An exploration of things to do in Arlington

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Arlington Wants to Know: How Would You Change Neighborhood Day?

Would I go to Arlington's Neighborhood Day parade if I didn't get to be in it?

Honestly? No.

I've marched in the Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment contingent at the parade three different years now, each time as National Wildlife Federation's mascot, Ranger Rick. That's me to the right with Arlington County Board Chair Paul Ferguson. (Did you hear that Ranger Rick recently got kicked off Facebook? Lame.)

But if I didn't have the incentive of getting to be a giant raccoon for the day, there's not much else that would draw me to the event. While there are other Neighborhood Day community events elsewhere in Arlington, along the route from Clarendon to Courthouse, the parade is pretty much it.

There are no food stands like at Taste of Arlington. There's no stage with bands like at Clarendon Day. There are no booths with information about community groups like at the County Fair.

So Arlington County wants to know how you would improve Neighborhood Day. Should it continue as-is? Should the event have additional attractions? Should it be combined with another event?

Take the survey here!

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Church = Housing in Clarendon?

Personal confession - I have a Master's degree in American Religious History. Yes, bizarre, I know, and completely useless other than for party chatter.

But I do find this situation in Clarendon interesting. The sum of it is that the church wants to put a mixed use housing development on top of the sanctuary. Of course, some people don't like it because it's tall and changes zoning regulations in a community. Some people think it's great because it adds affordable housing and saves a dwindling church. Personally, I just think it's interesting. I can see both sides of the story.

So what do you think? You can read the whole 411 in the Post here. Comment below.


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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Next Week: CRM September Monthly Meetup

Community Role Models is holding its next Monthly Meetup on Tuesday September 4th at 7pm! We'll be having this month's Meetup at Rhodeside Grill at 1836 Wilson Boulevard in Courthouse.

Come learn about some new volunteer activities that CRM has in the works, including plans to help the homeless, work with immigrants, and tutor kids. We're also inviting some of our regular volunteers to play a bigger role in our monthly events as activity leaders.

Our last Meetup at Bailey's in Ballston drew about 20 people. A good time was had by all, and we got to unveil the newly-redesigned CRM tshirt.

So come out to Rhodeside next Tuesday for some beers and a chance to learn more about CRM! RSVP here, and a full list of upcoming CRM events can be found here.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Saturday: Crystal City Block & Rolls

Crystal City is hosting a big double event this Saturday! There's the CrystalRolls rollerblading event, followed by the CrystalBlock street festival. Here are details on both:

CrystalRolls - Rollerblade on Crystal Drive
Saturday, August 25, 2007, 8AM-12PM
Crystal Drive between 12th & 23rd Street

The focus of this summer event is to create a “Beach Drive” experience in the heart of Crystal City. Visitors can rollerblade along the long stretches of Crystal Drive. Bring your blades and come down to Crystal Drive and enjoy an exciting street rollerblading experience. Free and open to all ages.

CrystalBlock - An Outdoor Block Party!
Saturday, August 25, 2007, 1PM-6PM
W. 23rd Street between Fern and S. Eads Street

Come out for CrystalBlock, an outdoor block party on 23rd street between S. Eads and Fern. This free event celebrates historic “Restaurant Row,” and will be filled with live music and fun. The block party will take place from approximately 1:00pm and 6:00pm on Saturday, August 25, 2007 and will include a wide array of live musical entertainment and family friendly activities.

The events will result in some traffic changes in Crystal City and parking will be restricted, so if you're going, it's a good idea to take Metro:

TRAFFIC ALERT: Street Closures in Crystal City for Two Special Events
ARLINGTON, VA – The Arlington County Police Department will close two streets in Crystal City on Saturday, August 25, 2007, for the “CrystalRolls” and “CrystalBlock” events. Listed below are the streets that will be affected.

From 6:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.:
• Crystal Drive from 15th Street to 23rd Street.

From 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.:
• S. 23rd Street from Eads Street to Fern Street.

In addition, street parking in the area will be restricted. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call 703-228-4252. For more information about both events, please visit the Crystal City Business Improvement District’s website at

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Arlington Personal Property Tax Bills Arrive

My personal property tax (a.k.a. car tax) bill arrived in my mailbox this week. Fortunately since The Green Miles' sweet ride is assessed at less than $3,000, I only owe the decal fee of $24. This year's decal features a photo of the Air Force Memorial taken by Wakefield High School's Danielle Day.

A decade's worth of Virginia governors and legislators have tried to figure out how to get rid of the unpopular car tax, but since they don't want to institute new taxes either, it's hard to balance the budget without it. Hence, the current convoluted system of car tax "relief."

If you're new to Arlington, make sure you contact the Commissoner of Revenue to find out if you owe any tax and how to get the decal. You'll get ticketed if your car is registered in Arlington and you don't have a decal on your windshield.

Got questions? Check out the Arlington Commissioner of Revenue's website!

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Meet Arlington's Version of Bill Nye, Science Guy

The Arlington Virginia Network (AVN) has posted a series of segments featuring Professor Robert Farr to the AVN YouTube page. Below is one of the best ones, featuring tips on how to cut your power bill. However, I must give you this warning -- I've had the Professor Farr jingle stuck in my head all day:

I've already installed power strips, helping
cut my power bill 10%. And just recently, I went one step further environmentally, buying renewable energy.

The Professor Farr segments are all worth watching, partly for the environmental tips, but mostly for the campy humor. It's vaguely reminiscent of the
Jim "The Hammer" Shapiro commercials that kept us entertained back in my college days in Syracuse.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sports Looking for Teams/Players

I just got the word that there are a few sports leagues in Arlington that are still looking for teams. Here's a quick rundown:

Men's and CoEd Indoor Soccer

Games start the first week in September - Wednesday for men and Thursday for coed. You can register a whole team or sign up as a “free agent” if you’d like to find a team. Registration is online at, or contact Marta Cahill for more information at 703-228-1818 or The registration deadline is August 19. Fees - $550 per team + $30 per non-Arlington resident (50% residents required)

Men's and CoEd Flag Football

CoEd games Saturday nights. Men's games Sunday nights. Fees are $825 per team+ $30 per non-Arlington resident (50% residents required). Register online.

Men's and Women's Basketball

Games on Wednesday nights. Fees are $740 per team + $30 per non-Arlington resident (50% residents required). Register online.

Women's Outdoor Soccer

Several Arlington Women’s Soccer League teams need a few players for the fall season that starts September 9/10. The league plays two divisions: Open (age 18+) on Sunday mornings and evenings, and Masters (age 30+) on Monday evenings. For more information or to find a team, go to

Monday, August 13, 2007

Arlington County Fair Opens Wednesday!

The Arlington County Fair opens this week at Thomas Jefferson Community Center! The outdoor fair opens Wednesday, and the full fair with the indoor exhibits and booths opens Thursday. The fair closes on Sunday.

Growing up in Boston I didn't get to many fairs, so I still get a kick out of rides and pig races and such. And I'm shocked at how many people have not yet discovered the culinary delight that is fried oreos.

But my favorite part of the fair is definitely the booths inside TJ. Row after row of government agencies and community groups with information about programs you didn't even know existed. If you're new to Arlington or just want to learn more about what's going on in your neighborhood, it's a must-see. The Green Miles will be working the Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment booth on Friday night, so if you're at the fair, stop by and say hello!

TJ is at 3501 S. Second St. with shuttles running from Ballston Metro. The fair is only about a 30 minute walk from Ballston area, but considering it's going to be in the high 80s/low 90s this week, the shuttle may be a better option. And an incentive to ride your bicycle -- there will also be valet bike parking:

Volunteer with Valet Bike Parking at the Arlington County Fair
BikeArlington and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association are looking for volunteers to help run our free valet bike parking service at the Arlington County Fair from August 16 - 19th. Valet bike parking will be an encouragement for Arlingtonians to bike to the Fair with prime attended parking spaces - that’s where you come in! We are looking for your help to promote cycling as a viable transportation solution by parking bikes of those who choose to bike to the Fair. If you are interested, please contact Henry Mesias at
Admission is free. Check it out!

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Ouch: 92% Oppose Late Night Metro Changes

Metro's new boss has floated an idea to replace late-night weekend train service with buses. took an unscientific poll on the idea, and an amazing 92% of respondents said they'd drive or take a cab rather than take a bus. And the comments show those 92% aren't mildly against the idea -- they're ticked off at Metro for even suggesting it:

This is the worst idea for the Metro that I have heard in a long time. This is Washington, DC - the nation's capitol, the center of world power! Not some poor, sleepy town that shuts down after sunset. The General Manager gets paid to come up with ideas like this? Of course, he is an old fuddy-duddy by now so how would he know how important it is to keep Metro open at night?

It's about a $25 cab ride from Dupont to my home in Ballston, so a $2 Metro ride is a pretty sweet deal. The only thing that bugs me about the late-night trains is that they only come every 20 minutes or so. If the buses would run every 5 minutes, I could be swayed, but more frequent service isn't mentioned anywhere in the coverage of the idea.

What do you think? Would you take the bus? Would you cab? Or do you walk to your Arlington neighborhood bar anyway and don't care what those poor DC bar addicts do?

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Arlington Versus the World

The following is best read in your very best Michael Buffer voice ...

In this corner, weighing in at a population or approximately 200,000, the heavyweight, the obvious favorite, unfairly excluded from the fight, you're very own ... ARRRRlington.

And in this corner, the lightweight, the underdog, small communities getting some stupid advantage for being technically small -- The Money Magazine Top 10 Communities to Live In.

So, Money Magazine ranked the 100 best communities to live in. But for some unknown reason they only evaluated communities with populations between 7,500 and 50,000 people. What's that about? Does being small make you a better place to live? I think not!

But never fear, those sleuths at the Sun Gazette compared Arlington to the top 10 to demonstrate Arlington's superiority. I'll highlight some of those below. To see the whole list, read the article.

Arlington residents have 73 movie theaters within a 15-mile radius,
compared to an average 30 among the top 10 communities. Arlington also has
substantially more restaurants (7,116 to 2,899), bars (366 to 287), libraries
(210 to 71) and museums (28 to 11) compared to the top 10 cities.

Arlington ranks as 38 percent more diverse than the nation as a whole,
while the top 10 communities rank as 40 percent less diverse than the national

Arlington residents have 32 colleges and universities within 30 miles to
choose from, compared to 29 for the average community on the top 10 list. But
the county only has 10 junior colleges and technical institutes within the same
radius, compared to 18, on average, for communities on the list.,


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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

"Don't Get Bit by the Beaver"

In case you didn't see it, the Arlington Connection recently featured the latest and greatest CRM activity - a clean-up of the local secret Beaver Bond.

Click here to read the article.

If you're curious about CRM and want to get more involved in your community - check them out. You can also read more posts about CRM activities.

-- Eric

Don't forget to stay in the loop with the What's Up Arlington! e-newsletter. Four great ideas of things to do in Arlington delivered straight to your inbox every two weeks. View a sample issue and subscribe.

Photo by David Shultz, The Connection


Monday, August 06, 2007

Restaurant Week in Arlington

It's restaurant week and there are lots of great deals to be had. Below is a list of participating Arlington restaurants. To view the whole list and the specific deals, click here.

Bin1700 Crystal Gateway Marriott1700 Jefferson Davis Highway Arlington, VA(703) 553-5334

Extra Virgin 4053 South 28th St.Arlington, VA(703) 998-8474

Harry's Tap Room 2800 Clarendon Blvd.Arlington, VA (703) 778-7788

Jaleo - Crystal City 2250-A Crystal Drive Arlington, VA(703) 413-8181

La Tasca Arlington 2900 Wilson Blvd.Arlington, VA (703) 812-9120

The Melting Pot - Arlington1110 North Glebe Rd.Arlington, VA(703) 243-4490

Pinzimini Westin Arlington Gateway801 N. Glebe Road Arlington, VA (703) 537-4200

Sette Bello 3101 Wilson Blvd.Arlington, VA(703) 351-1004

Tivoli Restaurant 1700 N. Moore St.Arlington, VA(703) 524-8900

Willow4301 N. Fairfax Dr.Arlington, VA(703) 465-8800


Friday, August 03, 2007

Shirlington - The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread

I love Shirlington and I love the new Shirlington Library. But this guy really loves the new library and development in Shirlington.

In sum, by fostering a nexus of artistic and theatrical groups, the Shirlington library is stimulating the growth of the creative class in Arlington that contributes disproportionately to innovation and entrepreneurial vitality.

This is a rather lengthy and heady article/post, and perhaps not something I would normally reccomend, but I found it really interesting.

So, what do you think? Is Shirlington really all that and a bag of chips?

You can check out the video below to learn more about the Shirlington library.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Perfect Recreation Center?

Construction on the much anticipated North Tract athletic complex is set to begin next spring.

So, I know I'm in the field and kind of a geek about this stuff, but seriously, this is exciting.

When all is said and done, the facility will include 4 synthetic rectangular fields, and elevated walkway around the fields, a large fitness complex and an aquatics center. For now, the first phase will just include the outdoor stuff - fields and walkways. You can read more about the concept plans here.

So, this got me thinking. What makes the perfect recreation center? What does it include? Soccer? Basketball? Fitness? Underwater basket weaving? You tell me. What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.