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by Bridget Reed Morawski March 13, 2018 at 4:45 pm 0

A new Korean bibimbap restaurant has opened in Crystal City.

Rice Bar opened its first Arlington location at 1235 S. Clark Street on Monday, March 5, according to the store’s manager, James Lee. They company’s website lists five additional locations, all in the District.

Bibimbap is a hot rice dish served with meat, egg, sautéed or seasoned vegetables, and other toppings.

Diners can either eat one of seven signature dishes, like the Kalbi Korean BBQ beef rib, or build their own bowl. Toppings include edamame, burdock root, roasted seaweed, and bamboo shoot, and there are seven sauce options listed, like gochujang, a red chili paste.

The restaurant also offers noodle dishes with similar toppings.

Operating hours will be from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with additional hours on Friday from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Rice Bar Crystal City will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays, according to the location’s web page.

File photos.

by Anna Merod March 7, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

Though his art can be spotted across the globe, artist Mas Paz calls Arlington home.

Mas Paz, whose real name is Federico Frum, describes his work as indigenous contemporary art, using graffiti and standard bucket paint as his media.

“I started kind of playing with this indigenous typography kind of style, which wasn’t graffiti letters but more like line work letters,” Frum said of his early graffiti tagging days during a trip to Brazil. “[It] kind of looked like maybe Mayan hieroglyphic lines with actually letters. So that was really fun.”

His work has been featured at the Smithsonian Institution, the Corcoran Gallery Art, and New York City’s The New Museum, but his murals can be found as far away as Pakistan and Mexico and as closeby as Crystal City. Frum has traveled the world to teach mural workshops, and in February he was invited by the American embassy in El Salvador to teach children how to paint street murals.

Born in Bogota, Colombia, Frum — whose pseudonym means “more peace” in Spanish — was adopted when he was a year old and raised in Arlington. He graduated from George Mason University with a degree in art and visual technology in 2005.

Frum moved to Brooklyn a year after graduating, living there for seven years while selling t-shirts on the street in between 3D modeling and screen printing. He then traveled through South America before returning to Arlington ready to come home. He now works out of his house in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood.

“I was really hungry to do a lot of projects here in D.C.,” Frum said. “I’m so happy I’m back here and it’s so cool I can keep it rooted so that where I come from I represent, but also go to places, other countries, or go to other cities and do a lot of work.”

Mas Paz initially started as just Paz, his New York graffiti tag. That was before his friend Youth Waste approached him to create his own stickers, and Paz didn’t fit neatly on the square template that they wanted. That’s when Frum decided to send more of a message, adding the mas to paz. Frum also wanted a message so in 2012 when he added Mas Paz, which translates to more peace in English, he had found the right fit and meaning.

Indigenous art has become a way for Frum to express and explore who he is, even though there are pieces of him he will never truly know, such as where exactly he was born. Five percent of all his project earnings go toward the orphanage that he lived in as a child, La Casa de La Madre y El Nino.

There are no days off for Frum, but he says that it never feels like he’s working when he’s making art. The work makes the days fly by, and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

“I intend to be 90 years old and still creating,” he said.

by Anna Merod March 6, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

About a month ago, Girl Scouts began selling their famous — dieters might call them infamous — cookies in Arlington.

The net revenue raised from Girl Scout cookies funds the organization’s local council and troops, which in turn is used for trips or donated to community projects or causes.

This month Girl Scouts will again be posting up at Metro stations, grocery stores and other high-foot-traffic locales, offering a fix of their seemingly addictive mass-produced baked goods.

Below, after the jump, are some of the times and places places you can grab some Girl Scout cookies in March.

(more…)

by Bridget Reed Morawski March 6, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

Crystal City will be getting a new, 43,900 square foot plaza called Metro Market Square, according to county planning documents.

Plans for the plaza cite Boston’s Faneuil Hall as inspiration and include retail businesses, small water features, chess tables, and a options for outdoor entertainment.

The market building’s roof would include solar panels and “artistic wind turbines,” and the park’s sidewalks would range from 17.5-19 feet wide. A new Crystal City Metro station east entrance at the plaza would be located at Crystal Drive and 18 Street S.

The parcel, referred to as “block G,” is “generally bounded by 15th Street S. to the north, Crystal Drive to the east, 18th Street S. to the south and U.S. Route 1 to the west,” according to the county website.

Planners are cognizant of shadow issues as well, calling for no more than 55 percent of the park to be in shadow between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on equinoxes and no more than 59% in shadow in the fall.

A community open house will be held on March 21 from 7-9 p.m. for residents to view the details. An online feedback survey will be conducted from March 19-28, though a link to the survey is not yet available.

The block plan is part of the larger Crystal City Sector Plan, passed in 2010, which includes a new two-acre park called Center Park, 7,500 new residential units, and a “transformation of Jefferson Davis Highway into an urban boulevard.”

Screenshots via Arlington County

by ARLnow.com March 5, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

Amazon officials visited Crystal City and Rosslyn last week as part of the company’s HQ2 search, multiple sources tell ARLnow.com.

Commercial real estate industry sources say the Crystal City tour happened Wednesday. The Arlington neighborhood, with its vacant office space and robust transportation options, has been mentioned as a frontrunner among D.C. area locales.

Amazon officials also toured Rosslyn, the other Arlington location in the running, we’re told.

The Washington Post’s Jonathan O’Connell reported today that the Amazon officials toured sites in D.C., Montgomery County and Northern Virginia, having breakfast with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) Wednesday morning and dinner with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bower (D) Wednesday night.

The Post report corroborated the tips received last week by ARLnow.com. Arlington County officials, who are under tight non-disclosure agreements, declined to comment on the visit. Another local leader, speaking off the record, suggested that reports of the visit were erroneous.

by ARLnow.com March 1, 2018 at 2:15 pm 0

It’s a question that some have been asking themselves as Arlington has advanced to be among the most likely destinations for Amazon’s second headquarters.

Would the proposed Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar system have helped Arlington’s chances had it been built?

The Arlington County Board voted to cancel the project in 2014 after rising cost estimates and questions about its advantages over buses led to widespread opposition and voter discontent.

Had it been built, the streetcar would have run from Crystal City — which is seen as a strong contender among D.C. area locales — to Columbia Pike and the Skyline area of Fairfax County.

ARLnow.com talked to several insiders to get their take on the hypothetical question.

Several we spoke to, who work in economic development and on transportation issues, said that the streetcar would have been an attractive amenity in the eyes of Amazon. It would have provided a vital, high-frequency link from offices in Crystal City to workforce housing along Columbia Pike, they said.

Also cited as evidence: Amazon’s own support of streetcar system in Seattle.

However, another insider, who works in the works in the commercial real estate industry, doubts that the streetcar would have made much of a difference.

For one, the would-be streetcar is being replaced with enhanced bus service on the Pike and along the Potomac Yard-Crystal City corridor. Also, Crystal City already has one of the highest scores for transportation accessibility among HQ2 contenders, thanks to the frequent bus service, Metro’s Yellow and Blue lines, VRE, commuter buses, the Mt. Vernon Trail and walkability to Reagan National Airport.

In other words, said the insider, the streetcar might have been icing on the cake, but it is unlikely to have moved the needle much on Amazon’s decision. Plus, it is possible that Arlington would have had to contend with some of the streetcar problems currently being experienced by D.C.

Amazon is expected to make its decision later this year. Arlington and Northern Virginia, one insider speculated, is likely to at least be among the top five contenders, and at least one betting market agrees, giving the region the highest odds among the company’s top 20.

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.

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