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An outdoor concert in Long Bridge Park (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Events at Long Bridge Park and Penrose Square could get boozier.

Arlington County is considering amending ordinances to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages during special events at these two public parks located, respectively, near Crystal City and on Columbia Pike.

Currently, county code allows alcohol at approved special events at Fort C. F. Smith Park in the Woodmont neighborhood, Clarendon Central Park and Gateway Park in Rosslyn. But amid support from some residents and the National Landing Business Improvement District to expand approved locations, the county is conducting a public outreach effort.

Locals can share if they think allowing drinking during special events at these parks is “a great idea, a bad idea or something in the middle.” The survey, originally set to close last week, is now open through Sunday, Nov. 6.

“Both of these sites were designed to be event venues and currently host a variety of events where alcohol would be a complement, including concerts, movie nights and festivals. In fact, both locations have closed off streets or easements nearby for their events to include alcohol,” says county staff member Adam Segel-Moss, in a video (below)explaining the proposed policy change.

The survey — which has been advertised online and on at least one sandwich board sign on Columbia Pike — asks respondents if there are any other locations staff should consider in the future. People can also share their experiences at special events they have attended at the three parks where alcohol sales are allowed.

“The county is going to take this change slowly, and in stages,” Segel-Moss said. “To be clear, we are not proposing alcohol in all parks every day at any time.”

If the change were to go through, special events organizers would have to request a permit to serve alcohol. Police review is required for special event permits requesting to serve alcohol, and the county can choose to require a police presence at the event, per the video.

The National Landing BID expressed its enthusiastic support for the change in a recent email promoting the survey.

“Having the ability to serve beer and wine during County-approved special events at Long Bridge Park (just like Gateway Park does currently in Rosslyn) is critical to our success in bringing diverse entertainment options to our district,” the BID said.

This ability would help the BID “bring world-class programming and major events to Long Bridge Park, including a signature event for the National Cherry Blossom Festival,” the email said.

A few years ago, Arlington asked locals what they thought of alcohol sales in public spaces, in general, when the county was updating its Public Spaces Master Plan.

“Nearly 60% of survey respondents indicated that they would be supportive of the sale of food and beverages, at least on a temporary basis, in parks and public spaces,” according to the plan. “This rises to over 60% when asked about the sale of food and beverages in the County’s high-density corridors or certain designated parks and plazas.”

Given the support, the updated parks plan recommends the allowing alcohol sales at more parks.

This change to county code could go to the Arlington County Board for review in January, Segel-Moss said.

Survey respondents on allowing concessions in Arlington parks (via Arlington County)
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The proposed bridge between Crystal City and DCA at its starting point in the planned Virginia Railway Express station (courtesy of Arlington County)

It’s a little less park-like than New York City’s High Line, but Arlington County has come up with a concept for new pedestrian bridge from Crystal City to National Airport.

Now, it is asking people to share their feedback.

Over the past year, the county, the Virginia Department of Transportation and a Boston-based civil engineering firm have evaluated 16 possible bridge and tunnel connections across active train tracks, the GW Parkway and National Park Service land.

After concluding the site could not accommodate tunnel entrances, VDOT and the county were left to consider two bridges. Today (Tuesday), Arlington launched a public engagement period for a preferred alternative, moving the needle forward on what’s being called the Crystal City to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Multimodal Connection project — or CC2DCA.

The county proposes starting the bridge at the planned Virginia Railway Express Crystal City station at 2011 Crystal Drive  and ending in the second level of DCA’s Terminal 2 parking garage.

If built, it would take about five minutes to walk the 1,300 feet from the station to the airport, per a press release from the National Landing Business Improvement District.

The proposed Crystal City to DCA bridge starting point at the planned Virginia Railway Express station (courtesy of Arlington County)

The bridge would be an enclosed girder bridge running perpendicular to the rail tracks.

Then, the CC2DCA would run at an angle over the GW Parkway.

Initially, the county considered an arch bridge, but a bridge supported with girders would allow the county to link the connector with the Mount Vernon Trail without re-aligning it, per a staff presentation.

The bridge segment over the GW Parkway (courtesy of Arlington County)

Once it links up with DCA’s Terminal 2 parking garage, pedestrians would have a dedicated walkway through the garage to the terminal. This path would eliminate 40 parking spaces, according to the presentation.

The bridge segment over the GW Parkway and linking to DCA’s Terminal 2 parking garage (courtesy of Arlington County)

Ballpark estimates put the project at $43 million, the presentation said. So far, CC2DCA already has over $38 million in committed funds.

Now through Nov. 6, people can share their feedback in English, Spanish and Chinese, attend a public meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 25, or submit comments via email, according to the project webpage.

“The team is sharing concepts to make sure needs and priorities are aligned,” Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Claudia Pors tells ARLnow. “This is the preferred recommended alternative to date, but it hasn’t been approved by any agencies as of now.”

After collecting public feedback, the county plans to present its recommendation to federal agencies in December, Pors said.

The preferred alternative could be confirmed by next spring and the design phase could start by the end of 2023, per the National Landing BID press release.

The second-place contender would have started at 2231 Crystal Drive and ended at the third level of the Terminal 2 parking garage. Staff ultimately decided against it because it was projected to cost $64.5 million, would eliminate 130 parking spaces at the airport and it would not be as centrally located for rail users, per the staff presentation.

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Woman at an Oktoberfest in Crystal City (courtesy photo)

Update on 9/28/22 — This event has been postponed until Saturday, Oct. 22.

Earlier: Pull out your lederhosen and dirndls for an Oktoberfest celebration returning to Crystal City next weekend.

German lagers and cider will flow freely at the outdoor festival on Saturday, Oct. 1 from 12-4 p.m. There will be games and live polka music from Alte Kumpel Band.

The festival, sponsored by the National Landing Business Improvement District, will be held at the patio and terrace space between 22nd and 23rd Streets S., near 556 22nd Street S. — formerly Athena Pallas restaurant, before it closed this summer.

Entry to the event, dubbed the National Landing Oktoberfest, is free and open to all ages and dogs (on leashes), but attendees must register and show their ticket to get in.

Food and drinks are available for purchase, and attendees’ first beer comes with a free stein — while supplies last.

That stein unlocks specials from participating restaurants on Crystal City’s “Restaurant Row“:

The Oktoberfest is being held rain or shine and drink tickets are non-refundable, according to the event website.

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Dunlap and Mabe are set to perform Sunday at Virginia Highlands Park as part of a new concert series (photo courtesy of National Landing BID)

A new acoustic concert series is set to start strumming at Virginia Highlands Park.

National Landing Unplugged” brings the Winchester, Va.-based string trio of Dunlap & Mabe to the Pentagon City area this Sunday (Sept. 4) for the first of five Sunday afternoon acoustic concerts happening this fall.

The free music series is being held at the park at 1600 S. Hayes Street and will run from Sept. 4 to Oct. 2. The music begins at 12:30 p.m. and will run for about an hour and a half.

Different artists are set to perform each week, starting with Dunlap and Mabe this Sunday. The remaining schedule of musicians will be announced in the coming weeks.

The concert series is being put on by the National Landing Business Improvement District (BID)

“Our NEW Unplugged Series will focus on a diverse lineup of mostly acoustic-style groups. We wanted to differentiate from the musical styles/offerings we traditionally feature at our longtime Friday music series,” a National Landing BID spokesperson wrote ARLnow.

The stage will be set up between the tennis courts and sprayground off of S. Hayes Street with the BID working on booking food trucks as well, the spokesperson said.

The stage for “National Landing Unplugged” will be set up between the tennis courts and sprayground (photo courtesy of National Landing BID)

The National Landing BID serves Pentagon City, Crystal City, and Potomac Yard (which straddles Arlington and the City of Alexandria). Virginia Highlands Park and Long Bridge Park are the two largest parks that fall under National Landing BID’s area.

“This is a beloved space in the Pentagon City neighborhood that is already full of great programming and we saw an opening for activation on Sunday afternoons — for a fun and light family-friendly gathering in the park,” the spokesperson said of the park.

Along with this acoustic concert series, the “NaLa Fridays at the Park” summer series continues at Long Bridge Park through the rest of September.

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Morning Notes

The Italian Store and Westover after sunset (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

House Fire Near Columbia Pike — From ACFD last night: “Units are on the scene of a working structure fire in the 3100 BLK of 15th St S. Avoid the area.” [Twitter]

Will ‘NaLa’ Catch On?  — “At first, it showed up on freebie water bottles. Then it made its way onto rainbow shirts for Pride Month. In June, it popped up on Instagram as a hashtag, and in July, it was suddenly plastered on the surfboard and silver Airstream set up in a grassy patch of Arlington, declaring to the commuters, dog walkers and joggers strutting by that their neighborhood had earned a new nickname: NaLa.” [Washington Post]

Will Home Prices Fall? — “The real-estate industry’s equivalent of the ‘f-word’ – ‘falling,’ as in ‘falling prices’ – is beginning to be used across the nation even by some who earlier felt that the homes market would withstand economic pressures without seeing declines in sales prices. But in the local area, one expert believes that localities remain largely insulated from the prospect of dropping prices over the near term.” [Sun Gazette]

Latin Masses Curtailed — “Thirteen parishes in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, must stop offering Traditional Latin Masses come Sept. 8 under new rules issued Friday by Bishop Michael J. Burbidge to conform with Pope Francis’ liturgical directives. Under the rules, eight other parishes may continue to offer Masses in what is called the Extraordinary Form, but five of those may only do so in other locations besides their churches, including school buildings and a former church.” [Catholic News Agency]

Arlington Man Wins Jeopardy! — Luigi de Guzman, an attorney from Arlington, won Friday’s episode of TV quiz show Jeopardy! with a final score of $23,401. [J! Archive]

Summer School Success — “There were the inevitable glitches, but it appears Arlington Public Schools’ soon-to-wrap-up summer-school program was a relatively smooth endeavor. ‘We’re really excited about all of the great learning,’ Superintendent Francisco Durán said in an update to School Board members on the effort, which attracted 3,152 students, ‘the vast majority’ in person, Durán said.” [Sun Gazette]

Monday Was Dark Star Park Day — From the Rosslyn BID: “While the clouds parted a little later than 9:32AM, we were glad to watch this year’s Dark Star Park Day alignment with all of you!” [Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Humid throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:12 am and sunset at 8:20 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Locals now have a chance to enjoy different coastal-inspired installations and outdoor activities in Crystal City this summer.

The National Landing Business Improvement District launched the NaLa Beach Club on Wednesday (July 27), opening several pop-up installations near Long Bridge Park to the public. The installations include two sandboxes, a cabana and an Airstream caravan.

It’s located at 101 12th Street S., a grassy area near Long Bridge Park known as Gateway Green that’s eventually set for redevelopment.

NaLa Beach Club will be hosting a series of dog- and family-friendly events over the next couple of months, including:

  • Aug. 10: a Yacht Rock dance party between 5-8 p.m. featuring performances by local music groups as well as food and mocktails
  • Aug. 17: Mermaid Landing, a mermaid-themed event between 2-6 p.m. featuring kid-friendly crafts, games and snow cones
  • Aug. 24: Latin Beach Party, a salsa class accompanied by live music, food and mocktails
  • Sep. 7: Bark at the Beach, an event geared towards dogs between 5-7 p.m.
  • Sep. 14: Sunset Hour, the last event of the NaLa Beach Club scheduled between 5-9 p.m., featuring live music, food and giveaways.

All the events are free to attend. However, because of limited space, those interested need to first register for the salsa class online.

The NaLa Beach Club follows the similar Summer House pop-up last year. Last year’s installation at Gateway Green was designed as a beach-themed outdoor work and social space, as well as a venue for weekly events.

The beach club aims to “bring the community together and engage with local and small businesses,” according to a press release.

“With the success of last year’s Summer House installation and events, we wanted to bring that same energy and excitement back to the community this summer,” said Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, president of the BID.

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A series of outdoor summer concerts is starting tonight (Friday) in Crystal City.

NaLa Fridays at the Park, formerly known as Fridays at the Fountain, is set to be held at Long Bridge Park (475 Long Bridge Drive). The concert series is set to run through October, according to the event’s website. One concert is scheduled for each Friday between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

This year is set to be the first time the concert series is being held at Long Bridge Park instead of Crystal City Water Park, its usual location. The organizer, the National Landing Business Improvement District, changed the venue because the water park is currently under construction, BID spokesperson Ashley Forrester told ARLnow.

Construction on the water park is expected to be completed in 2023.

The concerts are set to feature local bands and musicians, according to the event’s website. It is free to attend. Reesa Renee, a neo-soul and funk singer, is scheduled to perform at tonight’s series kickoff.

Applications for bands and musicians to perform are still open online. Performers are asked to play for 2.5 hours, according to the application survey.

The current lineup is listed below.

Unlike in previous years, no alcohol will be allowed in the concerts, said Forrester. Alcohol is prohibited at Arlington County parks.

Food trucks are still set to serve the crowds, however. Fine Dining to Go, which provides various types of cuisine from around the world, is set to run the food trucks this Friday, said BID marketing manager Colleen Rasa. Participants are welcome to bring their own food to the venue, according to the event’s website.

There is some seating at the venue and organizers say they will be giving out a limited number of picnic blankets each week to audience members. Attendees are also welcome to bring their own chairs.

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One of the first of several Pride Month events in Arlington is happening this coming Thursday (June 9) in Crystal City.

Rock the Lot with Pride is a “Pride Month kick-off celebration” organized by The National Landing Business Improvement District, at 2611 S. Clark Street, a parking lot behind the Hyatt Regency hotel, between 4-8 p.m., according to the event’s webpage.

There will be food, drinks and merchandise giveaways at Rock the Lot with Pride, according to the website. The Kona Ice and Curbside Kitchen trucks are set to provide food for the event, while mobile cocktail bar Toastworthy is expected to bring its Tequila Truck to the event.

Rock the Lot with Pride is free and open to the public. Registration is now available online. Toastworthy plans to give the first 100 participants a free cocktail, according to the event’s webpage. DJ Chan Don, a disc jockey based in D.C., is set to play live music for the event.

Arlington is also getting its first Pride festival, which is scheduled for Saturday, June 25, at Rosslyn’s Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd) between noon and 7 p.m.

The event, hosted by the Polished Kreative, is free and open to all ages, with the theme “Moving Forward Together.” Attendees will be able to enjoy games, food and drinks, live music and entertainment at the festival, according to its website. There will also be a designated area for pets and kids with games, face painting and other activities, according to an Instagram post.

Deejay JL and DJ Swoosh are set to perform at the festival, according to another Instagram post. Sponsors for the event include the Kitchen Shaman 9, a private chef, a local bar Quinn’s On The Corner, D.C.-based pet care firm Puppy Luv Pet Services and others.

Other events around Arlington include:

Documentary and talk on the Lavender Scare

The Arlington Arts Center is set to hold a virtual talk between artist Alexander D’Agostino and historian David K. Johnson about the history of the Lavender Scare, a purge of government employees due to their sexuality during the Cold War, on Wednesday (June 8) at 6 p.m.

The center also plans to make the documentary “The Lavender Scare” available for virtual screening between Wednesday and Tuesday, June 14.

Family Pride Day

The Arlington Art Center organized Family Pride Day on Saturday (June 11) beginning at 10:30 a.m. It is free to the public, according to the event’s webpage. Art-making activities and readings from the Drag Queen Story Hour, where drag queens read stories to children, are set to take place.

Virtual talk with Alex Myers

The Arlington Public Library is set to host a virtual talk with transgender advocate and writer Alex Myers on Monday, June 13, between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. It is open to people over 12. Those interested need to register for the event.

Pride Month for county employees

On Wednesday, June 15, OUTstanding, a LGBTQ+ employee resource group aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion in the Arlington County government, is set to host a Pride Month Proclamation and Celebration event for county employees to “celebrate living, working and thriving,” according to the event’s poster. The event is scheduled between noon and 1:30 p.m. in Courthouse Plaza at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. It is open to the public and no registration is needed.

Book club discussion

The library’s book club is also set to host a discussion session on books with LGBTQ+ themes and its June selection, “Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing” by Lauren Hough. The event is scheduled for Monday, June 27, between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. It is set to be held at the Campbell Room in the Shirlington branch library, at 4200 Campbell Avenue. It is only open to adults and registration is required.

Photo by Sophie Emeny on Unsplash

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Morning Notes

Cherry blossoms in Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Changes Coming to ‘Crossing Clarendon’ — “Our central greenspace, The Loop, will be expanding to offer more spaces to walk, shop, relax and explore The Crossing Clarendon. This renovation includes natural planting and landscaping, a modern play structure for the kids, upgrades to the water feature, increased pedestrian zones, and updated seating for our visitors. Construction is slated until late 2022.” [Instagram]

HQ2 Is Attracting Companies, Investors — “The National Landing area, which encompasses Crystal City, Pentagon City and part of Potomac Yard in Arlington, has an $8B development pipeline, $2.5B of which is from Amazon, National Landing BID President Tracy Sayegh Gabriel said… Neighborhood leaders, developers and brokers said that HQ2 is drawing new global investors and commercial tenants to seek opportunities in the area.” [Bisnow]

PSA: Close Your Garage Door — “2600 block of S. Joyce Street. At approximately 6:17 p.m. on March 24, police were dispatched to the late report of a breaking and entering. Upon arrival, it was determined that between approximately 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., the two unknown suspects entered into the victim’s open garage and stole numerous power tools.” [ACPD]

Expect ‘Manageable’ Local Growth — “Northern Virginia localities should expect moderate levels of jobs growth in the coming two decades, with the metropolitan area as a whole adding perhaps 880,000 new ones by 2045. ‘We are a 1-percent-a-year, on average, growing region. This is not too fast, this is not amazingly high. This is actually a very manageable pace,’ said Arlington County Board member Takis Karantonis, parsing new data at the board’s March 22 meeting.” [Sun Gazette]

‘Women of Vision’ Winners — “On Wednesday, March 30, 2022, the Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will honor four women for their commitment and leadership in the Arlington community with 2022 Arlington County Women of Vision awards… BUSINESS: Karen Bate and Evelyn Powers… NONPROFIT: Natalie Foote… GOVERNMENT: Tara Magee.” [Arlington County]

County Scaling Down Vax Site — “With the demand for COVID vaccines at least momentarily on the decline across Arlington, local leaders have announced plans to reopen one community center for other uses, and are working on opening up more spaces in another. County Manager Mark Schwartz on March 22 announced that, as of April 5, the Walter Reed Community Center will open for pickleball, volleyball, basketball and table games like bridge and mah jongg.” [Sun Gazette]

Governor Signs Car Tax Bill — “Governor Glenn Youngkin signed into law HB1239 sponsored by Delegate Phillip A. Scott, empowering localities to cut car tax rates and prevent huge tax hikes driven by driven by dramatic increases in used vehicle values… If local government leadership does not address the increased value of used vehicles, then taxpayers are facing significant tax increases, as the Commonwealth of Virginia constitutionally mandates 100% fair market value in property tax assessments.” [Governor of Virginia]

It’s Tuesday — Clear throughout the day. High of 46 and low of 24. Sunrise at 6:58 am and sunset at 7:30 pm. [Weather.gov]

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(Updated on 2/19/22) National Landing Business Improvement District (BID) is hosting a virtual conversation about Green Valley’s history on Feb. 24 in connection with Black History Month.

Entitled “Reclaiming the Lost Identity of Arlington County Through the Lens of Green Valley,” the event will “highlight stories of the original creators and innovators who helped build, shape and influence not only the Green Valley community, but also the greater Arlington community.”

Slated to speak are historian Dr. Lindsey Bestebreurtje from the Smithsonian, longtime resident as well as president of the Green Valley Civic Association Portia Clark, and Dr. Alfred Taylor Jr. who recently authored a book about the community’s history.

Bestebreurtje, a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, will focus on the development of African American communities in the county at large, while Clark and Taylor will share their personal experiences living in the community and observing firsthand the evolution of Green Valley.

Additionally, the first 100 people who register have the option of getting a free copy of Taylor’s book “Bridge Builders of Nauck/Green Valley.”

“As we celebrate Black History Month, I can think of no better way to commemorate the history of the Black community in Arlington County than by hearing firsthand from those who have spent their lives here,” Tracy Gabriel, President and Executive Director of National Landing BID, said in a press release. “I look forward to Dr. Bestebreurtje’s remarks and to learning from the insights and experiences of Ms. Clark and Dr. Taylor as we work to build a bright and inclusive future.”

Green Valley is one of the county’s oldest historically Black neighborhoods, dating back to 1844. Recently, the community has expressed concern about what some see as a rewriting of Green Valley history in the county’s public art master plan, as well as the lack of transparency in regards to slated changes for the historic Green Valley pharmacy.

There are a number of other events honoring Black History Month taking place in Arlington over the next several weeks. That includes a Sidney Poitier Film Festival at the Shirlington Branch Library, an Arlington Historical Society virtual exhibit exploring the African American experience and a virtual discussion about the legacy of Selena Norris Gray, who a Columbia Pike park was named after.

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Morning Notes

Spotted: Robot Dog in Courthouse — “Several people were standing outside one of the Colonial Place buildings today. I thought it was a fire drill at first, but they were too close to the building. Then I saw it.” [Twitter]

Yorktown High’s ‘Dull’ Scoreboard — “The scoreboard at Greenbrier field is not shattered, opaque or severely damaged, but it is dysfunctional and has been for some time. This is especially frustrating for athletes whose sports play in broad daylight, as the scoreboard’s bulbs are so dim they are nearly impossible to see. Parents of these athletes have voiced their complaints about the dull board, arguing that each of the other high schools in Arlington have modern, working scoreboards, while our school’s model has been in use since 2003.” [Yorktown Sentry]

TR Bridge Delays Could Get Even Worse — “Emergency repairs that will enable the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge to safely support the weight of regular traffic will probably last through the summer and cost about $6 million, the District Department of Transportation said, becoming the latest hindrance to the Washington commute as more employees return to in-person work.” [Washington Post]

More Grants for Nat’l Landing Businesses — “A grant program to support restaurants and small businesses in the National Landing area of Arlington will return for a second year… This latest round of funding totals $100,000. Grants will support small businesses’ pay for workers and other operating expenses.” [Patch]

Wakefield Gymnast Going to States — “Gabby Watts will have her opportunity to participate in the girls state gymnastics meet. The Wakefield Warriors gymnast qualified for the Virginia High School League Class 6 competition by winning the balance beam with a 9.583 score at the 6D North Region championships.” [Sun Gazette]

Reminder: ARLnow’s Reader Survey — If you want to weigh in on some changes ARLnow might make this year, please take our annual, three-minute survey before it closes at the end of the month. [SurveyMonkey]

It’s Wednesday — Today will be mostly sunny and breezy, with a high near 53. Sunrise at 6:57 a.m. and sunset at 5:47 p.m. Tomorrow there’s a slight chance of showers after 1 p.m., otherwise it will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 66 and wind gusts as high as 29 mph. [Weather.gov]

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