The events, which are free to attend, feature live music and, for paying customers, sips of various wine varietals.
“Expert noses from [Washington Wine Academy] help guests select and enjoy the perfect wine for an after work beverage to kick-off the weekend right amidst the calming sounds of falling water mixed with live music,” according to the Crystal City website.
This year, the event is being combined with ArtJamz, which offers aspiring artists paint and canvas so they can create their own paintings in a social setting.
Wine in the Waterpark and ArtJamz will run from 6:00-10:00 p.m. tonight and will take place every Friday in June at the Crystal City water park (1750 Crystal Drive).
On Wednesdays in June, from 5:00-8:00 p.m., Crystal City will hold Blues, Brews and Barks, featuring beer and live music in a dog-friendly setting. The event will take place at the 2121 Crystal Drive courtyard.
Attendees are encouraged to pick up food from local eateries before going to the park. Beverages will be available in the beer garden. Attendees can get two drink tickets for $5 if bought in advance.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
The Crystal City Business Improvement District has revealed the lineup for its annual outdoor summer movie festival. The theme this year: espionage.
The movies begin on June 1 at sunset with “Mission: Impossible.” Other spy-themed movies include “RED,” “Argo” and the “Bourne Identity” series.
The movies are shown weekly on Monday at sunset — around 8:30 p.m. — and are held rain or shine, except in the event of dangerous weather.
Families are encouraged to bring a blanket to the free event. The outdoor “theater” is located in the courtyard of an office building at 1851 S. Bell Street.
The lineup is:
- June 1 — Mission: Impossible
- June 8 — Mission: Impossible II
- June 15 — Mission: Impossible III
- June 22 — Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol
- June 29 — Charlie Wilson’s War
- July 6 — RED
- July 13 — Argo
- July 20 — Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- July 27 — Body of Lies
- Aug. 3 — Enemy of the State
- Aug. 10 — The Bourne Identity
- Aug. 17 — The Bourne Supremacy
- Aug. 24 — The Bourne Ultimatum
- Aug. 31 — The Bourne Legacy
During lunchtime this Wednesday, Crystal City’s weekly arts market, Sparket, will return for the 2015 season.
From 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. every Wednesday until Nov. 18, Crystal City’s arts market will occupy Crystal Drive between 18th and 20th Streets S., providing the areas thousands of office workers a place to go to shop for craft works like paintings, jewelry and pottery.
In addition to the art work, there will be products like home-made bath scrubs and soaps, greeting cards and “artisan food products,” according to the Crystal City Business Improvement District, which organizes the market.
Each week, the BID plans on hosting a variety of makers and vendors to give market attendees new items to peruse and new gifts to buy.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
At about 3:30 p.m., a pedestrian at 33rd Street S. and Jefferson Davis Highway in the Potomac Yard area was struck by a sedan.
The pedestrian was conscious, but couldn’t remember where he was, according to scanner traffic. He was transported to George Washington Hospital’s trauma center with a reported head injury. The striking vehicle remained on scene.
The northbound lanes of Jefferson Davis Highway were blocked while the injured pedestrian was treated and the Arlington County Police Department investigated the incident, but the road has since reopened.
The Air Force Association Cycling Classic will take place in Clarendon and Crystal City over the weekend of June 13 and. The event will have several races, inviting cyclists of all ages and skill levels to participate in the event most appropriate for them.
The premier race of the weekend is Saturday’s Clarendon Cup, a pro/am race that will take riders up and down Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards in the heart of the neighborhood. That race is part of the National Criterium Calendar, a 13-race tour organized by USA Cycling.
During the Challenge Ride, staffs from congressional representatives will be invited to compete as teams, racing for their party. There are also races for kids, competitive amateurs and opportunities to compete as corporate teams. The Challenge Ride costs $60 to participate, with a $10 discount for active, reserve and retired military members.
Sunday afternoon, the event will conclude with the Crystal Cup, another National Criterium Calendar race, that will take riders along Jefferson-Davis Highway and Crystal Drive in Crystal City.
The heralded 1776 tech incubator and seed fund is moving into Crystal City, bringing tech bonafides and millions of dollars with it.
Today, on the roof of 220 20th Street S., Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes, Vornado CEO Mitchell Shear, 1776 co-founders Evan Burfield and Donna Harris and former Disruption Corporation CEO, and now 1776 Managing Director, Paul Singh joined forces to make the announcement.
“We’re proud that this new partnership will be anchored in Crystal City, which is increasingly becoming a globally-recognized home for world-changing startups,” McAuliffe said. “This new, unprecedented level of regional collaboration removes the traditional regional boundaries, creating tremendous opportunity for broad-based economic growth that benefits the entire region, and offering a model for future, long-term economic growth throughout Virginia and the D.C. Metro area.”
As part of its deal to expand in Crystal City, 1776 acquired Singh’s Disruption Corporation, a combination of a venture fund and financial advisory firm. Disruption’s headquarters on the 10th floor of 2231 Crystal Drive will be 1776’s base of operations in Arlington, according to Crystal City Business Improvement District Angela Fox.
“One of the beauties of Crystal City is there is so much space to expand, and if they do well, that’s certainly the thinking in all of this,” Fox told ARLnow.com this afternoon.
Earlier this week, 1776 announced a partnership with Montgomery County, and the incubator’s announcement today makes it one of the, if not the premier, dominant forces in the D.C. area technology space. In 1776’s new headquarters, it will already have member companies like Bloompop, Power Supply and Onomono Media.
1776 also hosts the Challenge Festival, an international, weeklong festival aimed at bringing together entrepreneurs in the energy, education, health and transportation sectors. The company anticipates more than 10,000 industry members will attend, and the opening party will be in Crystal City, at 2121 Crystal Drive, on May 8 from 7:00-11:00 p.m.
The incubator hopes to leverage the still-significant hub of government agencies and contractors in Crystal City, as well as the close proximity to the Pentagon, in its latest expansion.
“This region’s growing innovation economy and its future economic growth are closely linked, which is why at 1776 we’ve focused our attention on creating new opportunities for regional innovation and unfettered access to the networks that exist across regional borders,” 1776 co-founder Donna Harris said in a press release. “Between our partnership with Vornado and the acquisition of Disruption, this exciting new venture will allow us to bring together ALL the tremendous assets this region has to offer, from the NIH and MedStar in Bethesda to the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin in Crystal City, and create one of the most vibrant technology communities in the country.”
Photo via @1776
The Pike, Pentagon City and Crystal City together are projected to account for 65 percent of the county’s population growth and 44 percent of its job growth in the next three decades, and Arlington doesn’t have a long-term transit plan in place for the Pike to accommodate that growth. So far, much of the discussion has revolved around bigger and better buses.
But there is another option, a much bigger, bolder and pricier option than even the streetcar: taking advantage of an existing stub tunnel at the Pentagon Metro station and building a new Metrorail line under Columbia Pike. Such a line was envisioned as a likely expansion by the Metrorail system’s original planners in the 1960s.
When the proposal for Arlington’s short-term plan for the former-streetcar corridor comes before the Arlington County Board next year, two of the five members of the Board will be newly elected, replacing the retiring Board chair and vice chair, Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada.
So far, seven candidates have declared they’re running for the two open seats: Democrats Christian Dorsey, Peter Fallon, Katie Cristol, Andrew Schneider, James Lander and Bruce Wiljanen, and independent Audrey Clement. Will this new crop of Arlington leaders revive the idea of Metro as long-term a solution for the Pike’s growth?
Dorsey tells ARLnow.com that he’s open to Metrorail as part of a more holistic discussion of the Pike’s transportation future.
“We haven’t undergone a process to really do that in a sufficient way, where we’ve looked at a variety of transit options that are possible — not feasible, but possible — and determining whether or not that matches long-range projections,” he told ARLnow.com. “I absolutely think that’s something that needs to be done in consultation with regional partners on heavy rail.”
The county is still planning to install 23 more transit stations along Columbia Pike, for a total of $12.4 million — redesigned to cost far less than the Walter Reed Super Stop prototype — and those stations are designed to accommodate enhanced bus service. However, other than assumptions that more, bigger and fancier buses will be coming to the Pike, it’s unclear how those stations will be integrated. The county has vowed to spend $200 million on the corridor’s transit over the next six years.
Cristol agreed with Dorsey, saying Arlington needs to consider all long-term options in the corridor’s future.
“I believe we need to keep everything on the table as we contend with the forces shaping re-development and transit demand in Arlington,” she said. “Rapid population growth and demand for public transit on the Pike will be a defining feature for Arlington’s coming decades … I will always be for considering and discussing big ideas — even the expensive ones that seem infeasible in the immediate — as we look to address those dynamics.”
WMATA already has a 40-year plan in place for Metrorail’s future development, but that plan, adopted in 2013, includes a connection between Arlington’s since-cancelled and D.C.’s embattled streetcar lines. WMATA has since discussed plans for a second tunnel in Rosslyn and another line in Virginia, but public discussions from the agency have not included Columbia Pike.
Wiljanen said Arlington taking on that discussion would distract from the immediate needs of the Pike’s residents.
“If a Metro line opened tomorrow under Columbia Pike, I would be elated,” he told ARLnow.com in an email. “However, given the current political and budgetary climate, starting the process now will prove to be an exceedingly heavy lift, and the timeline could easily extend 30 years or more into the future. I think we need quicker solutions.”
Clement, a perennial candidate for Arlington public office, thinks Arlington needs to take up these discussions as soon as possible.
“It is definitely time to plan for a Metrorail line under Columbia Pike,” she said. “One of the principal reasons I opposed the Pike trolley was the fact that the trolley tracks would have to be dug up to accommodate the subway, which is the ultimate solution to congestion on the Pike.”
(Fallon, Schneider and Lander did not respond to ARLnow.com’s email asking for comment.)
Dorsey also opposed the streetcar, while Cristol, a Pike resident, and Wiljanen didn’t say whether they supported the project, only that Arlington needs to move on.
County to Study ART Bus Ads — Arlington County staff will study selling advertisements on the side of ART buses. With County Board member John Vihstadt being joined by Jay Fisette and Libby Garvey in support, the Board directed County Manager Barbara Donnellan to study the issue and report back later this spring. Vihstadt said ART ads could bring in additional local revenue. [InsideNova, Twitter]
RAMMY Nomination for Liberty Tavern — Clarendon’s Liberty Tavern has been named one of the finalists in the “Everyday Casual Brunch” category for the 2015 RAMMY awards. Liberty Tavern appears to be the only Arlington restaurant nominated this year, although Tim Ma of Water & Wall in Virginia Square was nominated in the “Rising Culinary Star of the Year” category. The awards are organized by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.
Props for Crystal City, Pentagon City — Crystal City and Pentagon City are, in some ways, “experiencing the best of times,” according to Bisnow, which held a conference last week about business prospects in the “two cities.” [Bisnow]
Starting this week, four 5K races will be held on consecutive Fridays — April 3, 10, 17 and 24. The races kick off from 2121 Crystal Drive at 6:30 p.m. each Friday, with a course that runs up and down Crystal Drive and Long Bridge Drive.
Registration for a single race is $20. Registration for all four races is $60. Runners can register online.
Drivers should expect road closures in the area during the race.
After each race there will be a post-race party at a local watering hole, with special deals for participants.
More information about the race is available on the Pacers website.
Disclosure: The Crystal City Business Improvement District is an ARLnow.com advertiser
Burn & Brew, a new shop that specializes in tobacco and coffee, is open on 23rd Street S. in Crystal City.
Owner Taha Humayun opened the doors to his new shop on March 18, just a few steps away from another smoke-themed store, Smokey Shope III. He said his shop sells the cheapest cigarettes in Arlington — $5 a pack — because of deals he’s supposedly worked out with a variety of cigarette and rolling paper companies.
In the five minutes an ARLnow.com reporter was in the shop, in the former expansion space of the Gossip boutique next door, a customer came in a bought a pack of Marlboro Lights. When Humayun told her the price, she said “wow, that’s crazy.” Most of the cigarettes sold in the county cost at least a dollar more per pack, we’re told.
Burn & Brew sells bags of coffee beans and drip coffee — “no lattes or shots of espresso or anything like that,” Humayun said — as well as vaporizers, vaporizer juice, “every rolling paper on the market” and all different kinds of pipes.
“A majority of the people who smoke drink coffee,” Humayun said. “And a lot of the people who drink coffee also smoke cigarettes.”
Humayun is still waiting for a number of products to come in. When he’s all stocked — he expects that to be complete by next week — he also will sell newspapers like the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today.
He wants to be a daily stop for the smoking and drinking crowd of south Arlington, many of whom, he said, are bartenders and waiters. The Crystal City location is his second shop — he’s operated the first store in Annandale for six years.
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy, best known for his “You might be a redneck if…” bit, is coming to Arlington on April 12 for a reflux disease and esophageal cancer awareness fundraiser.
The fundraiser will include stand-up comedy from Foxworthy and an opening act, determined by a nationwide competition, and it’s called “No Laughing Matter.” The event will be at the Crystal Gateway Marriott (1700 Jefferson Davis Highway) at 7:00 p.m., and tickets are on sale for between $79 and $790.
The fundraiser aims to educate people on the link between acid reflux disease and esophageal cancer, and it’s sponsored by the Esophageal Cancer Action Network.
Along with the chance to hear Foxworthy’s routine, attendees will get access to an open bar of beer and wine, “light fare” at their table and the chance to win prizes like a walk-on role on HBO’s “Veep” and a tour of the White House’s west wing.
VIP tickets are available for the chance to take photos and mingle with Foxworthy — plus get an additional 90 minutes of open bar — for $200.
Photo via JeffFoxworthy.com
(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) More than five months after the Arlington County Board canceled the Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar, the county is still a year away from any alternative plan.
“Transportation is complex,” County Manager Barbara Donnellan told the Board yesterday in an update on the area’s transit plans. “We really need to move forward in a deliberative way. We want a transit alternative very fast, but we’re going to make sure that the community is involved in whatever we do in terms of coming up with an alternative.”
Arlington Transportation Director Dennis Leach said the post-streetcar plan for Columbia Pike and Crystal City will likely mean more buses — buses that may be larger and fancier than those currently serving the corridors. While the county did previously study alternatives to streetcar, Leach said those plans need to be updated.
The future of transit in the area will be determined by the results of the county’s upcoming Transit Development Plan, to be completed by spring 2016. The TDP will be submitted to the state to make the county’s transit projects eligible for funding.
Top on the list of priorities, Leach told the Board, is building a facility for maintenance and storage for whatever buses the county decides to run on along the Pike.
“The facility issue is a really critical issue for Arlington, both for our existing ART service and for expanded service,” Leach said. The under-construction ART bus facility on S. Eads Street “does not quite meet the storage need for our fleet that we anticipate having this year. For Northern Virginia, we have some really serious facility challenges. These facilities are really hard to site.”
The county is already planning on expanding ART bus service — it’s cheaper than the equivalent Metrobus service — and Donnellan has asked the Board for funding to increase service for the ART 41, 42, 43 and 45 lines by this summer.
The county continues to progress on its major Columbia Pike multimodal improvements project, the Columbia Pike transit station project and projects in Crystal City and Pentagon City, but a unified, enhanced transit plan is not coming until next year. In all, county staff says it will spend $200 million in the next on transit improvements to the Columbia Pike and Crystal City corridors over the next six years.
The TDP will encompass countywide transit projects, but Leach said staff’s focus will be on the Pike and Crystal City.
Some County Board members used Leach’s update on post-streetcar planning to rehash old arguments made by both sides before the streetcar’s demise.
“People were told there would be another option that can be built faster and at a fraction of the cost, and it would be bus rapid transit,” Board member Walter Tejada said to Leach, referencing streetcar opponents, specifically John Vihstadt and Libby Garvey. “I’m not hearing you say that those are being considered as alternatives right now.”
Vihstadt responded by asking Donnellan if any developments had been cancelled or scaled back after the streetcar cancellation, to which Donnellan responded it was too early to tell –“I have not gotten any indication” that development was slowing, she said.
Fisette and Tejada went back and forth asking Leach to explain the federal definition of Bus Rapid Transit. According to the Federal Transit Administration, BRT is defined as 50 percent or more of a line using a dedicated lane during peak traffic periods. Columbia Pike is not feasible for a dedicated lane, but, theoretically, a combined Pike-Pentagon City-Crystal City-Potomac Yard line, using dedicated lanes in Crystal City, could meet the definition of BRT.
“I’m all about providing factual information to the community, not incorrect information that could unintentionally mislead,” Tejada said.
Board Chair Mary Hynes and member Jay Fisette — the two members who changed their votes to join Garvey and Vihstadt in cancelling the streetcar last year — admonished both sides for hijacking the discussion.
“The last 45 minutes has been disappointing,” Fisette said. “I don’t like seeing us devolve into last year’s competing facts. It’s certainly not appealing. It’s best that we, jointly, keep our eyes moving forward.”
Garvey, meanwhile, said she wanted to see the transit planning proceed expeditiously.
“Now we have to do a whole countywide process before we can look at the Pike again, and I think that’s not the intention,” she said. “I understand it all has to go together, it’s a good thing… The more I can hear a sense of urgency about moving forward the happier I will be and I think the happier our citizens will be.”
Leach responded that county staff has a leg up in the planning process due to the “body of work” already in place. He said a contract is in place for the design of new transit stops — the cheaper successor to the infamous $1 million Columbia Pike “Super Stop” — but construction isn’t likely until “early 2016.”
Hynes said the study, which will join the community facilities study and Long Bridge Park aquatics center study, also announced yesterday, is important to keep the community reminded of the Board’s effort.
“I don’t want anyone listening today thinking that we are abandoning Columbia Pike,” she said, citing the multimodal improvements and transit station projects and examples. “We need the community to understand that our commitment to those things is deep, is strong, is ongoing and it’s funded.”
Happy St. Patrick’s Day — Looking for a place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day today? Take a look at the list of Arlington Irish bars we compiled last month. [ARLnow]
Ted Cruz in Arlington Tonight — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) is scheduled to make an appearance tonight at an event at Sobe Bar and Bistro in Clarendon. The event is being hosted by former Va. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, former lieutenant governor candidate Pete Snyder and the Alexandria-based Disruptor Fund. [Facebook]
NYT On Arlington’s Streetcar Cancellation — The New York Times interviewed Arlington County Board members Jay Fisette and John Vihstadt for an article today entitled “Streetcar Revival Is Wavering in Some Cities.” In addition to Arlington’s streetcar cancellation, the article examines D.C.’s troubles in getting its streetcar line operational. [New York Times]
WeWork Revises Crystal City Plan — The coworking office company WeWork, which has been planning to open microunit apartments in an older Crystal City office building, as part of its new WeLive brand, has revised its plan. WeWork and building owner Vornado are now seeking county permission to build two floors of offices in the building. [Washington Business Journal]
Concept for Abingdon Elementary Revealed — Arlington Public Schools staff have presented plans for a 27,000 square foot expansion of Abingdon Elementary School in Fairlington. The project is expected to cost $29 million and be complete in time for the 2017-2018 school year. [InsideNova]
Bob and Edith’s Diner, the iconic 24-hour eatery on Columbia Pike, is expanding with two new locations, including one in Crystal City that’s expected to open later this month.
Bob and Edith’s has taken over the space vacated by the former Cesar’s Diner, at 539 23rd Street S., after the end of February. Owner Greg Bolton says he hopes to open a new 24-hour Bob and Edith’s location there, serving the same diner fare as the Pike location, by March 25.
“Same menu, everything’s the same,” said Bolton. The new Crystal City location will have 20 booths, while the original has 17.
Bolton said he’s been eyeing the location — which is within easy walking distance of huge office and apartment buildings, not to mention hundreds of hotel rooms — for 10-12 years, but it only recently “dropped in my lap.”
“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “This place is a gold mine.”
Bolton and colleagues have been busy thoroughly cleaning the interior and preparing to install new equipment, including new grills, refrigerators and a new counter. Much of the diner, including its blue booths and its gleaming metal exterior, will remain. Bolton said he’s also planning on taking advantage of the outdoor seating area in front of the diner, when the weather allows.
The Crystal City location is the first of two new locations Bolton is planning to open this spring, after years of running Bob and Edith’s as just one single diner. Another location, in the former Tommy Thai restaurant at Springfield Plaza in Springfield — “next to the Christian store,” Bolton noted — is expected to open as soon as April.
Bolton said he’s expanding “more for my kids than myself.” The Pike diner was first opened by Bolton’s parents, Robert and Edith, in 1969. It’s remained a family affair ever since, with Bolton, his wife Victoria and more recently his two children, Tammy and Chris, helping to run the restaurant alongside a couple of close family friends.
“I can go to the Gulf and [water] ski and play golf all day long, you don’t have to tell me twice,” Bolton said. “But I want to set them on another level.”
There was a second Bob and Edith’s location for a while, situated on Columbia Pike a mile and a half west of the original, but it closed in 2007. Bolton explained that it ultimately just wasn’t a good fit.
“It was just too big, it was really more of a restaurant, I felt, not a diner,” he told ARLnow.com. “I just sold it, put a few dollars in the bank, and moved on.”
The former restaurant is now slated to be torn down and replaced with a four story condo building.
As for whether Bob and Edith’s might take advantage of the Crystal City nightlife and start serving beer, Bolton didn’t hesitate with his answer.
“No liquor, just a real diner,” he said. “I don’t want the responsibility, to be honest with you. There’s enough responsibility just running a business 24 hours.”
Bolton said he’s perfectly content to let other bar owners on 23rd Street serve the booze.
“They get them drunk and I’ll sober them up,” he said.
A new exhibit at Crystal City’s Gallery Underground, in the shops at 2100 Crystal Drive, might hit too close too home for some new parents.
“Screaming Babies” is a solo exhibit by artist Linda Lowery on display now in the free and open art space. Lowery has been drawing infants in states of “raw emotion” for years, in myriad colors, sizes and methods.
“The pain and discomfort depicted in these portraits is a metaphor for the pain and discomfort we experience all of our lives,” Lowery said about her works. “When we see a picture of an infant crying, we identify with the baby’s pain or feelings of abandonment and insecurity and fright.”
The pieces are all available for purchase. The exhibit will run until Saturday, March 28