Press Club
An privately-owned overflowing trash can in Pentagon City. (photo courtesy of Rebecca/@rdc20132)

Overflowing trash cans are becoming a more common sight in Pentagon City and Crystal City, but the county is pledging to clean up the mess.

In recent days, several local residents posted photos on social media of neighborhood trash cans and recycling bins filled beyond the brim with soda cans, food wrappers, pizza boxes, coffee cups, and doggie bags. The problem, as noted, seemed to happen more on weekends.

https://twitter.com/rdc20132/status/1525557363557777410

County officials tell ARLnow that increased seasonal tourism and more weekend events are to blame, as both in the region are ramping back up after 2+ years of pandemic-related drop-offs.

“We are seeing a definite increase in use of public trash cans in parts of Arlington like Pentagon City, frequented by a lot of folks from out-of-town,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services (DES) spokesperson Peter Golkin tells ARLnow. “After the first two years of the pandemic, there’s a noticeable rise in tourism and this is the traditional high point for any year thanks to school trips. When a group pulls up, it’s natural to want to get rid of junk like food wrappers and soda cans, especially on big buses that drivers have to keep clean.”

Golkin says that there are more workers back in offices as well, grabbing lunch and coffee while disposing of the remains in public trash cans. Plus, the increasing number of events both in Arlington and in D.C. has resulted in more “water bottles and wrappers naturally [making] their way beyond the event site.”

There’s also the notion of not wanting to walk the extra block to find a less-filled trash can.

“The messy problem comes when a trash or recycling can is full and the urge is to just keep piling rather than look for something with room maybe a block or two down the street,” he says.

To help solve the issue, Golkin says that DES is shifting schedules to include specific weekend checks at trouble trash spots in addition to the regular weekday rounds. However, “tight staffing” does not make it “easy to re-allocate limited resources like staff time.”

Despite requests from some residents, there’s no current plan to add more trash and recycling receptacles to those areas most impacted.

“The Solid Waste Bureau will see if the increased servicing takes care of the issue or if additional steps are necessary,” Golkin notes.

Not all of the trash cans in those neighborhoods are serviced by the county, however.

DES monitors and manages four pairs of trash and recycling receptacles on each side of S. Hayes Street near the Pentagon City mall. But there are also a number of trash cans in the area that belong to privately-owned buildings and are required to be serviced by those property owners.

Additionally, another county department — the Department of Parks and Recreation — handles the waste around Virginia Highlands Park, which is up a few blocks from the mall on S. Hayes Street.

As County Board chair Katie Cristol noted on Twitter, residents can request service or report problems with trash or any other street issue 24/7 through the county’s “Report A Problem” portal. More broadly, the county is currently updating its nearly-two-decade-old solid waste management plan and is asking for public input.

Golkin is optimistic that shifting more service to the weekends will help alleviate the trash problem in Pentagon City and Crystal City. But he does have a simple request.

“If a receptacle is already full, try to hold on [to trash] until there’s a nearby can with room.”

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The growing cadre of tech employees working in Pentagon City and Crystal City now have new places to go for their sneakers and hoodies.

Two new stores recently opened at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall on S. Hayes Street. SneakerMat is on the second level near Nordstrom and specializes in sneaker cleaning, restoration, and repair. It also has a collection of footwear for purchase.

The shop is local to the D.C. area and independently-owned, with its only other location in Hyattsville, Maryland.

“I became very proficient in shoe care and restorations [because] of a passion to always keep my shoes clean,” Nathan Hawkins, the shop’s co-owner, wrote on its website. “Growing up there were times I had to wear the same shoes an entire school year; so making sure my shoes were clean and could last was very important to me.”

Custom World, located next to the GameStop on the mall’s food court and Metro level, is a customized hoodie and t-shirt retailer. The store claims that it can “customize everything in 15 minutes” — something, presumably, that fast-moving startups may appreciate.

The stores join other recently-opened retailers at the Fashion Centre, including Rihanna’s lingerie brand Savage X Fenty. Back in September, a cereal bar, a Levi’s store, a furniture store, and an LA-based luxury goods seller all set up shop there.

The mall, popular with local shoppers as well as out-of-town tourists, is located only a block from Amazon’s under-construction HQ2.

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Morning Notes

Blooming trees and the dog park at Gateway Park in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Animal Shelter at Capacity — “Our dog kennels are at capacity (every single kennel is occupied)… but what about your home? That extra seat on your couch sure would be a lot cuter with a furry friend curled up on it.” [Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Fox 5]

Parents Peeved at Teacher Transfer — From an online petition with nearly 500 signatures: “Dr. Sharon Gaston has worked at Taylor Elementary school for 12 years as the lead reading specialist. For the past 11 years she was appointed under 2 different principals as their designee. This past school year she applied to be the principal and unfortunately was passed over. The new principal… is transferring her to a high school. Why? We want answers.” [Change.org]

APS Announces New Principals — “So happy and proud to announce that Ms. Frances Lee has been appointed as the next principal of Ashlawn Elementary! She is currently assistant principal of Escuela Key.” “At the April 28 School Board meeting, the School Board appointed Ms. Bridget Loft as the new Swanson principal. Her appointment is effective May 3.” [Twitter, Arlington Public Schools]

New Japanese Eatery at Mall Food Court — “Sarku Japan… The largest and most successful Japanese Quick Service Restaurant chain in the US is coming! Come celebrate the grand opening of Sarku Japan at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. Sample their famous signature chicken teriyaki at the food court.” [Twitter]

Arlington Man Sentenced for Bias Attack — “A man from Arlington, Virginia, was found guilty and sentenced Friday for a hate crime attack on two Latino construction workers back in 2019. A judge sentenced Kurt Madsen, 53, to 540 days — nearly a year and a half — in jail, but suspended his term to time served as long as he completes two years of probation. Before his trial, Madsen spent 160 days in jail.” [WTOP, U.S. DOJ]

Police Memorial Ceremony Planned — “The annual Arlington County Peace Officers Memorial Day Ceremony will be held on Tuesday, May 10 at 8 a.m. at the Arlington County Justice Center, 1425 North Courthouse Road… The public is invited; the event also will be live streamed through the county government’s Facebook page.” [Sun Gazette]

Metro Starting to Buy Electric Buses — “New details of Metro’s Zero-Emission Bus Transition Plan, presented at this week’s meeting of the Board of Directors, outlines how the agency will transition to a zero-emission bus fleet including testing and evaluation, infrastructure and facility upgrades, and procurement efforts.” [WMATA]

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 76 and low of 61. Sunrise at 6:10 am and sunset at 8:03 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Singer and Savage X Fenty founder Rihanna (photo via Facebook)

When Grammy Award winner Rihanna wanted to open the first D.C. area store for her lingerie brand, the choice of location was obvious: Pentagon City.

Savage X Fenty will be opening this weekend at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. It’s the brand’s fifth brick-and-mortar location and the first in the Washington region.

The mall location — a block from Amazon’s under-construction HQ2 — affords it both plenty of local shoppers and a steady stream of out-of-town tourists to check out the e-commerce-oriented brand’s fashionable undergarments in person. It will stock items for both women and men, in an Instagrammable setting.

“Leading with innovation and design, the store boasts five distinct rooms – Ripple, Logo, Swirl, Video, and Evergreen – where shoppers are guided through interactive experiences and photo worthy moments, including a one-of-a-kind mannequin wall,” noted a press release. “The brand will also introduce proprietary chrome and lavender mannequins representative of real bodies that were modeled through 3D technology celebrating all body types and furthering its commitment to inclusivity.”

The store will be opening on Saturday.

The press release is below.

Read More

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(Updated at 12:35 p.m.) A man suffered critical injuries after falling from the Pentagon City mall parking garage Monday afternoon.

The incident happened around 3:30 p.m. at the large parking garage on the 800 block of Army Navy Drive. 911 callers reported that the man fell about 50 feet to the concrete below.

“Crews arrived on scene and found an adult male suffering from life threatening injuries,” Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Nate Hiner told ARLnow Monday evening. “That individual was transported to an area hospital where he remains in critical condition. The details surrounding events prior to the injury are being investigated by ACPD.”

Police remained on scene for several hours investigating what happened.

On Tuesday, the Arlington County Police Department revealed in its daily crime report that the man was a shoplifting suspect who was allegedly fleeing from a security guard and attempting to jump over a railing when he fell.

From ACPD:

LARCENY (Significant), 2022-03070149, 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 4:02 p.m. on March 7, police were dispatched to assist the Fire Department with an injury from a fall in the 800 block of Army Navy Drive. The investigation determined the suspect had entered a business, allegedly concealed merchandise under his coat and left without paying when an employee approached and offered assistance. A security guard entered the area and began to follow the suspect who then ran to the parking garage and attempted to jump over a railing before falling to the ground. Medics transported the suspect to an area hospital with serious injuries. A summons for petit larceny was obtained for the suspect.

Two men and one woman are behind bars after police say they stole items from a Pentagon City store and tried — unsuccessfully — to flee from officers.

The incident happened around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday on the 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. (That’s the same block as the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall, though Arlington County police typically do not name the businesses that have been the victims of crimes.)

What started as a retail theft escalated to an assault on police after officers were able to quickly locate the suspects, according to a crime report.

“Police were dispatched to the report of a larceny in progress. Upon arrival, officers observed the three suspects fleeing from the business and gave them commands to stop,” said an ACPD crime report. “As the officers were taking Suspect One into custody, he resisted arrest and attempted to flee the scene. A struggle ensued, during which Suspect Two acted disorderly and attempted to strike the officers as they took Suspect One into custody.”

“Additional units arrived on scene and took into custody Suspect Two, as well as Suspect Three who was located on the metro platform,” the crime report continues. “During the course of the investigation, Suspect Three provided false identifying information, however the officers were able to subsequently properly identify him.”

One officer was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries, ACPD said.

Stolen merchandise was allegedly recovered from two of the suspects. A 21-year-old man, 36-year-old woman and 23-year-old man are now facing charges ranging from petty theft to assault on police to identify theft.

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Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall entrance (file photo)

A woman with kids in tow reportedly became enraged by unsatisfactory service at the Pentagon City Apple Store yesterday, leading her to assault an employee, kick an iPad and steal a phone.

The wild scene played out around 4:30 p.m. at Apple’s busy Pentagon City mall location.

“Upon arrival, it was determined that the female suspect allegedly became irate after being refused service by store management and began to act disorderly,” said an Arlington County Police Department crime report today. “The suspect allegedly struck the employee with a plastic toy firearm, knocked a tablet out of his hands and kicked it across the store, then stole a cell phone and accessories from them.”

Police radio traffic suggests that the woman had kids with her at the time. She left the store and drove off before officers could find her.

“The suspect fled on foot into the parking garage and left the scene in a vehicle,” the crime report said. “The victim sustained minor injuries that did not require medical treatment.”

The incident was classified as a robbery due to the items that were allegedly taken by force.

“The investigation is ongoing,” ACPD said.

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(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) Four people have been taken into custody after a police pursuit through Pentagon City.

Initial reports suggested that police were trying to pull over two suspects in a white SUV near the Fashion Centre mall. The SUV had at least one flat tire, possibly flattened by officers using “stop sticks,” but refused to stop.

The driver, struggling to control the SUV due to the flat tire or tires, reportedly took a sudden detour through the Harris Teeter parking lot with police trailing behind.

A traffic camera showed the SUV exiting the parking lot onto Army Navy Drive, near the mall garage entrance, followed by multiple police cruisers. Arlington County police have a policy against giving chase except in certain circumstances, but officers radioed to the dispatch center that they were merely following the swerving SUV at a rate of speed below the speed limit.

The SUV could be seen turning onto S. Hayes Street, and shortly thereafter its occupants fled on foot. One person ran through the mall, with officers in pursuit, before being taken into custody in the parking garage on the food court level, according to scanner traffic. Officers told dispatchers that they subsequently recovered two guns.

Many of those details were confirmed in an account of the incident provided to ARLnow. From Arlington County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage:

At approximately 3:41 p.m. on November 23, police were alerted to a possibly stolen vehicle in the area of the 800 block of Army Navy Drive. Officers located the parked, unoccupied vehicle and confirmed its status as stolen. Five subjects subsequently returned to the vehicle and police attempted to stop them. Two subjects were detained without incident, one subject fled on foot, and two subjects fled in the vehicle. Officers deployed stop sticks, causing the rear tires of the vehicle to deflate, however the driver continued to travel at a low rate of speed around the area. Arlington County Police did not pursue the vehicle. With the assistance of Virginia State Police, the vehicle was stopped at 12th Street S. and S. Hayes Street and the driver of the vehicle was taken into custody without incident. The passenger fled on foot and officers initiated a brief foot pursuit before taking the subject into custody without further incident. One subject remains outstanding. During the investigation, two firearms were recovered. The investigation is ongoing and charges are pending.

At least one vehicle was reported to have been struck while the suspects made their attempted getaway, though at this point it’s unclear where.

Southbound S. Hayes Street in front of the mall was partially blocked by the police activity after the incident.

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Santa Claus (Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Jonathan Meath)

You better watch out, you better not cry, because a fully-vaccinated Santa Claus is coming to town.

Santa is going to return to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City starting next Friday (Nov. 19) through Christmas Eve (Dec. 24). Reservations are “strongly encouraged,” notes the mall’s website.

Santa is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a Fashion Centre at Pentagon City spokesperson confirmed this to ARLnow.

The website of the photography company behind Santa’s appearance also notes that all employees, including Santa and his elves, were required to be vaccinated by October 14, except for those with valid medical and religious exemptions.

Guests will have the choice to sit with Santa or be socially distant for their photos this year.

Masks or face shields are being encouraged for those over two years old, but not mandated at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, a spokesperson confirmed.

“Santa’s helpers will be wearing masks throughout the duration of your visit,” notes the website.

Other safety measures in place include frequent cleaning of high touch-points and access to hands-free sanitizer.

Last year, despite increasing COVID cases and vaccines not yet being publicly available, Santa still came to Pentagon City for “safe and socially distanced” visits. At least he wasn’t in a bubble, like some other Santas across the region.

There’s no word yet on whether Santa will also be making an appearance at Ballston Quarter like in prior years.

Via Wikimedia Commons/Jonathan Meath

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(Updated, Nov. 9) The Pentagon City mall is getting a little sweeter with the opening of Swiss chocolate shop Läderach.

The large Swiss chocolate retailer is expanding to 30 new U.S. locations, many of which are specifically at Simon shopping centers, including the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

Läderach is replacing the Godiva store that closed earlier this year, part of an asset purchase agreement that saw them assume the leases of more than 30 Godiva locations across the country. The shop is on the mall’s first level, next to the Ann Taylor.

It had a soft opening last month, a Läderach spokesperson confirms to ARLnow.

The Arlington location is the second in the region. In February, Läderach opened a shop at Union Station in D.C. with a “self-serve carousel.” The Pentagon City mall shop does not have a carousel.

This is all part of the company’s “westward expansion… to meet the growing demand for premium fresh chocolate in the area that we’ve also seen through e-commerce.”

Nonetheless, there’s going to be lots of sweet, sweet chocolate.

“For chocolate lovers, this store is all about the chocolate experience! It offers more than 85 varieties of premium fresh chocolate shipped directly from Switzerland, including its famous FrischSchoggi (fresh chocolate in Swiss German) counter which includes more than 20 varieties of chocolate bark,” says a press release. “All chocolate is made from bean-to-bar in-house and shipped directly to the store guaranteeing its quality and freshness, which is second to none.”

Operating since 1962, Läderach is family-owned and until recently only had stores in Switzerland. Elias Läderach is one of the heirs to this chocolate fortune and was named World Chocolate Master in 2018 for his “lightning-fast technique, perfectionist attitude and flawless execution.”

The chocolate store is one of a number of new shops and eateries at the mall on S. Hayes Street. There’s now a Levi’s store, Mediterranean restaurant Sante, and a Day & Night Cereal Bar that specializes in milkshakes and cereal, among others.

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(Updated at noon) Arlington County police say they’re aware of a reported threat to shopping centers in Northern Virginia.

News about the threat initially broke early this afternoon. Fairfax County’s police chief subsequently said information had been received by law enforcement about “potential public safety impacts to malls and shopping centers across the region.”

An Arlington police spokeswoman, responding to an inquiry from ARLnow, described the threat as “non-specific” and “unconfirmed,” but said ACPD is “deploying increased police resources” this weekend.

“The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) is aware of information circulating regarding an non-specific, unconfirmed threat to shopping centers,” said spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “There is no specific or identified threat to our region.”

“As always, the public is encouraged to remain attentive as you go about your normal routine, particularly in areas where large crowds of people typically gather such as shopping centers, restaurant districts, religious services, and public transportation hubs to name a few,” she continued. “If you observe suspicious behavior or situations, report for police investigation by calling the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.”

Savage said the department “is deploying increased police resources in Arlington County, to include both visible and non-visible assets, during the Halloween weekend and continues to work collaboratively with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners on information sharing.”

CBS News and Fox 5 have both reported that the threat may have been made by the terror group ISIS.

More via Twitter:

https://twitter.com/MikevWUSA/status/1454121485321359369

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