From The West Wing to The Pelican Brief, Arlington has been home to a number of film scenes over the years.
The county’s tourism promotion agency, StayArlington, listed several notable locations in a recent blog post, and ARLnow hit the pavement to find some of the more famous sites.
Few political junkies have forgotten the famous attempted assassination scene in The West Wing, which was filmed in Rosslyn’s Freedom Park.
Other memorable sites include scenes from Charlie Wilson’s War, which was filmed at Rosslyn’s The Weslie Condominiums, from The Next Karate Kid and Flags of Our Fathers, both of which shot scenes at the Marine Corps War Memorial, according to StayArlington.
The Ballston Common Mall — now Ballston Quarter — parking garage is said to have been the set for a scene in The Pelican Brief. The Russell Crowe thriller State of Play, meanwhile, included scenes at the Rosslyn Metro station and the Americana Hotel in Crystal City.
Any other famous scenes we missed on our tour? Let us know in the comments.
(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) The Iwo Jima memorial is set to get a new visitor center as part of the National Defense Authorization Act that was just signed by President Trump.
It instructs the Secretary of the Interior to build a “structure for visitor services to include a public restroom facility.” It does not specify where the center will be built, but the text says it will be “in the area” of the memorial, the formal name of which is the Marine Corps War Memorial. A Beyer spokesman said this was the “final hurdle” to getting the visitor center built.
Beyer, whose district includes Arlington County, introduced a bill authorizing construction of the restrooms last year, funded by a gift from local philanthropist David Rubenstein.
Work began earlier this year to revamp the memorial, including washing and waxing the memorial and re-gilding its lettering; repairing any parts of the granite plaza that have become damaged; improving lighting; repaving roads and footpaths; and installing new signs, shrubs and trees.
Rubenstein pledged more than $5 million for the entire project and new visitor center.
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Crews started moving in this morning (Tuesday, August 15) to begin work to give the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial — also known as the Iwo Jima memorial — a facelift.
The work will limit public access to the memorial and surrounding parkland until next year. In signs posted near the memorial and the Netherlands Carillon, the National Park Service said the revamp includes washing and waxing the memorial and re-gilding its lettering, repairing any parts of the granite plaza that have become damaged, improving lighting, and installing new signs, shrubs and trees.
The roadway and footpath around the memorial will also be repaved.
“The road will be rebuilt in its current configuration, but with materials to better support the heavy weight of the many tour buses that use the road daily,” NPS said in a press release.
As of Tuesday morning, crews were putting up detour signs for road and trail users, as the access road to the memorial’s parking lot will be closed. In an announcement of the work, NPS said the memorial will be surrounded by scaffolding for much of the project, but pedestrians can still access the memorial plaza from N. Meade Street. Buses will have a small area for pick-up and drop-off on N. Meade Street also.
The $5.37 million project is funded by a donation from local philanthropist David Rubenstein, who has also used some of his multi-billion dollar fortune to fund the Washington Monument’s post-earthquake repairs, enrich the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ endowment and gave $12.35 million to the Arlington House Robert E. Lee museum in Arlington National Cemetery.
NPS said public access will be limited until February 2018. The memorial was dedicated in 1954 by President Dwight Eisenhower and receives 1.5 million visitors per year.
For years, visitors to our country’s most recognizable military monument have had but one nearby option should they need to use the restroom: a line of green porta-potties.
The porta-potties near the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington might be convenient, but they were also “unsightly and they smelled,” says Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.). Plus, they presented big challenges for disabled veterans visiting the memorial.
Luckily, the local philanthropist David Rubenstein stepped up last year with a pledge of $5.4 million to rehab the monument, the lighting and the landscaping around the 62-year-old monument, colloquially known as the Iwo Jima memorial. Rubenstein’s gift will now also fund permanent restrooms.
A bill sponsored by Beyer passed last week, authorizing the construction of the restrooms. The bill had bipartisan support, although its passage came a year after Rubenstein’s donation was first announced and it was made necessary by a provision that stemmed from a debate over the location of the Air Force Memorial 14 years ago.
“It’s a small victory but it moves us in the right direction,” Beyer said.
Amid congressional gridlock on important issues like the budget, immigration and gun safety, Beyer said there is still plenty of work getting done in Congress — provided the work is politically uncontroversial.
“There are places where we really can’t get things done,” said Beyer. “But those are all places where there are significant philosophical differences between Democrats and Republicans. On things where there is consensus, we can actually move pretty quickly.”
But the fact that this pretty obvious improvement is getting done mostly because a billionaire ponied up for it may make a larger point about the current state of American governance and budget priorities.
“We’re fortunate to have the David Rubensteins of the world,” said Beyer, “but it is sad that we can’t free up more money for investments in public infrastructure.”
Beyer cited figures that suggest the U.S. is $3 trillion behind on needed infrastructure work due to deferred maintenance. The U.S. Park Service alone has $11 billion in infrastructure needs, including the funding still needed for repairs to Memorial Bridge.
For needs not deemed essential enough to receive taxpayer funding, private donations may be the only way to get it done in the near term.
“Until we get our arms around entitlement reform, finding ways to grow our discretionary resources for things like infrastructure, we’re going to be dependent on good folks like David Rubenstein,” Beyer said.
Though Beyer said he had not seen a timetable yet, he expects that the Iwo Jima improvements will take at least 12-18 months to complete.
“Arlington is a wonderful place to live — it gets all these awards for best suburb or best small city — and hopefully getting rid of the porta-potties at the Iwo Jima memorial will be another small step in improving the livability of Arlington.”
Photo (below) via Google Maps
Permanent Bathrooms Coming to Iwo Jima Memorial — Congress has approved a bill to add permanent bathrooms to the Marine Corps War Memorial near Rosslyn. The bathrooms will replace the current porta-potties and will be accessible to those with disabilities, including wounded veterans. The cost of the project will be paid for by philanthropist David Rubenstein. [WUSA 9]
Arlington 9/11 5K Registration Closing — Online registration for the 15th annual Arlington Police, Fire and Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K is closing at 10 a.m. this morning. The race will take place Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. [Zippyreg]
Remembering 9/11 in Arlington — Arlington County is holding events in remembrance of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. Tomorrow, Sept. 8, the county’s Emergency Preparedness Advisory Commission is holding a public event reflecting on the response to the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, moderated by NBC 4’s Doug Kammerer. On Sept. 11 this year, the county will hold its annual wreath-laying ceremony at Courthouse Plaza. [Arlington County]
Police Car Involved in Crash — An Arlington County Police cruiser and an SUV collided yesterday afternoon while the police officer was responding to a call. The crash happened near the intersection of Walter Reed Drive and S. Arlington Mill Drive, roughly between Shirlington and Wakefield High School. No injuries were reported. [Twitter]
Arlington Not a ‘Sanctuary City’ — Does GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s pledge to crack down on “sanctuary cities” put Arlington in danger? Probably not, county officials say, because Arlington is not a sanctuary city. “It is, and has always been, Arlington County’s policy to comply with requests from all other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies including detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” the county said. [NBC 4]
Photo courtesy James Mahony
A “Junior Park Ranger Ride” is set to kick off this Sunday at 9:30 a.m., according to Kidical Mass Arlington, the event’s organizers.
During the 60-90 minute trip, riders will hit several stops along George Washington Memorial Parkway, including the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, the Netherlands Carillon and Lyndon B. Johnson Memorial Grove. The ride will end up at Theodore Roosevelt Island, according to Kidical Mass.
The event will also include activities from BikeArlington and the U.S. National Park Service. All young riders will earn Junior Park Ranger credentials for the GW Parkway once the ride is complete, according to event organizers.
Photo via Facebook / Kidical Mass
Car on Fire Spotted Driving Down Street — Yesterday evening, an Arlington County Fire Department unit radioed dispatch to report that they had just seen a car with flames visible from the engine compartment drive past them on Carlin Springs Road, its driver oblivious to the fire. The fire engine was able to turn around, catch up with the driver near the intersection of Wilson and Glebe, pull the car over and extinguish the flames. [Twitter, Twitter]
Wrong Man on Iwo Jima Memorial? — The Marine Corps is investigating claims that a Navy corpsman identified as one of the men who raised the flag in a moment depicted by Arlington’s Iwo Jima Memorial was not, in fact, in the original photo. [USA Today, Associated Press, New York Times]
USS Arlington Returns Home — The sailors and Marines aboard the USS Arlington have returned to Norfolk after a seven-month overseas deployment assisting in the fight against ISIS. [Marine Corps Times, WAVY]
Former Top Federal IT Official Dies — Greg Ambrose, who had served in senior information technology posts at the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State and Veterans Affairs, died early Tuesday morning. Ambrose took his own life at a Rosslyn condominium after posting on Facebook about a woman who had left him for another man. [FCW, Twitter]
Arlington, Virginia Tech Join ‘Smart City’ Network — “Virginia Tech and Arlington County have been accepted into the MetroLab Network of 35 city/county-university partnerships that works to bring data, analytics and innovation to local government.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
The Hope for our Veterans benefit starts 7 a.m. at the Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. There, a group of veterans will do 22 pushups to signify the fact that, statistically, 22 veterans commit suicide each day.
The poker run portion of the charity event starts at 10 a.m. at the Iwo Jima memorial. During the poker run, teams drive or ride to five locations across Northern Virginia to draw one poker card.
The five locations are:
- Crystal City Sports Pub in Crystal City
- Walkers Grille in Springfield
- Heritage Brewing Co in Manassas
- Gypsy Soul in Falls Church
- Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill in Courthouse
Poker cards may also be purchased for $20 each for those who don’t want to visit all the stops. All of the event’s proceeds go toward benefitting charities Operation Renewed Hope Foundation and Renovating Hope.
At 6 p.m., teams will convene on the Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill to present their poker hands. The best poker hand wins a 10-day trip to the Ala Moana Hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii.
The concert portion of the event also begins at 10 a.m. at the Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill, and is hosted by former Yahoo! and TV Guide Channel personality Nikki Boyer. Artists such as McKayla Reece, Tommy Fields and Mars Rodeo will play until 1:30 a.m.
The concert is free before 2 p.m., after which tickets cost $25.
One of D.C.’s most prominent philanthropists has turned his eyes — and his wallet — to Rosslyn’s U.S Marine Corps War Memorial.
The Iwo Jima memorial is in line to receive a $5.37 million donation from David Rubenstein, who just last year gave $12.35 million to the Arlington House Robert E. Lee museum in Arlington National Cemetery. Rubenstein co-founded the private equity firm The Carlyle Group and has also used some of his billions of dollars to fund the Washington Monument’s post-earthquake repairs and enrich the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ endowment.
Today, the National Parks Service announced that Rubenstein’s gift will go to “re-gild the engravings on the sculpture’s pedestal, wax the sculpture, and improve lighting, landscaping, and infrastructure.” The NPS will also improve the signage and educational materials on the memorial, sandwiched between the Netherlands Carillon, N. Meade Street, Route 50 and Route 110.
“It is a privilege to honor our fellow Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice to attain and preserve the freedoms we enjoy,” Rubenstein said in a press release. “I hope this gift enables visitors to the Iwo Jima Memorial to better appreciate the beauty and significance of this iconic sculpture, and inspires other Americans to support critical needs facing our national park system.”
The memorial was dedicated Nov. 10, 1954, by then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Since then, it has attracted millions in visitors. According to Arlington Economic Development, it attracted 1.4 million visitors in 2007.
“The Marine Corps War Memorial stands as a symbol of this grateful Nation’s esteem for the honored dead of the U.S. Marine Corps,” Marines Major General Michael R. Regner said in the release. “We are grateful for Mr. Rubenstein’s patriotism and generous donation to the National Park Foundation that will ensure this significant memorial continues to honor our fallen and inform public understanding of the cost and nature of their nation’s expeditionary force in readiness.”
Iwo Jima Anniversary — Today marks the 70th anniversary of the famous photo of Marines raising the flag during on Iwo Jima during World War II. Veterans of the battle gathered at the Marine Corps War Memorial near Rosslyn, which depicts the flag raising, to mark its anniversary last week. [Stars and Stripes]
Impromptu Marriage at Fire Station — A Marine and his fiance got married at Arlington’s Fire Station 5 Saturday night. Firefighters got the call at 6:00 p.m. that the Marine, who was deploying the next day, was in desperate need of a hall after their venue was closed due to broken pipes. Firefighters were able to hastily mop the floor and set up chairs in one of the station’s bays before the bride and groom arrived for the short ceremony. [Facebook]
Man Falls on Tracks at Ballston Metro — Around 8:15 this morning, a man somehow fell onto the outbound tracks at the Ballston Metro station. Bystanders were able to hoist the man back onto the platform. According to scanner traffic, he suffered a head injury.
SUV Rollover Near Columbia Pike — An SUV crashed and rolled onto its side at Walter Reed Drive and 13 Street S., near Columbia Pike, on Friday night. The vehicle’s occupants were unhurt and were able to get out on their own, according to a fire department spokesman. Also Friday night, a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on N. Glebe Road near Pershing Drive. The victim was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. [Twitter]
Benjamin Banneker Park to Expand — At its Saturday meeting, the Arlington County Board approved the purchase of a 8,375 square foot lot and home adjacent to Benjamin Banneker Park in East Fall Church. The $688,710 purchase will allow the park to expand, following the deconstruction of the house. [Arlington County]
James Hunter Park Cost Infographic — What caused the James Hunter dog park in Clarendon to cost so much? Washingtonian has created an interactive graphic that details some of the park’s features and their price tag. [Washingtonian]
Condo Parking Space Kerfuffle — At Saturday’s County Board meeting, the last item of the day, before the Board adjourned early due to the snowstorm, was a site plan amendment for the Virginia Square Condominiums building. The site plan amendment was proposed by the condo association to try to ameliorate a dispute over the size of two parking spaces. ARLnow.com live tweeted the absurdist theater that followed. [Storify]
Flickr pool photo by J. Peterson
Actor Sean Astin, famous for playing Rudy in “Rudy” and Sam in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, will be among the tens of thousands of runners of the Marine Corps Marathon this Sunday.
Preparations are currently underway for the race in Arlington. Astin and the estimated 30,000-plus runners — U.S. Marines and civilians — will also be joined by retired Marine Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter.
Carpenter is a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the armed services’ highest honor, for leaping in front of a grenade to protect a fellow Marine, and losing his right eye in the process. He was awarded the medal this June.
Carpenter will skydive into the race — which starts at 7:55 a.m. on Route 110 — along with 11 other jumpers, to deliver a 7,800-square-foot American flag before running in the 39th annual edition of the race, the U.S. Marine Corps said in a press release. The race is the third-biggest marathon in the country, in terms of participation, after the Boston and New York marathons.
The race will end, as always, at the Marine Corps War Memorial near Rosslyn.
Runners will start on Route 110, travel through Rosslyn and up Lee Highway to Spout Run Parkway, before heading down the George Washington Parkway, over the Key Bridge and into Georgetown.
After about 15 miles in the District, the runners will cross the 14th Street Bridge before traveling through Crystal City and Pentagon City. From there, runners will pass Long Bridge Park and the Pentagon before traveling back up Route 110, past Arlington National Cemetery, for the race’s conclusion back in Rosslyn.
The Crystal City Business Improvement District is hosting a kid’s day for children in the area to have fun while the family takes in the race. At the corner of 18th Street S. and Crystal Drive, there will be “moon bounces, face painting, arts and crafts, cotton candy, balloon animals, circus activities, and more,” and admission is free.
Rosslyn will be hosting the race’s finish festival, featuring numerous post-race events and activities, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Many of the roads in Rosslyn, Crystal City and Pentagon City will be shut down on Sunday to accommodate the race. The full list of closures in the county is provided by the Arlington County Police Department, but among the notable roadways that won’t be accessible are:
- Wilson Blvd from N. Nash Street to Route 110, from 4:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Route 110 from I-66 to Jefferson Davis Highway, from 4:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- George Washington Memorial Parkway, from Spout Run to Memorial Circle, from 7:00-10:00 a.m.
- Eastbound Lee Highway, from Kirkwood Road to N. Lynn Street, from 7:00-10:00 a.m.
- All lanes of the Key Bridge, from 7:00 a.m. to noon
- Crystal Drive from 12th to 23rd Streets S., from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Columbia Pike, from S. Rotary Road to the Washington Blvd ramp, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Washington Blvd, from Columbia Pike to the Route 110 off-ramp, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
There will also be plenty of road closures in the District to accommodate the race, including in Georgetown and along the National Mall. Parking restrictions will be in place along the course in both Arlington and the District.
Several roads in Arlington, including some major arteries, will be closed to drivers for Independence Day celebrations tomorrow.
Memorial Bridge and Memorial Circle will be closed all day, from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. From 1:00 to 11:00 p.m., Marshall Drive will be closed from Route 110 to N. Meade Street, and Meade Street will be closed from Marshall Drive to 14th Street N.
The following closures are also planned in Arlington.
From 3:00 to 11:00 p.m.:
- N. Meade Street from Marshall Drive to Route 50
- Eastbound N. Fairfax Drive from N. Pierce Street to N. Fort Myer Drive
- The exit ramps from Route 50 to N. Lynn and Meade Streets in Rosslyn
- Long Bridge Drive from Boundary Channel Drive to 10th Street S.
From 8:30 to 11:00 p.m.:
- Eastbound Route 50 at N. Pershing Drive, with a detour at N. Barton Street or Washington Boulevard
- Columbia Pike between S. Orme Street and S. Joyce Street
- S. Joyce Street between Army Navy Drive and Columbia Pike
Sites in Arlington to view the National Mall fireworks include Long Bridge Park, the Air Force Memorial, Gateway Park, Gravelly Point, the Key Bridge, the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, the Pentagon Reservation and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s Whipple Field.
Tomorrow at noon, at Whipple Field, members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment Presidential Salute Battery will fire its ceremonial 50-gun salute in honor of the country’s independence. The salute will involve a cannon firing every five seconds for five minutes.
Arlington County officials urge attendees to use public transportation. The Orange Line’s Rosslyn Metro stop is approximately 5 blocks north of the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, and the Pentagon City Metro station is near the Air Force Memorial. Shuttle buses to Long Bridge Park from the Crystal City and Pentagon City Metro stations will be available.
ART buses 41 and 51 will run on Sunday schedules, but all other ART buses will not be running. The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office, courts, community centers and libraries will be closed Friday. Trash and recycling collection will occur as scheduled, but parking across the county will not be enforced.
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Lingering Campaign Signs Annoy Arlington Dems — Uncollected campaign signs from the June 10 Democratic congressional primary are irking local Democratic leadership. Arlington County Democratic Committee Chairman Kip Malinosky says the party has contacted certain candidates multiple times to let them know their signs were still cluttering up local medians. By Arlington ordinance, signs can only be removed by those who put them up. [InsideNova]
Blue Line Crunch Coming — When the Silver Line opens next month, the average headway for rush hour Blue Line trains will increase from 8.5 minutes to 12 minutes. Metro says Blue Line riders can consider taking buses instead of trains to, in some cases, speed up their trip. [PlanItMetro]
Sietsema Reviews Mazagan — Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema has reviewed Mazagan, the new Moroccan eatery and hookah bar on Columbia Pike, next to the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse. Sietsema gave the restaurant 1.5 stars, saying the music was too loud and the dishes hit-or-miss. [Washington Post]
New Iwo Jima Bikeshare Station — A new Capital Bikeshare station near the Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima memorial, has been enjoying heavy use. The station can hold nineteen bikes but only three were parked there Wednesday morning. [Ode Street Tribune]
(Updated at 4:00 p.m.) Seven U.S. Marines, one member of the U.S. Navy and one civilian are in the middle of running the 684 miles from Atlanta to Arlington to raise awareness for traumatic brain injuries among veterans.
The crew left Atlanta Monday morning, according to organizer and the lone civilian runner, Travis Ellis. They plan to conclude their journey at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial near Rosslyn Sunday at noon.
The group calls themselves “Shepherd’s Men,” after the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga., which houses the SHARE Military Initiative, a privately owned facility that treats veterans for traumatic brain injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Ellis said it’s the only private facility in the country focused on veterans’ brain injuries, a status quo he hopes to change.
“It’s estimated that approximately 300,000 of those deployed in the last 13 years have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury,” Ellis told ARLnow.com while taking a break from running to Lynchburg, Va., this afternoon. “Every 65 minutes, a veteran or active duty member takes his or her own life. More needs to be done to help serve them and lift them up when they return home.”
While the Shepherd’s Men are running, they hope to raise $100,000, which would fund the SHARE program for a full month, he said. His hope is that more private programs serving veterans will arise as a result of increased awaress; the SHARE program only has capacity to serve 40 patients a year.
Each of the nine runners is covering about 13 miles per day, Ellis said, with each runner covering four miles on Sunday for their final leg from Manassas to the Iwo Jima memorial.
The seven-day endurance challenge has been in planning since January, Ellis said, with all the runners undergoing rigorous training programs to prepare them (although that didn’t prevent some nasty blisters). That their cause aligns with the growing scandal surrounding patient care at VA hospitals is coincidental.
“It’s purely coincidence,” Ellis said. “Everything related to that just serves as example for the need for private institutions with the ability and capacity for these services.”
Photo via Facebook
Trash cans have been removed from the Iwo Jima memorial and a number of other National Park Service properties in the area, including Netherlands Carillon, Roosevelt Island, LBJ Memorial Grove, and the Roaches Run waterfowl sanctuary.
The trash cans were removed following the Boston Marathon bombing — when there were incorrect rumors of the bombs being placed in trash cans — but the timing is coincidental. The removal was actually done as part of a larger “Trash Free Park” campaign, and timed to coincide with Earth Day.
“It is a solid waste management strategy of removing trash receptacles from all or sections of a park,” NPS’ George Washington Memorial Parkway branch wrote in a fact sheet last month. “Visitors are expected to carry out the refuse they generate and dispose of it properly at home or at another appropriate destination.”
National and local parks around the country have been getting rid of trash cans as a way to save money and discourage visitors from generating trash at parks to begin with. According to NPS, benefits of a “trash free park” include:
- Fostering a partnership between visitors and the park by encouraging people to take an active role in maintaining a trash-free park.
- Encouraging people to adopt a carry in, carry out Leave No Trace principle.
- Encouraging people to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
- Reducing odors in the picnic area.
- Increasing visitor safety by reducing the number of stinging insects, rodents, and other wildlife in the picnic area.
- Allowing staff time and funds spent on trash collection to be applied to other projects and improvements within the park. (These projects include facility and grounds maintenance, and resource preservation.)
- Reducing the amount of litter in the park.
- Establishing a commitment to park sustainability and responsible park use that will carry on to future generations.
When Fairfax County considered going trash free at county parks in 2010, the annual savings was estimated at $1.8 million.
Not everybody thinks it’s a good idea, though. Some say it’s confusing visitors and resulting in trash being left on the ground, including one recent visitor to the Iwo Jima memorial.
“I watched a war veteran (as indicated by his baseball hat) look for a garbage can to place his empty coffee cup… not finding one he placed it next to another discarded coffee cup,” local resident Lindsey Paola said in an email to ARLnow.com.