread. [Twitter]

Photo courtesy Peter Golkin

by ARLnow.com December 15, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Chamber Calls for Pause on Housing Conservation District — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce is calling for the Arlington County Board to pump the brakes on a proposed Housing Conservation District policy, set for a vote at tomorrow’s Board meeting. The Chamber says the policy would affect more than 450 privately-owned properties. “The County’s failure to provide any notice to property owners that would be affected by the Framework is inconsistent with Arlington’s established government process and the level of transparency the community has come to depend on,” said Chamber President Kate Bates. [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

Carlin Springs Bridge Work to ResumeDemolition of the Carlin Springs Road Bridge over George Mason Drive was curtailed by winter weather last weekend, but is set to resume this weekend. Drivers should expect a number of detours in the area. [Twitter]

Fisette Tribute Packs Local Church — “A Dec. 13 tribute to departing Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette was about 90 percent heartfelt thanks for his 20 years of service in elected office. And about 10 percent celebrity roast.” The event was so well-attended that the parking lot of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington was filled to capacity by those whom Fisette has not yet convinced to take the Car-Free Diet. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Gossip: Britt McHenry Back on Local Airwaves? — A noted local Twitter user who goes by the name “Clarendon Bros” shared some local TV gossip last night, claiming that Britt McHenry was seen auditioning for a job at Fox 5. McHenry at one point lived in Arlington — it is unclear if she still does — and had a well-publicized run-in with local towing company Advanced Towing. [Twitter]

Fox Leaves Crystal City BID — “After more than a decade running the Crystal City Business Improvement District, Angela Fox is stepping down. The BID’s board of directors announced Fox’s departure Thursday, but has not named a permanent replacement.” [Bisnow]

Local Homebuilder Getting Bigger — “Arlington-based homebuilder CalAtlantic Homes is purchasing Home South Communities, a privately held homebuilder based in the Atlanta area. CalAtlantic itself is in the midst of a $9.3 billion merger with Miami’s Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN), expected to close early next year.” [Washington Business Journal]

Realtor Group Extends Clothing and Food Drive — “Despite the weather, the first community wide drop off for the Arlington Realtors Care (ARC) initiative, held on Saturday, Dec. 9 was a great success. ARC is sponsoring a second community wide drop off date scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 16 at RGS Title.” [Press Release]

by Chris Teale December 11, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

A longtime Mexican restaurant in Crystal City has closed its doors.

Cantina Mexicana at 515 23rd Street S. shuttered late last month. An employee who answered the phone at the restaurant’s location just off Columbia Pike confirmed the closure, which he said happened “a couple of weeks ago.”

He added that several employees from the Crystal City eatery had made the switch over to its other location, on Columbia Pike. That location has been open since 2013 and a sign on the door encourages patrons to continue visiting it.

“Thanks for the memories!” the sign reads. “It’s been a great journey. We sincerely appreciate your friendship and all your patronage the last 40 years!”

The restaurant served “fine Tex-Mex cuisine,” and had been in business in various guises since 1978. In 1995, former dishwasher Gloria Arias bought the restaurant, then known as The Taco House, and in 2005 changed its name to Cantina Mexicana.

Hat-tip to Michael H.

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