Tag Archives: Pentagon City

An excellent neighborhood in Arlington County, Va. that mixes suburban and urban characteristics. I live there for 6½ great years and still miss it.

Bigger ice rink, longer season sought for Pentagon Row

County Board to Vote on Changes at Pentagon RowARLnow.com
Arlington County is going to vote of changes to Pentagon Row in my old Pentagon City neighborhood. The most welcome is a larger ice rink and a longer season for it.

The proposal includes plans to expand the length of the ice rink by 40 feet, add synthetic turf and add two 800 square foot freestanding retail structures. Approving the proposal would also add an additional month to the ice rink’s operating season, making it October through March, instead of November through March.

Synthetic turf? Not crazy about that, though I know somebody who might visit specifically because of that feature. Also, don’t they have enough retail that’s empty before adding more?

Sadly, I haven’t gotten out to the rink this year, I have probably run out of time. D’oh.

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Recalling Virginia’s attempts to get a baseball team

Yesterday, Mr. Irrelevant linked to Unrealized Concepts section of StadiumPage.com prompting many of us to poke around. There is a treasure trove of information about ballparks that never were in this site that dates back to 1998 (and looks it).

Over at The Nats Blog, Will Yoder takes a look at the proposed Virginia stadiums and reminisces about growing up in Arlington and being part of the pro-stadium movement. After the failed attempt to land a team for Washington, D.C. in the 1991 expansion, Virginia was seen by several prospective ownership groups to be more attractive to MLB since it was not as close to Baltimore as D.C. This continued up until 2004 when it was obvious that there needed to be a solution to the Montreal Expos situation.

When it came to Virginia baseball I was not active like Yoder in pursuing it, never doing anything more than posting a link on the early version of my Web site. Despite growing up in Vienna, I always preferred the idea of a D.C.-based team. In 1991 when baseball was expanding, I went to one of the exhibition games in RFK Stadium — the COMSAT Baseball Classic. Ultimately, Florida and Colorado got picked over William Collins bid (the team would have been called the Washington Nationals). I also went the next year, in a block W Senators cap, seeing the Phillies and somebody else, maybe the Red Sox. My dad even took my brother and I out of school one Friday so that we could see the Yankees and Mets at RFK Stadium, but it was canceled due to a muddy field after a day of rain. We did get to see Collins “retire” Frank Howard‘s #33 though. They said it was going to be hung up in RFK Stadium. I’d love to see DC Sports Bog dig up the story on that sometime.

As the ’90s rolled along, the cause of D.C. baseball all but died. Collins shifted his efforts to Virginia and nearly bought the Astros, but they got a last minute stadium deal to stay in Houston. I did not pay too much attention to the prospects of baseball here, because I was attending Penn State and enjoying the resurgent Yankees. My only trip to RFK during the time was for the 1996 HFStival — I looked to see if Howard’s #33 was hanging up anywhere and it wasn’t.

After graduating from Penn State and moving into Pentagon City, I started getting interested in the prospects of baseball returning. Two locations in Pentagon City were considered for a ballpark: a still vacant plot along Army Navy Drive between Fern and Eads Streets and the existing location of Costco. If I recall correctly, Cafrtiz owned the Army Navy spot and had no interest in parting with it for a stadium. My wife recalls that we got something about the potential for a stadium slid under our door. I knew neither of those locations, nor the proposed Rosslyn one next to the twin towers, were non-starters. They wouldn’t have been bad spots, if not for being outside of D.C. and Arlington County‘s complete disinterest in them.

I would have ultimately supported a Virginia team, probably with the same enthusiasm as I have now if it had been in Arlington or Alexandria, but probably not as much if it were located all the way out by Dulles Airport since I live inside-the-Beltway. Thankfully, it didn’t happen that way. I can’t imagine many people from Maryland or even the District would be crossing the Potomac to see a Virginia team in any of those locations. Washington has more cachet than Virginia and frankly, despite living in the commonwealth since I was 2, I think of myself more of a Washingtonian than a Virginian. As half-assed as MLB’s placement of the Expos was, at least they put them in D.C.

ADDED: Dave Levy of WeLoveDC has a write-up about it too.

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I thought the constant helicopters were a perk of living in Arlington

Arlington abuzz over low-flying helicoptersWTOP
Some Arlington County residents are unhappy about the helicopter traffic throughout the county. Wait a minute, I thought the helicopters were a perk of living in Arlington!

I lived in Pentagon City for 6½ years, in a building (The Potomac at Riverhouse) which is a block away from the Mixing Bowl — the I-395 Shirley Highway/VA 27 Washington Blvd interchange*; many helicopters fly over I-395 at a fairly low altitude throughout the day. I enjoyed all the helicopter traffic because helicopters are really cool. Sure, there is the whole “protecting us from threats” function of many of these helicopter trips, so liking them is akin to the “I ♥ Jet Noise — the sound of freedom” saying you here around Air Force bases and Naval Stations, but helicopters are great just for their own sake. Growing up, I lived in Vienna, under a higher altitude helicopter corridor and it was also great. I’m probably still in the same helicopter flight path where I work in Tysons Corner. Where I live now, the west end of Alexandria near I-395, has many of the same helicopters that Arlington does. I enjoy them and so does my son.

In fact, after the Pentagon was attacked and the pad was destroyed, I missed the constant helicopters flying around. It didn’t feel like home without them.

By the way, funny story about those helicopters. I knew somebody who lived in Riverhouse over 40 years ago. The helicopters were flying by back then too. Years later, he met a helicopter pilot and somehow they got on the topic of the flybys, specifically on Saturday mornings. The pilot volunteered that he flew lower than normal those days because there was a redhead on high floor who used to do her calisthenics with the blinds open and “nothing on but the radio.” Well, the pilot did not know that the radio was on, just that nothing else was.

*The original Mixing Bowl was the Shirley Highway (then VA 350) interchange with Washington Boulevard. It was rebuilt around 1971 and turned into one of the largest interchanges in the world. Unfortunately, The Post ignored this and started referring to the Springfield Interchange as the Mixing Bowl — one of the worst things they ever did.

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Alleged Russian spies busted in Riverhouse

I had not yet read about the latest tale of alleged Russian espionage (The Post) when Fritz mentioned on Facebook that some of them lived in Riverhouse apartment complex in the Pentagon City neighborhood of Arlington. Based on the photos I’ve seen, they apparently lived in the building Fritz moved out of last week, The Ashley. I lived in the middle building of the complex, The Potomac, for 6.5 wonderful years. I’m not shocked spies lived there either, though maybe they should have lived a little further up Arlington Ridge Road…


Try to forget Sean Young was in that movie

See Fritz, you move out of Riverhouse and it all goes to hell.

I also grew up one street over from Robert Hanssen in Vienna; my brother and I had friends on that street and we used to ride our bikes through the park he got busted in. So, I guess after I move out of my condo, some spies will be busted in that complex too.

PREVIOUSLY: The No Way Out House

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The No Way Out House

The 1987 film, No Way Out, is a good Washington/Cold War thriller that holds up pretty well, despite some glaring location errors (mostly about Metro), cheesy synthesizer music that belongs in bad sci-fi and Sean Young. Additionally, No Way Out opens with a tracking shot directly over my old apartments in The Potomac at Riverhouse* in Pentagon City. That shot ends on a house on Arlington Ridge Road where the protagonist, played by Kevin Costner, is being interrogated. A while back Fritz and I went looking for the house, but it is long gone. Fritz, who still lives in Pentagon City (his building was barely visible in the movie) found the location of the former house and wrote about it, so go there and read about it. Good detective work Fritz.

Oh and here is the opening of the movie with the tracking shot over the old, barely developed Pentagon City:

*Technically, my father’s appartment too, as he lived there when it was called Riverhouse II.

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Costco chic

Tightening the Beltway, the Elite Shop CostcoThe Times
Costco, specifically the Pentagon City (the old neighborhood!) location, is becoming a preferred purveyor of D.C. dinner party food these days. Several insiders are quoted on how Costco has replaced through an outfit Ridgewells Catering for their party needs.

Against the backdrop of an unpopular war, rising oil prices and a subprime mortgage crisis, a certain thriftiness seems to have crept into the city’s dining rooms.

“I don’t think anyone would dare serve caviar as a first course today, and instead of filet mignon, there are a lot of other beef dishes,” said Letitia Baldrige, the etiquette writer who was Jacqueline Kennedy’s social secretary. “Embassies don’t have the pocketbooks they used to. And to have these opulent menus for these parties here, it looks bad.”

In that sense, catering by Costco is a style statement, like drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

“Reverse chic* is a very powerful phenomenon in status-oriented circles,” said David Kamp, the author of “The United States of Arugula” (Broadway, 2006), a book about the American fine-food revolution. “I think Costco is the same thing. It gets discovered.”

Blah, blah, blah.

I don’t think the war has anything to do with it either, but then again I’m not hanging out with the Bradlees much these days. I doubt Manhattan dinner parties are what they used to be either. Costco has quality food too, so no need to make it out like its the Soviet Safeway. Call it a hunch, but most of those catering companies probably have regular visits from the Sysco truck.

H/T dl004d’s The Editor’s Saloon

*This reminds me that I need to do a write-up about the book Class by Paul Fussell. I also need to return the book to its owner.

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WWN Pentagon City bureau


This past spring, William World News moved its headquarters from Pentagon City, Arlington to the west end of Alexandria. The move was made to realize lower costs of owning a headquarters instead of leasing it. Despite the move, WWN continue to maintain a Pentagon City presence with the establishment of a bureau there. Fritz Hamme will serve as bureau chief.

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Pentagon City

After over six years of calling the Pentagon City neighborhood of Arlington County home, I officially (as in the lease expires) end my tenure there today. I am living in our new condo in Alexandria. Although Pentagon City would never be mistaken for a classic neighborhood it has been a wonderful place to live and leaving is bittersweet.

When I started looking for a place to live in late 2000, I decided it was very important to live near a Metro station. I also wanted to be able to walk to some amenities like a grocery store and some restaurants. Since I had no interest in living in the District (voting rights, poor parking/services. etc.) I focused my search on Arlington and Alexandria. Almost as a joke, I looked at Riverhouse, a three building apartment community on several acres. My father had lived there in the late 1960s so I figured I’d check it out. When I got there and saw what the rental rates were, I was pleasantly surprised to see they were below what the Orange Line corridor. Seeing that Pentagon Row was being built, I knew I’d get the amenities I was hoping for in a location. I signed a lease and moved there in early January 2001. In April 2004, Erica and I moved in together in a larger apartment. I’ll have a more to say in a separate post about my apartment complex, Riverhouse.

Here are some of the things I loved about Pentagon City (in no particular order):

Location, location, location: 10-15 minutes from downtown D.C. by Metro. A ten minute walk to 23rd Street in Crystal City. Abutting I-395 and only five minutes from I-66. Within two or three miles of several major bike trails. National Airport is two Metro stops away.

The views

The Washington Monument, The Capitol, The National Cathedral and now the Air Force memorial; it will be unusual not seeing those daily.

Pentagon Row — The mixed-use development meant that I had an Eckerd, Harris Teeter, Subway and several restaurants, Hudson Trail Outfitters and Bed, Bath & Beyond within a five minute walk. The plaza is fairly well designed as a public, filling it with people whenever the weather cooperates.

Eye candy — there are so many good looking women in Pentagon City, you can hardly get on an elevator without being in the presence of a hottie. Some of them are as almost pretty as Erica :). By the way, she says the guys are okay too.

Sine — On the whole, the food is pretty uninspiring across the board with one great exception — the baked potato soup. That stuff is so good. The beer selection is also strong. The wings are also pretty good.

Parks

The grassy area in front of building was made into a Grace Murray Hopper Park , providing an excellent buffer between my building and the rest of Pentagon City. On the other side of Joyce Street are softball fields and and soccer pitch.

Sabrett Hot Dog stand

I was delighted to find that Pentagon City had a hot dog stand (one of my criteria for a downtown area, the other is taxi availability — more later) at the Metro station and even more so that it was Sabrett. Sadly, it appears the stand stopped selling hot dogs last last month, coinciding with my relocation. Coincidence?

Pentagon Row Ice Rink

Sure, it is tiny, but for being a block away from my apartment, I wasn’t complaining. Erica and I had a lot of fun skating there over the years. Putting it there was a brilliant decision by Pentagon Row.

The Fashion Centre and Pentagon Centre — Malls and big box stores don’t do much for me, but a lot of that is because you have to drive to a nasty parking lot. These two facilities meant I could shop without driving.

Living there was great and I could go on and on about how much I loved it. I recommend Pentagon City to anyone looking to rent in the D.C. area. Choosing to live there was one of the three smartest things I have ever done. I’ll still show up every now and then too — Fritz still lives there.

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