Press Club
Alleged “party house” on the 2700 block of N. Nelson Street, when it was for sale in 2020 (staff photo)

Residents of a North Arlington neighborhood say a large house with a huge yard on their quiet cul-de-sac is generating even bigger problems: boisterous parties, underage drinking, fast driving and trash.

“This is worse than an accident waiting to happen; it’s a potential tragedy in the making,” said Darren Trigonoplos, a resident of the Riverwood neighborhood, which borders the George Washington Parkway, during the public comment portion of Saturday’s County Board meeting.

When neighbors call the Arlington County Police Department, he said, the officers who arrive to the house on N. Nelson Street issue citations but do not stop the parties outright. Trigonoplos asked the County Board to set firm conditions on how the house can be used and to ensure the police have the power to bring activities at the house under control.

He also asked the county to make it easier for residents with complaints to figure out where to go to resolve their concerns — especially if their problem falls under the purview of multiple county offices.

It turns out Arlington County staff were already combing through county code to develop an infographic on how to report noise disturbances, County Manager Mark Schwartz said during a County Board meeting yesterday (Tuesday).

“Right now, you’re left to your own devices to navigate the county website,” Schwartz said. “I will tell you, being a homeowner, you get extremely frustrated when it’s midnight and there’s a party and you don’t know what to do.”

Who to call for noise ordinance violations (via Arlington County)

Staff worked through four different code sections to draft the infographic, he said.

“You can look on the left-hand column and find whatever’s ruining your day, and then you find out what time of the day and who do you call,” Schwartz said.

But to manage expectations, he said, the go-to for residents is the Arlington County Police Department non-emergency phone line, which may mean a few days between the call and a response by the police or another county enforcement agency.

Board Member Libby Garvey asked if residents can do anything to help their case, such as record the incident with their phone.

According to County Attorney MinhChau Corr, recordings “are not unhelpful,” but the gold standard is law enforcement observing the violation, as videos require verification.

The enforcement issue resurfaced when Board Member Takis Karantonis asked for the inclusion of reports of excessive vehicle noise. Unless police hear the noise and track down the offending car, those complaints are also hard to enforce, Schwartz said.

He acknowledged “it is a big issue and we might want to add that to this list,” but the best means of enforcement will be through automated devices.

Board Vice Chair Christian Dorsey suggested the county revisit the idea of only specifying “nighttime” disturbances in the infographic — though other types of noise complaints were also listed — as more people work from home and work non-traditional hours.

“This is a vestige from a time when it was normative when people went somewhere during the day and wanted quiet enjoyment when they got home,” he said. “It seems silly to have the weight of government to enforce quiet enjoyment of your home only at a time when we think it might be relevant.”

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Ballston BID is hosting Washington Capital watch parties (logo courtesy of Ballston BID)

The Ballston Business Improvement District is hosting a series of Washington Capitals watch parties as the local hockey team closes in on another playoff spot.

Beginning this Thursday (Jan. 20), the Ballston BID is partnering with the Capitals and Ballston Quarter for seven “home-away-from-home” watch parties at Quarter Market Plaza at 4238 Wilson Blvd. The series of parties will run through the end of hockey’s regular season, which is April 29 for the Capitals.

There’ll be high-definition jumbo screens set-up outdoors and indoors, plus food, drinks, and music from a DJ. There’ll also be giveaways like Caps tickets, branded stadium seat cushions and autographed items.

“We are proud that Ballston is home to the Caps’ practice facility, naturally we’re thrilled to celebrate our hometown team even when they’re on the road! This inaugural event series will be the new place to watch Caps away games,” Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone wrote in a press release. “Everyone from the Caps superfan down to the general passerby will find a great reason to sit down, watch the game, support our team and support our local businesses.”

Ballston has been home to the team’s practice facility and headquarters since 2006.

“We are excited to partner with Ballston BID to offer away-game Capitals watch parties at Ballston Quarter for the remainder of the regular season,” the Capitals’ vice president of marketing, Amanda Tischler, also noted in the release. “With Ballston serving as the location of our practice facility MedStar Capitals Iceplex, we are thrilled that area fans will be able to cheer on the team from a unique home environment.”

The Washington Capitals are once again skating toward the playoffs, led by one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history, Alexander Ovechkin. Even with the season only about half over, it appears that the team is well on its way to making the playoffs for an eighth straight season.

The Caps won the team’s first – and, so far, only – Stanley Cup championship in 2018, celebrating in Clarendon.

More details about the parties, including what local eateries and businesses will be participating, are set to be announced via social media as it gets closer to the events, organizers tell ARLnow.

For those who are not hockey fans, also in Ballston on Jan. 20, there’s a screening of the James Bond classic “License to Kill” complete with a DJ live scoring the film. That’s taking place at WHINO and part of a six-month series highlighting James Bond movies put on Shaolin Jazz.

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Crowd at The Lot beer garden on May 29, 2020 (via Twitter)

From Clarendon bars to crowded gyms, unmasked store clerks to house parties, Arlingtonians asked the county to investigate more than 1,000 reported cases of COVID-19 non-compliance.

The reports came in through a form that Arlington County launched last year to report lax social distancing and masking.

ARLnow obtained the full list of reported instances from a resident who acquired the list with a Freedom of Information request. After removing incomplete or abusive requests, about 1,175 remained. Of those, around 200 were filed in 2021, with the rest — just shy of 1,000 — filed in 2020.

The entries provide a snapshot into the kinds of activities that worried Arlingtonians the most during the height of the pandemic. People reported facilities operating without authorization, restaurants allegedly exceeding 50% capacity and large religious gatherings, as well as crowded non-essential businesses, parks and county facilities. A final category, “other,” included home gatherings and complaints about little masking enforcement in apartment buildings.

Referencing a rowdy house party, one reporter asked the tip line, “can we lock everyone under 30 in a closet until this is over?”

Of the nearly 1,200 submissions, about 370 referenced restaurants exceeding 50% capacity.

Far and away, the most frequently reported establishment was The Lot beer garden near Clarendon, which racked up at least 100 reports. Many of these came the Friday (May 29, 2020) that The Lot reopened along with other non-essential businesses permitted to reopen with additional precautions.

The word cloud shows Arlington businesses that have been reported at least four times for not complying with COVID-19 guidelines. The size of each name depends on how frequently they were reported (via WordItOut.com)

The opening day went viral when Democratic strategist Adam Parkhomenko posted a photo showing a large crowd outdoors, with none wearing masks. The bulk of the tips came that weekend.

“People packed in like sardines. Minimal masking. Shut it down,” wrote one.

Board member Katie Cristol retweeted the photo, suggesting The Lot was out of compliance and included a link to the hot line. She later apologized for the suggestion in a tweet. Outdoor settings were later found to be much safer than indoor settings in terms of virus spread, though not without risks.

Some complaints about Clarendon’s day-drinking and nightlife continued into the fall and winter. In October a tipster said the crowding happens “every night.”

“Surely someone should be policing this — for years you have had extra police in Clarendon for the bars, so why not assign someone here?” the tipster wrote. “The line at the farmers market is better policed by volunteers than this one.”

Behind restaurants were “other” violations (about 330) and reports of public outdoor facilities not following guidelines (nearly 300). Of these, the most common were reports of social gatherings and complaints about enforcement in apartment buildings and gyms.

One tipster said their management company took four months to post signs saying masks were recommended and was not doing any enforcement: “I would estimate fewer than 50% of residents wear face covering in halls and elevators.”

A gym-goer said the building’s fitness center was “full of people” and “no one was wearing a mask except me.”

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1812 North Moore. 

Recent Yorktown High School graduate Eva Gary is bringing the magic of princesses, princes and superheroes to kids — from a safe distance and over Zoom.

At the height of the pandemic, Gary, a lifelong performer and musical theater lover, decided to defer college for a year. She wanted to re-apply to competitive musical theater programs that she could not get into and wait until more schools and classes are in-person.

With the extra time she had, she started Princess Wish Parties, granting the wishes of kids who want to see their favorite fairy tale characters.

Over the last year, Gary and her squad of characters have visited virtual art parties, events for school pods, and drive-up parties. The dance, do crafts, play games and perform sing-a-longs with kids.

“I love working with kids, and performing, and this is the most magical combination of those two things, literally,” she said.

Gary started “princessing” for other companies as a sophomore, saying it was the perfect job for a teen who needed improvisation practice and had experience working with kids. She took a break from it to apply for college, but when she ultimately decided to put college off for one year, she picked it back up.

Although she was skeptical of the first socially distanced party she attended, Gary said the experience did not change much: She still could believably embody a princess character, sing, dance and form connections with the kids.

Bolstered by the positive experience and encouraged by her mom, Gary took steps toward launching a princess company. She found second-hand “Snow Queen,” “Mermaid Princess” and “Rapunzel” costumes and wigs — these companies are not affiliated with Disney, for the record — and tested them on neighborhood kids who she said are in “the princess stage.”

“The girls believed it and were so excited about it,” she said. “That was when I realized I can do this. Having had a little bit of experience as a performer, I knew I needed to get my head around the business side, but performing would be the same.”

Since then, she has virtually auditioned and hired actors, many of whom she knew from other “princessing” gigs and the musical theater community. She has quickly added on more princesses and expanded her offerings to include princes and superheroes.

“Every second of free time is spent on this company and recently, applying for schools,” she said.

Working as a princess this year has helped her hone her craft as a princess and a performer.

“I think I’ve grown immensely as a princess performer from my sophomore year until now,” she said, adding that she also has to “be prepared to remind their kid to not put dirt in their mouth — in a friendly, princessy way.”

Now that the company has taken off, she said she plans to manage the company and hire actors from a distance during college, and delegate the logistics of handling parties to one of her younger sisters.

“It’s been harder than I expected, but I could spend every waking moment working on this and I would be happy,” she said

Photo courtesy Princess Wish Parties 

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Clarendon Day and two other festivals will take to Arlington streets on Saturday, prompting celebrations, road closures, and delicious food all around.

The massive Clarendon Day street festival which draws tens of thousands of attendees will run from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. this Saturday, September 21, and will feature food trucks and booths from vendors like donut maker Good Company, live music, arts and crafts vendors, and dance performances.

The annual Clarendon Day races will also return. Participants can sign up for the 5K race at 8 a.m., and a 10K race at 9 a.m. starting at Wilson Blvd and N. Fillmore Street, with both finishing in Rosslyn at Wilson Blvd and N. Fort Myer Drive. Runners also have the option of running both races.

Children can take part in their own, 713-foot race around the plaza driveway of the Market Common. The race, which starts at 9:30 a.m., welcomes parents along with kids and does not require separate registration for both. All kids who join the race will be awarded for their participation.

Registration costs $15 for the “Kids Dash” race, $45 for the 5K, and $50 for the 10K. Runners interested in both the 5K and the 10K can pay $55 for both races.

ACPD will close several streets from 3 a.m. until approximately 10 p.m. to make room for the festival, including:

  • Wilson Boulevard between Washington Boulevard and N. Garfield Street
  • Clarendon Boulevard between Washington Boulevard and N. Garfield Street
  • N. Highland Street between Washington Blvd. and N. Hartford Street

Police will also close additional roads for the races from 5-10:30 a.m.:

  • Wilson Boulevard, between N. Garfield Street and Route 110
  • N. Kent Street, between Wilson Boulevard and 19th Street N.
  • The entirety of Route 110 northbound, from Route 1 to Wilson Blvd. Southbound lanes remain open to traffic.

Elsewhere, near Columbia Pike, police will close 9th Street S. between Walter Reed Drive and S. Highland Street from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. to make way for the Prio Bangla Multicultural Street Festival, which celebrates pan-Asian and Latin American cultures and runs from 12-9 p.m.

The all-day festival will feature vendors with traditional foods, as well as handcrafts, clothing, and jewelry, paintings and henna art, and representatives from local businesses.

“By simply the trading and transferring of ideas, customs, beliefs, cultural habits etc. between diverse cultures living here in the USA, we would be able to accomplish our vision of living in harmony in this community,” organizers wrote on its event page.

Meanwhile, the newly renamed Green Valley neighborhood will also be throwing a celebration of its history and culture from 12-6 p.m. at Drew Elementary School (3500 23rd Street S.)

The community party will feature a DJ, a basketball tournament at 2 p.m. for youth and service workers, as well as a fish fry and barbecue.

“Today, residents pride ourselves on being part of a community where all are welcome,” organizers wrote in an email announcing the event. “Despite development, migration and gentrification that have altered the demographics drastically, we are determined to retain our unique identity as Green Valley continues to be one of ‘Arlington County’s Finest Communities.'”

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Rosslyn’s observation deck will be kicking off its Fourth of July festivities early with a hot dog eating contest and patriotic drinks.

The View of DC (1201 Wilson Blvd) is throwing an Independence Day party tomorrow (Wednesday) from 5-9 p.m. There will be red, white and blue cocktails and other specialty fare on hand for attendees.

In addition, Alexandria’s Village Brauhaus will be on hand to host a hot dog eating competition, inspired by the annual Fourth of July event in Coney Island, New York.

“We are excited to partner with Legend Hospitality to be able to put on the inaugural D.C. area Hot Dog Eating Contest,” said Village Bauhaus owner Bill Gross. “As a German restaurant with some of the finest wursts in the area we thought it would be great to use our fresh, handmade frankfurters for this event.”

Village Bauhaus will also be selling its onion- and beer-braised brats on pretzel rolls as well as giant pretzels imported from Bavaria.

If eating encased meat is not your thing, a number of other activities are planned, including music by Loose Ties, a U.S. knowledge quiz with District Trivia, life-sized games with prizes and other surprises.

“People should expect a fun filled day with great food and live music at an incredible venue,” Gross said.

Tickets for the Independence Day party are $10 and available online.

The View of DC visitors get to the 31st floor venue via Central Place Plaza (1800 N. Lynn Street), across from the Rosslyn Metro station. The observation deck is also hosting a fireworks viewing on July 4, but a ticket lottery for that event has already been held.

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Interplanetary and interstate travelers now have a chance to mingle at Reagan National Airport thanks to a Star Wars-themed event planned in the airport’s historic Terminal A.

The event is being hosted by D.C.-based Scorpio Entertainment on May 4  a day otherwise known as “May the 4th Be With You” to Stars Wars fans. The event will feature an open bar and a mix of music from new pop, EDM, Motown, 80s, and disco.

“Explore all corners of the glass-enclosed lobby with front row views of the runway, as we present an epic night of fun celebrating all things outer space,” the DJ company said in its Facebook post about the upcoming event, where it encouraged attendees to wear “themed attire.”

The party will “blast off” at 7 p.m. that night with a pre-show, followed by the main event, according to the event’s webpage.

Tickets are on sale for $45 and the event is open for attendees 18 years or older.

Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok

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The Rhodeside Grill near Courthouse is gearing up to celebrate the biggest college football game of the year, so far, with a watch party and shrimp boil.

The restaurant, located at 1836 Wilson Blvd, is planning to celebrate LSU’s clash with Alabama Saturday night (Nov. 3) in traditional southern fashion, according to a news release.

The spread will include plenty of shrimp, corn on the cob, Andouille sausage and red potatoes. The grill plans to prepare the boil outdoors and spread it “across a large, newspaper-covered community table before being served,” according to the release.

The bar will also offer up specialty cocktails to commemorate each team with “Tiger Claws” and “Alabama Slammers” up for grabs, in addition to beer specials.

The party will start around 6 p.m. ahead of the game’s 8 p.m. kickoff, which the bar will show with sound on both floors.

Guests can pay $14 for a small portion or $20 for a large. Anyone looking to reserve a table can do so by calling the Rhodeside Grill at 703-243-015.

Courtesy photo

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Morning Notes

Primary Voting Underway — It’s an election day in Virginia. On the ballot in Arlington is the Democratic race for County Board, between Chanda Choun and Matt de Ferranti, and the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, with candidates Corey Stewart, Nick Freitas and E. W. Jackson. Voting will continue through 7 p.m. [Twitter]

Post-Parade Party in Courthouse — Those heading to the Capitals Stanley Cup victory parade downtown today can head on back to Arlington for an afterparty at Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill, hosted by the Caps blog Russian Machine Never Breaks. The event starts at 3 p.m. [RMNB]

Final Issue of ‘The Citizen’ — Arlington County’s “The Citizen” newsletter is publishing its last issue this week. The county-run publication is ceasing its print issues due to budget cuts. The move was lamented by the Sun Gazette, which wrote that The Citizen provided “information that, most likely, many local residents will now not get, despite the government’s plethora of online-centric public-relations efforts.” [InsideNova]

Clement: Strip Washington from W-L Too — Independent Arlington School Board candidate Audrey Clement says it is “hypocrisy in the extreme” for the “Lee” in “Washington-Lee High School” to be removed without also removing “Washington.” Wrote Clement: “Had not George Washington, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson — all Virginia native sons and all slave holders — greased the skids of institutionalized slavery by agreeing to write it into the U.S. Constitution, Lee would not have taken up arms against his own nation.” [Audrey Clement]

Apartment Building to Get Free Broadband — “Arlington’s Digital Inclusion Initiative, announced in December 2017, will leverage the County’s fiber-optic network, ConnectArlington, to bring free broadband Internet access to low- and moderate-income households in Arlington, including those with school-age children. Arlington Mill Residences, a low- and moderate-income residential development, will serve as the demonstration project for the initiative.” [Arlington County]

Paving on Lorcom Lane — Crews are paving Lorcom Lane between N. Fillmore and Daniel streets today. [Twitter]

Nearby: Second Northside Social Opens — The new Falls Church outpost of Clarendon cafe Northside Social has opened in the Little City. “The business itself will offer a menu similar to its Clarendon location, but a basement that allows for a commercial-sized bakery and chef Matt Hill’s creative inklings will provide new lunch and dinner options.” [Falls Church News-Press]

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A Quinceañera Expo is coming to Crystal City’s Holiday Inn National Airport this Sunday (May 6) from 1-4 p.m.

A quinceañera is a Latin American tradition that celebrates a girl’s 15th birthday.

The festivities mark her transition from childhood to adulthood in a similar way to a Sweet Sixteen.

The expo will feature a fashion show with the latest styles in quinceañera gowns, a DIY workshop, and a seminar on some “new inventions.”

General admission tickets cost $5. VIP tickets, which include a Dulce Quince Magazine shirt, cost $10.

Here are the expo’s listed exhibitors:

  • A Touch of Glam by Nathalie Lopez
  • A1 Limousine
  • DJ Kanon
  • Duarte Image
  • Event Linens & Decor
  • La’Glam Studio
  • LipSense by Sophia
  • Looks by Lina
  • Mary Kay by Stephanie Baker Alibakhshi
  • Mimi’s Mocha Treats, LLC
  • Photo Fun Zone Photo Booth
  • Quince Video
  • Secret Garden by Marta
  • The Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant
  • Twinbrook Floral Design
  • Tysons Corner and Dulles Marriott

Photo via OnceUponaTime.Events

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The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office served an eviction at 201 Chain Bridge Road, the palatial former home of former multimillionaire Rodney Hunt, on Monday.

Also known as the the RPH Mansion, the 20,000 square foot estate has, over the past couple of years, hosted wild “mansion parties,” one of which led to a drive-by shooting in nearby McLean this past summer. It is also a frequent destination for police, with numerous robbery, burglary and disturbance calls during that time span.

The Washington Post reported in September that Hunt was fighting eviction after the property, which overlooks the Potomac River and was once valued at $24 million, was sold to at a foreclosure auction for $7.3 million. In December, Hunt lost his legal battle to keep the home. On Jan. 11, a Writ of Possession was issued, according to court records, marking the last legal step before Monday’s eviction.

Two unmarked moving vans and several people could be seen inside the gates of the property Monday afternoon. A number of Sheriff’s Office vehicles were parked outside. At one point, a black Lincoln Town Car was towed out of an underground garage.

Hunt’s case, meanwhile, continues to be a source of fascination and intrigue. He went from having an estimated net worth of $265 million in 2007 to foreclosure in 2012, bankruptcy in 2015 and then spending part of last year in jail for a parole violation. Two fines from his August court appearance — for $236 and $91 — are marked past due in court records.

Last year ARLnow.com received an anonymous letter, sent via the mail, raising questions about Hunt’s path to bankruptcy. The letter suggested there was a conspiracy against Hunt; the accusations were similar in tone to Hunt’s own assertions in court papers, as reported by the Post.

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