Rosslyn’s long-running jazz festival returns this weekend, and the festivities leading up to it will include a roving band in an open-air bus.
The 30th annual Rosslyn Jazz Fest, set for this Saturday, will bring the international sounds and rhythms of jazz to Gateway Park at 1300 Langston Blvd.
- Harlem-based Mwenso and the Shakes, a jazz and blues band made of up immigrants from all around the world
- Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, a soul-and-jazz fusion band from Seattle originally
- Groove Orchestra, a jazz ensemble headed by D.C. multi-instrumentalist Samuel Prather.
There will be food trucks and yard games, and attendees can browse tables selling merchandise and representing community organizations.
Registration is encouraged due to the park’s capacity limit.
But the jazz party is already getting started, with happy-hour performances this evening and tomorrow. And, for the first time, jazz artists will serenade strollers from an open-top bus rolling through the neighborhood this Thursday.
BroadSound Band will perform a mix of jazz and pop hits from an open-top bus between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Thursday.
More on that from the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, which organizes the annual festival:
Rosslyn’s first ever Rosslyn Rolling Concert is here in celebration of our 30th Rosslyn Jazz Fest! On Thursday, Sept. 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. an open-top bus will hit the streets through the Rosslyn neighborhood (and beyond) with the BroadSound Band performing a mix of jazz and pop hits!
At each stop, we’ll have Rosslyn swag giveaways for those out in the neighborhood. The bus will stop at designated locations (listed below) for performances, starting and ending at Central Place Plaza. Get rolling into the weekend with this final jazz performance before the festival!
If you can’t make the rolling concert, tune in for live updates on our Instagram story!
ROSSLYN ROLLING CONCERT SCHEDULE
- (A) 11:00 a.m. – Central Place Plaza
- (B) 11:30 a.m. – Corner of N. Oak St. and Wilson Blvd. (by Hot Lola’s and the Parklet)
- (C) 12:00 p.m. – HB Woodlawn Secondary School
- (D) 12:30 p.m. – 1425 N. Courthouse Rd. (by the Arlington County Justice Center)
- (E) 1:00 p.m. – 1400 14th St. N. Arlington
- (F) 1:15 p.m. – Dark Star Park
- (G) 1:30 p.m. – Central Place Plaza
A festival to showcase Latin American music, folk dance, art and food is coming to Rosslyn next month.
The ¡Viva Cultura! Festival is scheduled for Saturday, August 13, at Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd), which is a five-minute walk from the Rosslyn Metro station. The event is set to begin at 10 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. Admission is free.
Centro de Apoyo Familiar is organizing the family-friendly event and plans to provide live music, dance performances, exhibitions and food, according to the festival’s website. Folk dance groups representing countries like Bolivia, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, Peru and Puerto Rico are expected to perform their traditional dances in traditional costumes as well.
As for the exhibition, Centro de Apoyo Familiar plans to have artisans from the Caribbean as well as Central and South America offering handcrafted items. Exhibitors include a Colombian handmade jewelry store and organizations like the League of United Latin American Citizens. The deadline for becoming an exhibitor is Sunday, July 31, according to the online registration form.
An art exhibition for Latino artists in Arlington is also set. However, registration for it has yet to open, according to the event’s website.
The event will feature a number of activities catered to kids, including face painting, clowns, musical chairs and other games, according to the website. Food trucks selling cuisines from different countries are also expected. Registration for food vendors is still open.
CAF is a nonprofit working in D.C., Maryland, Massachusetts and Virginia to provide housing counseling to low-income Latino and immigrant families, according to its website.
Arlington is getting its own pride festival in two months.
The event is free and for all ages and will run from noon to 7 p.m., according to a press release It’s set to feature games, live entertainment, DJs and “surprise guests.” There will also be a dog park area and kids play section, notes the release.
The festival’s theme is “Moving Forward Together.”
“The Arlington Pride Festival will inspire our community to collaborate in new ways, ensuring all LGBTQIA+ individuals and their families and friends feel empowered, and supported,” organizers wrote.
The announcement of the festival was first posted on Instagram earlier this month. More details are expected to be announced in the coming weeks, a website for the event notes.
An Arlington County Dept. of Parks and Recreation official confirmed to ARLnow that event organizers have completed all the needed paperwork to hold the festival at Gateway Park.
“At this time, the Special Event application is pending, which is common this far out of the process,” parks department spokesperson Martha Holland wrote. “The County will be working with the organizers, as we do with all organizers, to assist in its approval.”
Due to the pandemic, it’s been several years since most pride events were last held. Back in 2019, a number of smaller events were held around Arlington in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
D.C.’s big Capital Pride festival and parade is being held on June 11 and 12 this year, the first time in three years.
Rosslyn movie nights are returning to Gateway Park this summer, with a selection of voted-on fan favorites.
The Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) is once again hosting a series of movie nights in June at Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd).
This year’s line-up includes the following films, which all emerged victorious through a March Madness-style bracket:
- National Treasure
- Space Jam
- Mamma Mia
This year, residents were given the opportunity to not only vote on what movies were shown, but predict what the winners would be — much like the annual tradition of submitting a bracket predicting which team will win the college basketball championship. The three most accurate brackets win a gift card to a Rosslyn restaurant.
The bracket was broken up into four categories — family, sports, romantic comedies, and D.C. area-based — with National Treasure, Space Jam, Encanto, and Mamma Mia winning its respective group.
While voting on which movies will be shown in June concluded yesterday (Thursday), residents can still vote on which will be the ultimate winner.
Championship Round of March Madness: #RosslynCinema!
— Rosslyn, Virginia (@RosslynVA) March 31, 2022
Exact dates of when each movie will be shown have not been announced yet.
Rosslyn BID is not the only community organization that will be hosting outdoor movies this summer.
The Columbia Pike Partnership’s movie nights are also set to return for their 12th year on Saturday nights starting in July, the organization has confirmed to ARLnow. The series will run July 9 through August 27 while alternating locations between Penrose Square and Arlington Mill Community Center. The calendar of movies will be announced later this spring.
In the past, the National Landing BID and Ballston BID have also both hosted summer movie nights. Ballston BID told ARLnow that they will not be hosting movies this summer, while the National Landing BID said they don’t have details to share as of yet.
(Updated at 11 a.m.) An Arlington County jury found a 43-year-old man guilty of stabbing three people in Rosslyn three years ago.
Wondwossen Kassu stabbed two men sitting at a table inside Gateway Park in May 2019 and a third man walking by. The jury convicted him on three counts of malicious wounding.
Kassu is scheduled to be sentenced on May 6 in the Arlington County Circuit Court. Malicious wounding is a felony that carries a minimum prison sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years.
“This was a tough case, but my office will never shy away from prosecuting such acts of violence,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, in a statement. “We are grateful for the jury’s verdict, and we were happy to provide some measure of closure to the victims.”
On May 21, 2019, Kassu approached two men sitting at a table inside the park and began talking to them, according to the 2019 police report. Then, he stabbed them and a third man who happened to be nearby.
Two of the victims were able to flee and get help. All three required hospitalization, but survived the attacks.
More on the crime from an Arlington County Police Department press release at the time:
At approximately 9:27 p.m. on May 21, police responded to the report of multiple stabbings in Gateway Park located at 1300 Lee Highway. Upon arrival, officers located the suspect and took him into custody without incident. During the course of the investigation, officers located three male victims suffering from lacerations. The victims were transported to area hospitals and all are reported in stable condition.
Based on the preliminary investigation, it appears two of the victims were sitting at a table inside Gateway Park when the suspect approached them and initiated a conversation before producing a knife and stabbing the victims. The third victim was walking in the area when he came upon the initial assault. The suspect then turned his attention towards the third victim and stabbed him as well. Two victims were able to leave the scene to seek assistance. They were located by responding officers in the 1900 block of Fort Myer Drive and the 1800 block of N. Nash Street.
Dehghani-Tafti, elected as the top prosecutor for Arlington and Falls Church on a criminal justice reform platform, has faced some local skepticism — culminating in a recall campaign organized by a Northern Virginia political group last year — about whether she is sufficiently tough on crime. Dehghani-Tafti’s office started sending press releases about major convictions earlier this year.
Nearly 40 years later, Rosslyn’s Gateway Park may finally officially become Arlington County’s responsibility.
This weekend, the County Board is set to vote on approving a land use permit between the Virginia Department of Transportation and the county formally allowing Arlington the use of Gateway Park. The agreement also pushes the responsibility of maintaining the park to the county.
Additionally, the permit grants the county the ability to change the park’s name.
An approval would mark the end of a decades-long period where there was no written agreement in place between VDOT and the county in regards to the operation and maintenance of the public park along Langston Blvd.
In 1984, VDOT and the Federal Highway Administration agreed to build an urban park between N. Nash Street and Lynn Street as a way to mitigate the impacts of constructing I-66 through Rosslyn.
At that time, an agreement was struck between VDOT and the county which called for the Commonwealth to construct the park and pedestrian bridge, with Arlington reimbursing VDOT for adding benches, bike racks, drinking fountains, and pay phones.
The county and VDOT also committed to signing a 99-year lease that put Arlington in charge of maintaining the park, including the pedestrian bridges, concrete structures, landscaping, facilities, and utilities. The remaining details were to be negotiated and it was expected the lease was going to be brought to the County Board for approval in 1986.
That never happened, according to last month’s county report, and it’s unclear why.
“Despite more than 20 years of on-again, off-again discussions and negotiations, the terms of a 99-year lease were never agreed to and no lease has ever been signed by VDOT and the County,” reads the report.
Despite this, over the last 37 years Arlington has continued to operate and perform routine maintenance at Gateway Park even without a signed, written agreement.
That’s expected to change come this weekend, but in a slightly different form than initially outlined back in the 1980s.
That’s because, in 2015, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring determined that VDOT didn’t have the authority to lease the park to the county. Rather, a land use permit was the only mechanism available to provide Arlington access and use of the public park.
Six years later, that agreement is finally ready to be approved by the County Board.
An outdoor coworking space launched in Rosslyn as a temporary pandemic-era amenity for local workers will be sticking around as a permanent feature of the neighborhood.
O2: Outdoor Office is an outdoor workspace that debuted last October at Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd). Organized by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, the outdoor office features work stations available by reservation and free Wi-Fi.
With the program becoming permanent feature of the park, and renamed in very Rosslyn fashion “O2 2.0”, the BID said new features are on the way.
“This new iteration of O2 brings more permanent outdoor seating, shade structures and free Wi-Fi to Gateway Park,” the Rosslyn BID said in a press release, “prioritizing the health, creativity and wellness of our modern workforce.”
O2 2.0 is scheduled to launch on Wednesday, Oct. 13, and will be open as an office from Wednesday-Friday that week. For the rest of October, it will be open from Tuesday-Thursday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Rosslyn BID noted that Gateway Park is still accessible to the public even for those who aren’t there to work.
Starting on Oct. 13, the Rosslyn BID said there will be new programming at O2 2.0.
- Free yoga classes with Mindful Modern Living: Oct. 13 from noon to 12:40 p.m., Oct. 19 from 5-6 p.m., and Oct 26 from 5-6 p.m.
- Happy hour: Oct. 14, 15 and 28, from 4-7 p.m.
- Free workout with Gold’s Gym: Oct. 15 from noon to 12:30 p.m.
“We’re so excited to see the vision behind O2: Outdoor Office continue to welcome a new era of holistic wellness in the workplace in Rosslyn and beyond,” the BID said. “We can’t wait to see you there!”
A pop-up outdoor office is returning to Gateway Park this spring.
O2 is scheduled to open next Tuesday, April 13 and will remain active through June 11.
More than 20 socially-distanced workstations are being set up in the outdoor office this season as a part of “Rosslyn Refresh,” a campaign by the BID to get people outdoors and enjoying spring safely. The space is equipped with power outlets, free Wi-Fi, easels, whiteboards and other office essentials.
“The free office space offers an inspiring atmosphere for employees looking to come back to the neighborhood or anyone in the DMV area needing a break from their home office routine,” the BID said in a press release. “O2 has everything you need to work safely outdoors and get back to blue-sky thinking.”
Closer to the outdoor office’s opening day, users will be able to reserve 90-minute blocks in advance online and can reserve consecutive time blocks if they would like to stay longer. O2 will also accept walk-ins if space is available and will provide blankets for people to sit on the grass if no slots are available.
O2 will initially be open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Beginning on May 1, it will also be open on Fridays.
Photo courtesy Rosslyn BID
Starting today (Tuesday), fencing is set to be installed for an interim dog park in Rosslyn’s Gateway Park.
Work on the dog park, including the installation of lighting and a water fountain, started in 2020. It is slated to finish in the first quarter of 2021, said Mary Ann Elliott, the director of R-Dogs, which is one of the main forces behind the project.
Eventually, the area will be fenced-in, with a section for small and disabled dogs and one for large dogs.
“Fencing is the last major part,” Elliott said.
The interim dog park at 1300 Lee Hwy fills Rosslyn’s growing need for dog parks, of which the county will need three by 2035, according to a county planning document. The temporary facility will be in place until a Park Master Plan is developed and funding becomes available for a potential permanent replacement.
The plan could be finished in 2022 and funded in 2028, Elliott said.
The interim park is the result of nearly three years of work by R-Dogs, a community group-turned-nonprofit, and the Rosslyn Business Improvement District.
“It has been a long process with rules and regulations that one comes to find with any rules of county governance,” said Elliott. “I’m very pleased, overall, with the County, and thrilled with what the BID has contributed.”
Mary-Claire Burick, President of the Rosslyn BID, said the park represents a “wonderful partnership” among the County, R-Dogs and the BID to meet the needs of Rosslyn’s growing residential population.
“We are excited to add in a designated place where owners and their pets can safely enjoy the fresh air,” she said in a statement.
The Arlington parks department anticipates a dog park will be considered in the master planning work, but will need to go through a community process before it can be more specific, department spokeswoman Susan Kalish said in an email.
Elliott said the interim dog park will cost about $40,000, and the BID, a veterinary practice, several small businesses and individuals have chipped in to fund it. This sets the dog park apart, she said.
“All of the other dog parks in the County have a sponsor group of community residents, but did not raise money or establish a company with by-laws in order to make it a reality,” she said.
Photo (bottom) via Arlington County
This content was written and sponsored by The Keri Shull Team, Arlington’s top producing residential real estate team.
As the days get shorter and the air gets crisper, it’s not surprising that people want to savor the remaining good weather as much as possible. And one of the best ways to easily have some outdoor fun in Arlington is to have a picnic in one of Arlington’s many parks!
For today’s Neighborhood Spotlight, we want to specifically highlight 3 of our favorite places for picnicking. All of these spots are great options for soaking up the final vestiges of the summer sun — and even once winter is fully here, these Arlington picnic spaces are great ways to enjoy Northern Virginia (while remaining socially distant, to boot)!
Do you have a hidden (or not-so-hidden) gem of a park, restaurant or entertainment spot that you want us to highlight? Just let us know down in the comments!
Let’s get started!
Gravelly Point Park
If you are looking for a truly unique picnic setting, look no further than Gravelly Point Park. Located just north of Reagan Airport along the George Washington Parkway, this bankside green space is perfect for picnickers.
The main runway at Reagan (known as Runway 1/19, in case you’re interested) points directly towards the park. This means that planes using these runways soar directly over the heads of onlookers, often as low as just a couple hundred feet in the air. Because Gravelly Point is less than 1,000 feet from the end of the runway, it is one of the most stunning spots for airplane spotters in the entire country.
Getting to Gravelly Point
Unlike many other green spaces in Northern Virginia, it can be a bit tricky to take your car to Gravelly Point Park. Although the picnic space is located along the George Washington Parkway, parking is somewhat limited.
One alternative to parking and walking is to bike to Gravelly Point using the Mount Vernon Trail!
With its views of Washington, D.C. and gorgeous, cultivated green areas, Gateway Park is another of our favorite places for a picnic in Arlington. This park is located in the Rosslyn neighborhood of Arlington and features 3 acres of beauty, both natural and manmade.
Gateway might not sit directly on the Potomac, but visitors can still enjoy a breathtaking vantage of the river and Georgetown, the popular D.C. neighborhood, from Gateway Park’s Skywalk.
In addition to being a great place to lay out a prepared meal, Gateway Park hosts a lot of events to enjoy. The amphitheater at Gateway Park is home to the Rosslyn Jazz Fest. Currently, the park is hosting its O2 (Office Outside) program. This allows locals to get a taste of the outdoors while still taking care of business with open-air desks and complimentary WiFi!
Getting to Gateway Park
The Arlington picnic space is located at 1300 Lee Highway, right at the base of Key Bridge. Please note that parking in the area can be somewhat limited, so you might have to park farther away and walk.
As an alternative, you can easily access Gateway via the Rosslyn Metro Station. The park is just a short walk from the Metro stop.
Dark Star Park
In terms of basking in planned, artistic beauty, there aren’t many things to do in Arlington that rival Dark Star Park. This green space/art installation was originally built in 1984, designed and overseen by the famous sculptor Nancy Holt.
Once per year, on August 1, the natural shadows cast by the Dark Stars line up with these pre-set markings at exactly 9:32 a.m. Holt chose August 1 to commemorate the anniversary of William Ross’s 1860 purchase of the land that became Rosslyn.
But the question remains — how is Dark Star Park as a picnic spot?
In a word: lovely. Dark Star Park offers a welcome respite from the urban environment of Rosslyn, with shrubbery and grass that are a vibrant contrast to the sea of glass and concrete that marks much of the Arlington neighborhood. Large trees ring the park, providing a pleasant shade to enjoy your spread of food and drink.
Getting to Dark Star Park
Dark Star Park stands at 1655 North Fort Myer Drive in Arlington, sandwiched between Fort Myer Drive and N. Lynn Street. There are 2 separate parking garages immediately adjacent to the park, so getting to Dark Star by car is convenient. Otherwise, the Rosslyn Metro stop is only a few blocks away, for those who prefer taking the train.
There are a ton of great places to enjoy a picnic when living in Arlington — in fact, far too many to cover in a single article. The ones listed above are just a few of our favorites… but we want to get your input, too! What is your favorite spot to have a picnic in Arlington? Let us know down in the comments below!
Planning is underway for a temporary dog park in Rosslyn that could eventually become permanent.
The dog park will be built in an underutilized grassy area on the west end of Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway). The current plans call for it to be divided into a 8,000 square foot section for large dogs and a 2,900 square foot section for small dogs.
A design process for the dog park is now underway and expected to wrap up by the end of the year. A construction timeline has not yet been revealed.
“The facility is proposed to include separate areas to accommodate both large and small dogs, fencing with screening in some areas, upgraded lighting, a water source for dogs, grass surfacing, double entry gates, maintenance gates, repurposed and ADA accessible benches, dog waste receptacles, a message board, and standard County signage,” the project website says.” Gateway Park is currently lighted, and the upgraded lights associated with this project will allow visitors to use the dog park until the lights turn off at 9 p.m.”
The county is seeking feedback on the draft design for the park.
If approved, the temporary park’s approximately $43,700 cost is to be paid by R-DOGS, the private group of Rosslyn area dog owners that has been pushing for a new dog park since 2018. The county parks department will maintain the dog park with help from R-DOGS, which is asking its members to provide feedback on the design.
“Every R-DOGS member is needed to comment… And ask all you friends and neighbors to add their comments,” the group said in a letter to supporters. “This is probably the only opportunity our dogs will have for an off-leash park within Rosslyn and walking distance for their human companions.”
The park could become permanent after the master plan for Gateway Park is reviewed in 2022.
“If approved, this park will be available for community use until a park master plan is developed for Gateway Park and there is funding to construct the improvements,” the county said. “The temporary dog park will also be reviewed annually to ensure it is operating safely and in accordance with the County’s policies regarding temporary park uses and facilities.”
A recent presentation noted that the dog park is to be built in an area not typically used by annual public events that use Gateway Park, like the Rosslyn Jazz Festival.
“If the temporary dog park is built on a portion of the west end of Gateway Park, the east side will still be usable for annual events,” the county said.
A separate proposal for a new dog park in Pentagon City is also making some progress. In June it was reported that Amazon was pledging $50,000 for the temporary amenities in the northern end of Virginia Highlands Park, near Pentagon Row and Pentagon City mall.