Arlington, VA

The commentariat has spoken and ARLnow has listened.

The second item in our lineup of locally-themed apparel, just in time for the holidays, is our exclusive GONDOLA NOW! shirt.

Available in multiple hues so you can stand out at local meetings, the GONDOLA NOW! shirt tells the world that ariel lift transportation is, in fact, a perfectly modern and practical way to get from here to there. For instance, from Rosslyn to Georgetown.

The proposed Potomac gondola may be down — given its lack of support from the Arlington County Board — but it’s not completely out. After all, current Democratic County Board candidate Chanda Choun said last year that he would support “exploring this proposal” after exclaiming the very words on this shirt.

ARLnow does not endorse candidates nor transportation policy positions, but we do endorse looking good in shirts we designed. So get your GONDOLA NOW! apparel on Amazon in any of the following styles:

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So perhaps you’re not familiar with 90s-era German digital hardcore band Atari Teenage Riot. But you are undoubtedly familiar with the infamous Cheesecake Factory incident in Clarendon that happened around this time last year.

To mark the one year anniversary of that nationally-reported piece of uniquely Arlington local news (and as the first in a series of ARLnow merch we’re offering in time for the holidays this year) we have a new t-shirt for your online shopping pleasure.

Show your local pride and get the shirt today from Amazon, with either a black or a white logo.

We’ll get a few bucks from your purchase but more importantly you’ll get a novelty t-shirt that only about a half dozen other people will truly understand. Happy holidays from ARLnow!

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Morning Notes

Fire on Columbia Pike Sunday — Arlington County firefighters extinguished a kitchen fire in an apartment building on the 1900 block of Columbia Pike Sunday afternoon. One resident was displaced by the blaze. [Twitter/@ArlingtonVaFD]

Ballston Launches ‘Gnome’ Promotion — “Starting December 16th through December 20th, look for the Ballston Holiday Gnome spreading cheer all around the neighborhood. Find our holiday helper, and you’ll win gifts from some of our favorite Ballston restaurants and stores.” [Facebook]

Skylight Replacement at Arlington National — “After 30 years, the skylight in the @ArlingtonNatl Welcome Center is being repaired under the watchful eye of our Engineering team. As always, the cemetery remains open while we improve your experience.” [Twitter/@KDurhamAguilera]

Amazon Opening Smaller Office in NYC Post-HQ2 — “The giant online retailer said it has signed a new lease for 335,000 square feet on Manhattan’s west side in the new Hudson Yards neighborhood, where it will have more than 1,500 employees. The new lease represents Amazon’s largest expansion in New York since the company stunned the city by abandoning plans to locate its second headquarters in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City.” [Wall Street Journal, Crain’s New York BusinessTwitter/@ProfGalloway]

Nearby: Shoppers Closing in Potomac Yard — “Shoppers is closing in Potomac Yard, its parent company announced today. The supermarket, at 3801 Richmond Highway, is expected to close by the end of January. Other Shoppers stores in Manassas, Baltimore and Severn (Maryland) are also closing, and the company is selling 13 other locations.” [ALXnow]

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Ballston Quarter will be hosting a festive, day-long “Holiday Kick Off” event this Saturday, December 7 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m..

Across all four levels of the mall, there will be family-friendly holiday activities — “from holiday movies, to crafts (for all ages), to photo ops, and of course a special appearance from Santa.”

Beginning on the lower level in Quarter Market and outside plaza, there will be a snowman ice sculpture and photo booth, along with face painting, glitter tattoos, and a hot chocolate bar from District Doughnut.

On level M1, there will be a “Ballston Quarter Gingerbread House” for take-home photo ops. In addition, children can write letters to Santa and leave it in the “Ballston Quarter mailbox for special delivery,” per the event website.

On M2, crafting opportunities include making holiday ornaments with local art studio Art House 7 along with special Ballston greeting cards.

Starting a 11 a.m., there will be a pajama party at the Regal Cinemas with a free movie screening of the animated Disney movie, The Polar Express, as well as train rides around the M3 level of the mall until 5 p.m. (Seats for the movie are reserved, so advanced tickets are required).

Continue Saturday’s festivities into the evening at Ballston Exchange (4201 Wilson Blvd), where the Ballston Business Improvement District has begun pop-up weekly holiday movie nights.

“Each movie will be held in our pop-up theater in Ballston Exchange, so bring your own chair, and blanket to complete your experience,” the BID said. “DIRT, Shake Shack, CAVA, We The Pizza, Philz Coffee will have food and drink specials prior to showtime for moviegoers. Guests will also enjoy free popcorn, candy, and drinks in the theater. For the adults in the family, Movie Night is BYOB!”

The movie schedule is:

  • December 7: A Christmas Story (PG)
  • December 14: The Polar Express (G)
  • December 21: Elf (PG)
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Morning Notes

Parents Protest APS Proposal — “School officials tasked with the perpetual jigsaw puzzle of reassigning school zones have stirred new tensions… If you drive McKinley Rd., you can’t miss the printed signs ‘SAVE MCKINLEY: Our Neighborhood School Since 1951.’ The Madison Manor Civic Association has revved up with nearby PTAs and community groups to assemble contrary arguments.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Tafti Pushes Back on AG Comments — From Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney-elect Parisa Dehghani-Tafti: “We are neither righteous warriors nor avenging angels. We are public servants. So a little humility in how we do our job and how we accept public critique of our work would go a long way toward building a system that is both safe and just.” [Twitter]

Free Holiday Grief Support Service — “For those who’ve suffered loss-whether recently, or even years prior-the holiday stress can make the season more difficult. To help those grieving in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia during the holidays, Capital Caring Health, a local non-profit, offers a wide range of free counseling and support services.” [Press Release, Arlington Public Library]

Special Burial at Arlington National — “Private Edwin Francis Benson was killed in action at Tarawa during World War II. In 2017, his remains were located. Earlier this year, his remains were identified and a couple weeks ago he was laid to rest in Section 60. We honor his service.” [Twitter]

APS Students Learn About the Census — “The U.S. Census Bureau kicked off its Statistics in Schools program, offering Arlington teachers and others a wide array of resources that teach students not only about data but also about the importance of being counted in the upcoming 2020 Census. Arlington Public Schools shared the free program with its teachers, who can integrate it into their lesson plans.” [Arlington County]

Road Closures for Race in Pentagon City — “The Jingle Bell Run/Walk 5K for Arthritis will take place on Saturday, December 7. Police will conduct road closures in the area of South Joyce Street and Army Navy Drive to accommodate this event.” [Arlington County, Twitter]

New Additions to Story Map — A number of properties have been added to the Arlington Historical Society’s Story Map, per organizer Charlie Clark, including: 817 N. Irving St. (Lyon Park), built circa 1904; Hendry House, 2411 N 24th St. (Woodmont), built circa 1900; 3405 N. Glebe Rd. (Country Club Hills), built circa 1907. [Arlington Historical Society]

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This column is written and sponsored by Arlington Arts/Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

The Arts are rooted in entrepreneurship. That’s why Arlington Arts has been a stalwart supporter of the GRUMP Holiday Art and Craft Show: an annual showcase featuring more than 50 vendors and the best in unique handmade gifts and treats!

Offered in partnership with the Crystal City BID, JBG Smith and Arlington Arts, it’s a great example of how Arlington County connects the business and creative sectors. In advance of this year’s event on Saturday, December 14, we chatted with co-creator Tina Henry-Barrus about the continued evolution of the nine-year-old seasonal show!

How did Grump come about?

Beth Baldwin and I became friends while selling our handmade stuff at various local arts and crafts shows. One show, Crafty Bastards, was in the early fall and I thought that the area needed a similar fair during the holidays. I called Beth and said, “Hey, wanna attempt a holiday show of our own?” You should always have a friend who will say yes to your weird ideas.

What’s with the name?

When I asked Beth if she wanted to put on a show with me, the word GRUMP popped into my head. She laughed when I said it, so I knew it would work. It wasn’t until the second year that we added the Yeti mascot. Kids started showing up to get their photo taken with the Yeti and would ask me “Where’s GRUMP?” So now GRUMP is both the name of our show and the name of our Yeti mascot.

How did the partnership with Arlington County take shape?

Beth Baldwin was an Artist in Residence at Artisphere and she worked with staff to move GRUMP there, where it blossomed over several years. Arlington Arts has been such a valuable cheerleader for us. We wouldn’t have made it to year 9 without them!

How do you describe GRUMP to a first-time attendee?

GRUMP isn’t your grandma’s craft show, but it also isn’t super hipster either. The indoor GRUMP show has 40-60 local vendors, 3 or 4 workshops to inspire you to make something, and many Yetis for photo ops. The Yeti is a really fun part of our event. Last year we had a Yeti Board Meeting that folks could watch. This year, the Yetis will judge an ornament-making contest, kind of like The Great British Baking Show.

How is it different than other holiday shopping opportunities?

Our show is highly curated to not only our tastes but to the tastes of our shoppers. Yes, we know who they are! We also try to make sure our vendors are all really kind and lovely and fun to meet. Add in the workshops and Yeti photo ops and you have a really fun day.

What’s the best reaction you’ve ever had from a patron?

The patrons’ reactions to the Yetis never get old, but honestly, I mostly love the patrons who become vendors. The idea that our little idea encouraged someone to get creative and make something is really meaningful to us.

Find out how you’ll react when you attend GRUMP Holiday Art and Craft Show, on Saturday, December 14 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The event takes place at 2100-B Crystal Drive, Arlington VA 22202 (in the former TechShop venue). You can take the Metro to Crystal City and follow the signs to GRUMP, or drive and park in the garage for free.

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With the Thanksgiving holiday over, the Christmas season now begins. And for Arlington residents in search of a Christmas tree, there are a number of options around the county for finding the perfect pine.

The Optimist Club of Arlington began its annual sale Friday in Wells Fargo Bank lot along Lee Highway (2213 N. Glebe Road). All workers are volunteers from around Arlington, including members of youth athletic teams, high school honors societies, and Optimist Club members. The lot will be open every day until December 23, with the following hours:

  • Monday through Thursday: 2-8 p.m.
  • Friday: 12-8 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

The Clarendon United Methodist Church, meanwhile, is selling trees and wreaths to support a variety of the church’s mission projects. The volunteer-run lot — at the intersection of 7th Street N. and N. Irving Street  — will be open until December 21, or until supplies sell out. The schedule is:

  • Sunday: 12-6 p.m.
  • Monday through Friday: 6-8 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

The Arlington South Lions Club is hosting its annual Christmas tree sale at the corner of S. Four Mile Run Drive and Columbia Pike. The sale continues until December 22, or until the club run out of trees. The lot is open:

  • Weekdays: 12-7 p.m.
  • Weekends: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

The Knights of Columbus kicked off its 25th annual Christmas Tree Sale on Saturday at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Center near Crystal City, at the corner of 23rd Street S. and S. Hayes Street. The Knights are selling most trees for between $35-90, though some larger and more expensive trees are available. The lot hours are:

  • Weekdays: 6-9 p.m.
  • Weekends: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

“As usual, we feature fresh cut Fraser and Douglas Fir trees in varying sizes up to 9 feet,” the Knights said in a press release, noting the sale will end on Dec. 22 or when the supply of trees runs out. “We will also have wreaths in 3 sizes (10″, 16″, and 24″ measured from the inside wire), white pine roping available by the foot, and tree stands. Come early to get the best trees!”

Additional Christmas tree sales to check out include a fundraiser for Mount Olivet United Methodist Church (1500 N. Glebe Road) and its boys and girls scout troops. The sale will be held this weekend, beginning on Friday, December 6 from 4-9 p.m.

At St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (400 Lorcom Lane), two hundred Christmas trees have been delivered, with sales continuing this weekend. On Saturday, the trees will be available from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and then on Sunday the lot will be open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Peter Golkin 

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(Updated at 10:50 a.m.) Thousands of volunteers will gather at Arlington National Cemetery later this month to honor veterans by laying wreaths at their graves.

The annual Wreaths Across America event will be held this year on Saturday, December 14, beginning with an opening ceremony at 8:30 a.m.

Volunteers are still being sought to help lay the wreaths, while the group that organizes the annual event is also seeking sponsors to help pay for the wreaths. As of today (Monday), more than 70,000 wreaths have been sponsored — just over a quarter of the 253,000 graves across the cemetery.

Similar to years past, cemetery officials are strongly recommending attendees use public transit to get to the wreath laying event. Because so many volunteers are expected, officials suggest using the nearby Rosslyn and Pentagon Metro stops instead of the cemetery station.

“The annual tradition provides another opportunity for visitors to honor the service and sacrifice of our service members, veterans and their families laid to rest within our hallowed grounds,” the cemetery said via social media.

More from an ANC press release:

The annual Wreaths Across America event will be held at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) and the Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 14. The gates to these cemeteries will open at 8 a.m.

Volunteers should anticipate large crowds and difficulties with driving vehicles in the vicinity of Arlington National Cemetery due to road closures. To ensure the safety and security of its visitors, the cemetery has restricted personally owned vehicles from driving onto cemetery grounds during the duration of the event and is encouraging visitors to use Metrorail or Metrobus.

“We encourage volunteers to arrive early and recommend taking Metro to the Pentagon or Rosslyn stations and walking into the cemetery,” said Executive Director Karen Durham-Aguilera. “It’s a short 15-minute walk from these stations and the most seamless way to access our hallowed grounds on this special day.”

Event Details

The Arlington National Cemetery gates – Main Entrance, South Gate and Ord & Weitzel -will open to the public at 8 a.m. All volunteers must pass through the cemetery’s security screening process before entering the cemetery.

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall will be accessible to DoD ID card holders only; however, parking will be limited to the Tri Services parking lot located across from the Spates Community Center and Henderson Hall.  Due to ongoing construction, the sole entry point to the cemetery from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall will be the Old Post Chapel Gate.

There will be a brief opening ceremony inside the cemetery at the McClellan Gate at 8:30 a.m. General wreath placement will also begin at this time with the exception of those trucks in vicinity of the opening ceremony. They will begin wreath placements no later than 9 a.m.

Use Metro to Access the Cemetery

Due to anticipated congestion at the Arlington Cemetery Station, Metro recommends volunteers exit via the Rosslyn or Pentagon stations and walk to the cemetery. From these locations it is a short 15-minute walk to one of the cemetery entrances.  If exiting at Rosslyn, you must enter the cemetery via the Ord & Weitzel gate by walking along the North Meade Street sidewalks. If exiting at the Pentagon, you must enter through the cemetery’s South Gate entrance by walking along North Rotary Road.

Pentagon Parking

Limited general public parking will be available at the Pentagon North and South Parking lots. There will be Wreaths Across America volunteers and signage positioned in the parking lots guiding visitors to walk to the nearest cemetery entrances. For those parking in Pentagon South Parking, recommend walking to the cemetery’s South Gate entrance for screening and entry to the grounds. For those parking in Pentagon North Parking, recommend walking to the cemetery’s main entrance on Memorial Ave. by using the Route 27 pedestrian walkway.

There will be additional parking lots available for volunteers at a reduced $7 per day rate, within walking distance to the cemetery.  These garages are located at:  1616 Fort Myer Drive; 1300 Wilson Blvd.; and 1655 North Fort Myer Drive.

Family Pass Holders/Handicapped Placards

ONLY family pass holders and those with handicapped placards will be allowed to park in the ANC Welcome Center parking garage.

Instructions:  Family pass holders and those with handicapped plates/placards will need to go to Pentagon North Parking where their pass will be verified. They will then be directed to the ANC Welcome Center parking garage. Once the parking garage is full, drivers will be directed to other parking options.

Note: This is a change from last year. There is NO pre-registration required for family pass holder parking this year.

Ride Share Drop-off Locations

For those volunteers who plan to arrive via a ride share (i.e. Uber, Lyft), the drop off location is the Hayes lot (599-549 Army Navy Drive). From this point, volunteers will need to walk to the cemetery’s South Gate entrance.

Photo via Flickr/Jeff Reardon 

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With Thanksgiving right around the corner and the winter holidays quickly approaching, a festive day-long event is coming to Rosslyn next week.

Hosted by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID), Rosslyn Cheer will take place on Wednesday, December 4 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., and then from 5-7:30 p.m, at the Central Place Plaza (1800 N. Lynn Street)

During the lunchtime hours, there will be free hot chocolate, holiday cookies for sale, and a performance from an a cappella group.

Later in the evening at 5 p.m., the H-B Woodlawn Chamber Singers will be performing and a holiday food and drink bar will be offered.

Throughout the day, the BID will host its annual Rosslyn Holiday Clothing Drive, where they will be collecting warm hats, coats, sweaters, sweatshirts, and gloves. All items will go towards the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network.

“Rosslyn Cheer is a time for the community to come together and kick off the holiday season, from the tree lighting in Central Place Plaza to the lighted buildings across our distinctive skyline,” said Rosslyn BID president, Mary-Claire Burick. “The highlight will be a performance from Rosslyn’s new school, H-B Woodlawn, who have brought their own light to the neighborhood since moving in this September.”

H-B Woodlawn, meanwhile, held a Thanksgiving parade along Wilson Blvd this morning.

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Arlington’s 17th annual “Artful Weekend” art show and sale starts today and continues through this weekend.

Presented by the Arlington Artists Alliance, the fair highlights over 35 local artists and their wares across a variety of media including ceramics, jewelry, glasswork, and more.

The opening reception kicks off tonight, Friday, at the historic Hendry House at Fort C.F. Smith Park (2411 24th Street N.), from 6-8 p.m. Light refreshments will be served and the artists will be present.

The free event, described as “great for holiday shopping,” will continue Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from 12-4 p.m.

The Arlington Artists Alliance works to create and promote local art in the county, with full membership options for Arlington artists. The alliance currently has two art galleries, the Gallery Underground in Crystal City (2100 Crystal Drive), and Gallery Clarendon (2800 Clarendon Blvd).

Photo via Arlington County

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This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Alex Held, Small Business Manager, BizLaunch

While in its 10th year, Small Business Saturday, held on November 30, continues to be incorporated into many families’ holiday shopping traditions. In fact, in 2018 U.S. consumers reported spending an estimated $17.8 billion at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday.

Additionally, 59% of small business owners report that Small Business Saturday contributes significantly to their holiday sales each year. With those numbers Small Business Saturday is BIG business for many of our small and independent retailers across the country and here in Arlington.

In Arlington, small business patrons can #shopsmall while entering for a chance to win prizes, find deals and discover unique local shops by participating in the shopping passport program coordinated by One More Page Books & More.

Shoppers can participate in the program by picking up a passport at any participating retailer; many of the retailers are also running deals and promotions on Small Business Saturday. In Arlington, the following retailers are participating in the passport program:

In addition to the passport program, shoppers looking to support small businesses in Arlington this holiday season and year round can leverage American Express’s Small Business finder. There shoppers can find any small business that accepts American Express right within their neighborhood.

Locally, BizLaunch offers numerous resources to support small businesses, but one that helps shoppers find small businesses while serving as an opportunity for businesses to receive FREE promotion is the BizLaunch Small Business Directory. Every small business in Arlington is welcome to upload their business listing with links to their website and logo to the directory, easily and most importantly for FREE. Additional resources for Small Business Saturday, including quick branding kits can be found online at American Express.

Programs like Small Business Saturday among others help keep local dollars within Arlington, representing the community’s character, while contributing to a vibrant business community making Arlington an ideal place to live, work and play.

Celebrando y apoyando negocios locales para más información visite BizLaunch en Español.

For more information about how BizLaunch supports small businesses visit www.bizlaunch.org.

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