Arlington, VA

A store selling electric bikes appears to be moving into Crystal City.

According to window stickers, Leafy Bikes will be opening soon at 570 23rd Street S., next to Burn & Brew. It is moving into the former Vintage Dress Company space, after the store moved completely online.

Leafy Bikes, according to the company’s website, sells two-seat electric bikes.

“The Leafy Classic II,” says the website, “is designed to be half bicycle and half motorcycle without the contribution of gasoline.” A tutorial video on YouTube explains more about the bike’s features.

ARLnow has reached out to the email address listed on the website for confirmation, construction timeline and opening date, but has yet to hear back as of publication.

The property owner did confirm that the company has a lease and opined the electric bike store is “a cool idea.” Building permits were issued by the county to company founder Yoseph Assefa in early January for the space.

While the company has a presence in Miami, Florida, there also seems to be a local office in Potomac, Maryland.

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The kennels at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington are loaded and the shelter is hoping for a grand slam that sends all these dogs home.

During AWLA’s week-long Home Run Adoption Event, adoption fees will be cut in half for dogs six months and older to encourage potential adoptive parents to step up to the plate. Tomorrow (Saturday) through Friday, April 9, people can take home dogs under 25 pounds for $137, adult dogs for $100 and dogs 10 years and older for $87.

The shelter is reaching capacity and soon expects more dogs to arrive, Chelsea Jones, a spokeswoman said.

“Our dog kennels are very full, and with dog transports arriving next week, we really need to get our current dogs adopted to make room for the new dogs coming in from shelters in need in Texas,” Jones said. “Many of our dogs have also been with us for quite a while now, and it’s high time they found their homes.”

Some shelters in Texas are still dealing with the after-effects of the February storms and cold weather that knocked out power to much of the state, she said. Meanwhile, shelters nationwide are entering their busy season, when the number of animals needing shelter begins to rise.

“We get requests every day from shelters and rescues in need of transfer partners, and we always want to help if we are able to,” Jones said.

One year into the pandemic, which prompted many people to combat isolation with new furry friends, it seems adoption rates have come down, she said.

“We are still very busy with adoptions but not quite at the same level as a year ago,” Jones said. “We also seem to have some dogs who are having trouble finding their families and have been with us for a while — they just haven’t found their person yet, but we hope they will this weekend.”

Photos courtesy Animal Welfare League of Arlington

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It looks like Punch Bowl Social in Ballston will be reopening, after all.

The Arlington location of the national “eatertainment” chain recently posted hiring announcements on Facebook and on its front door, though it remains temporarily closed for now.

Located at 4238 Wilson Blvd, the three-story entertainment, dining and drinking complex — featuring bowling, shuffleboard and other beer-friendly social games — closed at the outset of the pandemic, reopened in October, then closed again just before Christmas.

The closure followed the Denver-based chain declaring bankruptcy. It said at the time that it was closing most of its locations to conserve cash, after having its once-high-flying business devastated by the pandemic.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Punch Bowl Social is poised for “a smooth Chapter 11 exit” after a court settlement with a key lender. Earlier last month, the CEO of the chain’s new owner said he was focused on reopening locations, confident that customers would return as more people get vaccinated.

On Tuesday, however, the Washington Business Journal reported that a previously-planned location in D.C. is unlikely to move forward due to the company’s financial challenges, making the Ballston location the only Punch Bowl Social in the Washington area. The next closest Punch Bowl outpost is in Cleveland.

So far, there’s no word on an opening date for the Ballston location. The company’s website only says it will be “reopening soon.”

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Those who work at HQ2 have a new ABC store from which to procure their booze.

The new Virginia ABC store at 1301 S. Joyce Street is set to open next Tuesday, April 6, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority announced today. The space previously housed a Mike Bloomberg for President campaign office.

The CEO of Virginia ABC said the store, at the Westpost (previously Pentagon Row) shopping center, is opening in response to local demand. The 4,200 square foot retail location in Pentagon City will offer more than 2,700 items, including over 400 types of bourbon.

“Store hours are noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday,” noted a press release, adding that “the new Pentagon Row store will provide curbside service.”

The full press release is below.

Arlington County residents in the Pentagon City area will have a new retail outlet for purchasing distilled spirits, mixers and Virginia wine. On April 6, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) will open a new store at 1301 S. Joyce St., Suite D12, in the Pentagon Row shopping center.

“Today, approximately 93% of Virginians live within a 20-minute drive of an ABC store. But even with this reach, we heard there was a need to provide a higher level of convenience to the 190,000 people 21 or older who live in Arlington County,” said Virginia ABC Chief Executive Officer Travis Hill. “This new store is proof that we’re listening.”

This will be the ninth ABC store in Arlington County. The new store measures more than 4,200 square feet. The store’s product selection spans over 2,700 items, including 434 bourbons, 381 vodkas, 244 rums, 240 cordials and 217 tequilas.

“Arlington County has more than 250 businesses licensed to serve mixed beverages,” said Hill. “These businesses are also our customers. We are committed to providing them with excellent service.”

The store employs five sales associates, two lead sales associates, one assistant store manager and one store manager who are eager to help customers find what they are looking for and discover new products. Store hours are noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Like most of ABC’s stores across the commonwealth, the new Pentagon Row store will provide curbside service. After placing an online order at www.abc.virginia.gov, customers can opt for contactless pickup of spirits, Virginia wines and mixers the same day the order is placed, as long as the selected products are available in the store.

Throughout the pandemic, Virginia ABC has implemented safety measures in all of its 393 stores using retailer guidance provided by the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to include:

  • Face mask requirement for customers and store employees. ABC will make every attempt to provide a face mask to customers who arrive without one.
  • Plexiglas shields at registers
  • Floor markers to ensure customers stand at least six feet apart from one another
  • Daily cleaning and sanitizing with particular attention to most frequented areas including checkout counters and high-touch surfaces such as door handles and knobs
  • Hand sanitizer at registers for customer and employee use

Customers are encouraged to visit Virginia ABC’s website at www.abc.virginia.gov to search for stores, determine the availability of products at any retail location and order spirits online for in-store or curbside pickup, or home delivery in select areas.

Per Virginia law, ABC’s profits from in-store and online retail sales are remitted each year to the commonwealth for designated state programs and services. For fiscal year 2020, ABC contributed a total of $545.3 million ($212.1 million from retail sales) to the commonwealth.

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For 375 days and counting, a group of neighbors in Arlington has gotten together for a socially-distanced happy hour.

Residents in the East Falls Church area set up lawn chairs in a ring within their cul-de-sac, with yardsticks to ensure they stay six feet apart. During the winter months, a small bonfire crackled. When it rains, they prop up umbrellas or shelter in the trunk of their cars.

The neighborly effort to combat isolation during the pandemic got the attention of the Today Show, which featured the nightly get-together on national TV earlier this week.

“This started out as a simple, spontaneous idea among neighbors who really didn’t know each other very well,” NBC correspondent Kelly O’Donnell said. “Now, they call it a lifeline. The whole group has been COVID-free and happier getting through this together.”

These neighbors turn a patch of pavement into “a happy hour getaway” far away “from the grind of a world locked inside,” O’Donnell said. The group named its gathering “Six Feet at 6:30” and even made T-shirts and sweatshirts.

One neighbor, Linda Winter, told NBC that when she joins her neighbors, her anxiety subsides.

“There’s just a sense that we’re safe out here,” Winter said.

Longtime resident Rockley Miller said he appreciates the newfound sense of camaraderie.

“I grew up out in this neighborhood and I’ve never known as many neighbors as I do now,” Miller said.

The group celebrates every milestone and birthday — celebrations that could otherwise go unmarked due to gathering limits and COVID-19 risks. They even held a screening of the movie “Hamilton,” which came out last summer.

“It’s amazing to me how just a little bit of energy can go a long way,” resident Andy Cosgrove said.

The neighbors want to keep the happy hour up after the pandemic subsides, O’Donnell said, concluding the segment.

Photos via David Martin/YouTube

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The first time Matt and Vicky Eichler saw Jazz, she was in a crate coming out of baggage claim at Reagan National Airport.

“They sounded the big siren at Reagan National and she came through the little cargo thing,” says Matt. “And she was born to us.”

That was in 2002.

Today, Jazz (short for “Jazzmatazz”) is a newly-turned 19-year-old, toothless, miniature dachshund who lives with her caretakers in the Arlington Forest neighborhood. And this birthday girl (her birthday was March 19) has gone Arlington viral.

As ARLnow’s Pet of the Week last week, Jazz made quite an impression. On Facebook, Jazz’s story have received more than 250,000 impressions, 16,500 likes, 650 shares, and 1,300 comments — and counting.

It’s the most viral Pet of the Week post on social media that anyone here can remember. (In terms of readership on the ARLnow website, Jazz was unable to overtake the all-time Pet of the Week pageviews leader, a pet rock named Steven.)

It’s not totally clear why Jazz has stolen the hearts of an NHL arena’s worth of Facebook users, but her caretakers think it’s because she’s lovable, cute, and alive.

“All of our neighbors when they see her say ‘Oh, she’s still alive?’ and we say ‘Oh, yeah!,” says Matt.

Nineteen years ago, the newly-married couple was looking for a dog to carry on the family legacy.

“My family has had dachshunds in their family since 1980,” says Matt. “And Vicky really wanted a dog, so [she] emailed a number of breeders.”

They found a match, but the dog was all the way in Louisiana. So, the young pup took a flight by herself to meet her new family.

“She came with the name ‘Jasmine,'” says Vicky. “But I didn’t like it. It was too girly.”

So, they named her Jazzmatazz. With her Louisiana origins, Vicky says that the name “totally fit her.”

That first day with her new family was full of surprises.

“We brought her home, went to the backyard, and she instantly knew how to play ball,” says Matt. “It was pretty amazing. She was more than eager to play and push [the ball] back with her nose and chase it down.”

Jazz also didn’t bark in her first days, but that changed, oddly, once she saw herself for the first time.

“She was really quiet. And then she saw herself in the mirror and started to bark for the first time,” says Matt. “Then, we couldn’t shut her up after that.”

A few years later, the Eichler got another addition to their family.

“When we brought [our son] home from the hospital, Jazz welcomed him to the house,” says Matt. “She would pop up on her hind legs and look into the cradle.”

On walks, Jazz was protective of the baby, barking at passers-by.

“She was a good older sister,” Matt says.

As the years have passed, Jazz has slowed down a bit. Her eyes have gradually gotten worse, her hearing is going, and her mobility isn’t great. But she still has a great sense of smell, always tracking down her treats.

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Voting for the spring 2021 Arlies is now live!

The Arlies are ARLnow’s community awards, highlighting Arlington’s favorite local places, people and organizations — as chosen by you.

Last week, we announced the 18 categories included in this season’s Arlies, alongside our sponsor, George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government.

To vote, write in your local favorites in each category in the ballot below.

Voting will be open for two weeks, and the survey should take no longer than 5 minutes to fill out. Readers will only be able to submit it once, and we’ll monitor submissions for attempts at repeated voting to ensure the integrity of the voting process.

The winners will be announced shortly after voting closes.

Trouble with the embedded form? You can also take the survey here.

Create your own user feedback survey

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Members of Grace Community Church in Arlington honored thousands of unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic: grocery store employees.

Over the course of three days, 75 volunteers from the church distributed 5,000 gift bags to employees at 60 grocery stores in Arlington and seven neighboring counties, said Anna Maia, the Director of Compassion and Justice at Grace Community Church, in a video.

“Thank you, grocery store workers for serving us through this whole year of this pandemic. It’s an honor to be a church in your community and to serve you as you’ve been serving us,” she said. “We are so excited to be part of this operation and to just show a little bit of appreciation to everything you’ve been doing.”

Each employee received a bag with a gift card, granola bars, lip balm, and an “essential” button that Maia said is a reminder “that they are remembered and appreciated.”

This was one way the church has worked in the community while being uprooted from its previous indoor location at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. Grace currently holds its services online and, weather permitting, outside of the school.

A volunteer named Stephanie said in the video that she was glad to participate because these frontline workers “are not thanked as much as the other essential workers.”

In the video, another volunteer named Anne said workers told her, “We are always telling each other that no one cares what we’re doing.”

One woman who works in a store’s customer service department called the church “to say how incredibly touched I am by this crazy-thoughtful gift. It’s just so beautiful. I deeply appreciate it.”

Photos via Grace Community Church/Vimeo 

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The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is overflowing with a whole warren’s worth of adoptable rabbits.

From tiny bonded-babies Bugs and Buster Bunny to the surprisingly large Katie, the shelter has pretty recently found itself with a deluge of rabbits in every shape and size.

Chelsea Jones, senior communications specialist for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, said the shelter has eight rabbits currently up for adoption. Jones said there’s no particular reason for the increase, just “luck of the draw” — which makes sense considering that’s 32 lucky feet.

The search for a new home for the rabbits comes as Jones said an adoption surge that started at the beginning of the pandemic starts to wind down.

“At the beginning of 2020 they were going faster than usual, but that’s slowed down a little bit as people start going back to work,” Jones said. “But smaller animals: guinea pigs, rabbits, rats — they’re still going quicker [than before].”

Rabbits have been particularly popular adoptions over the last year, Jones said, because they make perfect quarantine companions, provided the owner can spend time with them and bunny-proof the house.

“Anyone can have a rabbit, really,” Jones said. “They’re such a wonderful pet to own. We do want to make sure that people know having a rabbit isn’t like having a hamster or a pet mouse. Rabbits require a lot of time with their people, just like a dog or cat.”

Jones said it can be harder to find a home for the larger, more cat or dog-sized rabbits like Katie, who stay in the shelter longer as adopters come in with the more traditional, smaller rabbit in mind.

One of the concerns in the rabbit community is that families will adopt rabbits around Easter without taking the time to appreciate or understand the requirements behind them, but Jones said they haven’t found this to be the case at AWLA.

“The good thing is: our shelter has never had an issue with someone just adopting a rabbit for Easter,” Jones said. “It’s a little bit of a… we call them shelter myths. There’s a lot of fear around certain subjects, like rabbits at Easter or black cats at Halloween, but there’s not a lot of data to back up that it happens more around Easter.”

One recommendation Jones does make is that parents should not go into adopting a rabbit thinking it will make a great first pet for a child because it’s small.

“We tell parents: a pet for kids is really a pet for you,” Jones said. “Make sure you want the rabbit as well. And in talking to kids, depending on the age, you have to tell them to be gentle with the rabbit and what to expect in their behavior. Kids want to cuddle and pet it, but that’s not always what a rabbit wants.”

For those who invest in their rabbit, though, the results can be rewarding in a way that’s different from affection from a cat or dog.

“They are not a predator animal,” Jones said. “We’re so used to living with predators, like cats and dogs, but people forget an animal like a rabbit is a prey animal. They behave and interact differently. When you first get that sign of affection, it’s so rewarding. They can be affectionate and snuggly, but with a rabbit you have to work for it. Once they get comfortable, they have amazing personalities.”

A full list of small, adoptable mammals — including rabbits — is available online with potential adopters able to schedule meet-and-greets with the pets.

Photo via Animal Welfare League of Arlington/Facebook

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(Updated at 10:55 a.m.) After a pandemic winter, the region’s annual rite of spring is finally here: The cherry blossoms have bloomed.

A string of warm weather days got the famed Tidal Basin cherry blossoms to hit peak bloom a few days earlier than initially predicted. While there were fears that peak bloom would result in crowded conditions that would prompt the National Park Service to shut down access, that has yet to materialize.

As of now, the Tidal Basin remains open with peak bloom expected to last about a week.

If blossom peeping is what you’re after, then Arlington National Cemetery is another possible destination, with numerous cherry blossom trees. However, it’s currently only open to the public on a limited basis.

Here in Arlington, our cherry blossoms aren’t as famous as those across the river, but there are still plenty to see elsewhere around the county. Clusters of cherry trees and blossoms can be seen in various Arlington neighborhoods, heralding the arrival of spring without the fanfare of their Tidal Basin brethren.

ARLnow staff photographer Jay Westcott traveled around Arlington over the past week to capture some of the blooms, as seen in the gallery above.

There are other ways to participate in the cherry blossom festivities that don’t require venturing across the Potomac.

In National Landing, where dozens of cherry trees are being planted, two “Art in Bloom” sculptures are now on display. Relatedly, Amazon is now a top-level sponsor of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Arlington restaurants are included in the annual “Cherry Picks” program, which highlights cherry blossom-inspired dishes.

A new addition to the festival is the “Porch Parade and Pedal Procession,” in which area residents and businesses decorate their porches, yards, and windows with a cherry blossom theme. Arlington is home to numerous such displays, according to a map.

Some Arlington neighborhoods, including the Aurora Highlands community near National Landing, are even organizing their own cherry blossom activities this year.

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A little over one year after signs went up for The Freshman (2011 Crystal Drive), the coffee shop, restaurant and gathering spot in Crystal City is finally preparing to open its doors.

A PR firm representing the cafe said it will have both dine-in and takeout options when it opens next month.

“We can confirm [a] mid-April timeline… we will offer takeout, delivery and dine-in,” a representative said. “The Freshman will be an all-day spot — coffee-to-cocktails — and feature dishes inspired by local, seasonal ingredients.”

The restaurant is the latest project from Nick Freshman, who also operates Spider Kelly’s in Clarendon.

The Freshman built anticipation in 2019 with a small but popular pop-up in Crystal City Shops, but the pandemic left grand opening plans up in the air. While the restaurant was on hold over the last year, relief program Hook Hall Helps used The Freshman’s empty space as a hub for distributing care kits and family meals to hospitality workers in need.

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