Newsletter

The Metro is operating at 40% service after the 7000 series railcars were pulled from service to be inspected for the same defect that recently caused a derailment in Arlington.

Metro has said that passengers should expect to wait up to 40 minutes for service on the Blue, Orange, Yellow, Green and Silver lines.

The service cuts come just as the transit system was starting to recover from a pandemic that caused ridership to tank. Even before that, there were concerns that Metro ridership was in a death spiral, and elected leaders like U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly have blasted the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for ongoing issues that have eroded public trust.

0 Comments

Months after the majority of Alexandria residents were fully vaccinated, coronavirus precautions now turn toward booster shots aimed at keeping those vaccinations effective.

A Pfizer vaccine booster has already been approved and yesterday a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel authorized booster shots for Moderna’s vaccine.

In general, the boosters are being considered for those who received their second dose at least six months ago. The Pfizer booster is currently available for those 65 or older and those at heightened risk of COVID-19. The Moderna booster is being considered on similar guidelines.

2 Comments

We’re nearing the end of the first full week of October, and around the city, various homes and local businesses are starting to get into the spooky mood.

Visit Alexandria has put together a roundup of Halloween-themed activities around town. While the pandemic is still ongoing, there’s been progress since last October when some iconic Alexandria Halloween events (like Lee Street trick-or-treating) were shut down.

After you vote, be sure to share what costume you’re putting together — if any — in the comments.

5 Comments

First off, thank you for following us on Facebook and Twitter. (And if you don’t already, you know what to do.)

If you want more local news, join the 5,000+ people who have already signed up for the free daily newsletter.

When you subscribe, you’ll get the latest headlines delivered to your inbox each afternoon. Think of it las your free digital newspaper. You’ll never miss out on local happenings.

It takes seconds to subscribe.

Subscribe

* indicates required



And we know your inbox is sacred territory. That’s why we’ll never give your information away. You may get an occasional email on behalf of an awesome local sponsor, but we’ll never spam you with obnoxious emails.

Thank you for subscribing and your continued support of local news.

0 Comments
521 Duke Street (via Google Maps)

Throughout September, we highlighted a number of recently sold properties in Alexandria. Now, we’re taking a look back at some of the most expensive homes sold throughout the month.

But first: As of Sept. 26, nearly more than 500 homes are listed for sale in Alexandria, according to Homesnap. That includes 342 condos, 61 single-family homes and 104 townhomes. The median list price is $510,000 and the median sales price is $571,000. In the past four weeks, more than 193 homes were sold.

Let’s take a look at some of the most expensive sales in September:

In the market? Check out Just Listed properties in Alexandria.

2 Comment

Next month, the City Council is set to review plans that could make the pedestrianization of the 100 block of King Street a permanent feature.

Since last spring, one of the blocks of King Street closest to the Waterfront, between Lee and Union streets, has been closed to vehicle traffic. The streetscape around businesses like Pop’s Old Fashion Ice Cream and Paper Source is a pedestrian zone, and local restaurants have outdoor dining areas.

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, the Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on whether or not to make that closure permanent. The City Council is scheduled to raise the issue for discussion at their Oct. 16 meeting.

There was some uncertainty about the plan at the Waterfront Commission, where some expressed concern that the current design is lacking. Currently, the pedestrian zone is marked by an impromptu barrier, and it’s unclear so far what is being planned as a potential replacement if the change is made permanent.

3 Comments
505 Monticello Blvd (via Google Maps)

This past week, 34 properties were sold in Alexandria, according to Homesnap.

The median list price was $470,000, and the median sales price was $575,000. Additionally, homes spent an average of 51 days on the market.

To get a closer look at these numbers, here are a few properties sold this past week, including their original list price and final sales price.

  • 700 E. Howell Avenue — 5 BD/3.5 BA townhouse
    List price: $1,499,000
    Final price: $1,530,000 (+$31,000)
  • 505 Monticello Blvd — 4 BD/3 BA single-family home
    List price: $979,000
    Final price: $1,000,000 (+$21,000)
  • 2908 Farm Road — 3 BD/2.5 BA single-family home
    List price: $899,900
    Final price: $915,000 (+$16,000)
  • 400 Madison Street #1003 — 1 BD/2 BA condo
    List price: $875,000
    Final price: $850,000 (-$25,000)
  • 701 Massey Lane #B — 3 BD/2.5 BA townhouse
    List price: $719,000
    Final price: $721,000 (+$2,000)

In the market? Check out Just Listed properties in Alexandria.

Photo via Google Maps

0 Comments

August Wilson’s ‘Fences‘ might just be one of the best productions that The Little Theatre of Alexandria has put on in years.

The 1985 Pulitzer Prize-winning play is a close look at the lives of a Black family in Pittsburgh during the 1950s and 1960s. Chances for success have passed by Troy Maxson (Albert Bolden), a former star baseball player beyond his prime and beaten down by society and circumstance. Maxson’s son, Cory (Jared Diallo), is a football star, but his father’s bitterness over his own missed chances cloud Cory’s bright future.

With only memories of greatness keeping him going, the audience sits transfixed as they watch Troy slowly ruin his life while his wife Rose (Brenda Parker) takes the reins of responsibility.

Parker and Bolden deserve awards for their performances, as happiness and innocent love awaken to betrayal, disappointment and survival. Parker’s performance is particularly captivating, as she carries a majority of the play by bravely lifting the weight of extreme personal loss and responsibility.

“When a person has spent their entire life trapped behind real and imagined fences, they cannot go after their dreams,” said director Eleanore Tapscott. “At a time when the minority power brokers are working fast and hard to literally whitewash the nation’s history — and that of African Americans — it is important to tell this story, because by exploring African American perspectives and culture, and examining and recognizing America’s legacy of racism, we have a change, by working together, to make ‘good trouble’ and effect positive change for the future.”

All theater-goers at The Little Theatre must show proof of vaccination at the door and wear masks during the performance. The show runs until September 25.

The next show at The Little Theatre of Alexandria is the thriller “Wait Until Dark”, which runs from October 16 to November 6.

Courtesy image

0 Comments
Shared living room, photo via Nathan Van Egmond/Unsplash

The city is going through a process of opening up some limitations on co-living — units with up to six individual suites that all share communal amenities.

Co-living is a little different from most apartments; typically having more residents than apartments and at a lower cost. Co-living is currently allowed in Alexandria, but requirements to go through a development special use permitting process and public hearings, among other restrictions, have been hurdles city staff are hoping get rid of. The new policy would certain development in residential zones to build up to two co-living units — with up to six-total suites — by-right, meaning without the need for public hearings and the city’s extensive permitting process.

The goal of encouraging more co-living development in Alexandria is increasing the supply of market-rate affordable housing, which has been in a downward spiral for years. But while most of the public comment at meetings has been supportive of the changes, Alexandria Living Magazine also noted that there are some public concerns that the co-living housing could become “flop houses,” a term typically denoting squalor in crowded living spaces.

Photo via Nathan Van Egmond/Unsplash

4 Comments

For five years Port City Publius has let fly. The anonymous blogger won’t shy from criticizing the superintendent, or blasting “NIMBY” residents who favor changing the leadership of City Council.

Who is this writer? Is Port City Publius more than one person?

Port City Publius wouldn’t answer those specific questions, but the writer opined on a number of Alexandria-centric topics in a recent interview.

ALXnow: You are very funny in your posts. Who are your favorite writers?

Port City Publius: Charlie Pierce is a good example of someone whose writing and worldview has influenced my approach; I definitely have an affinity for the ink-stained wretch set. Caitlin Flanagan writes the way I want to write, though the majority of her takes suck pretty bad. Alexandra Petri, without question. Tressie McMillan Cottom. James Baldwin. Ursula Le Guin. bell hooks. Mel Brooks. Tolkien, except for the Silmarillion which is terrible and anyone who says otherwise is lying to themselves. C. Wright Mills and Arlie Russell Hochschild. All the writers in the Jezebel and Deadspin diaspora remain indispensable. Elizabeth Bruenig often makes me challenge and reassess my priors. I’ve read Jamelle Bouie and Matt Yglesias going back to when they were both at Slate. I think Jason Isbell has a lot of smart things to say.

ALXnow: What inspired you to embark as Port City Publius?

Port City Publius: You know the famous scene from Network, the one where the sweaty guy is shouting about how angry he is? Well that was me five years ago. I finally sat through one too many public meetings where the only testimony was from retirees with incredibly intense outlier opinions about how many buildings built after 1800 should exist (none) how much noise and fun is ok (also none) and how many working-class people could be permitted to try and eke out a life in this city (spoiler: it’s none again). It remains fu**ing wild to me that nearly anyone who wants to run a business in this city has to first put up with some guy named Carl who last worked for OMB in 1987 say that he’d really rather they only be open from 1-3pm on alternate Tuesdays because the shadows cast by business patrons might damage the rare book collection he keeps near the front windows of his home.

I knew from conversations with different groups of friends and sewing circles and tennis partners and drinking buddies that most people around here felt pretty differently about things, but this perspective wasn’t being heard or included in public dialogues because we have, uh, lives and sh**. So I set out to put a voice to that. To establish a counter-narrative to the intensely tedious NIMBY bull**** that had infected the waterfront plan, among other things at that time.

ALXnow: When do you decide to publish? Do you only strike when needed?

Port City Publius: First I ask myself “do I have real work to do this week” at which point the answer is usually yes and nothing gets published. Beyond that, I’m typically looking for something to catalyze my internal barometer of “well that sh** can’t stand.”

ALXnow: What are you going to write about next? Is there a list of topics, or do you shoot from the hip?

Port City Publius: As Gloria Steinem famously said, without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming after all is a form of planning. I’m sorry what was the question again?

ALXnow: What is your political philosophy? Has it changed over the last few years? What prompted that change?

Port City Publius: I think we have an obligation to prevent the immiseration of each and every one of our fellow citizens, and that government intervention is a necessary and crucial part of that. I’d say I generally follow the teachings and live the values that right-wing Christians pretend to believe in: you know, loving your neighbor and taking care of the poor and seeing the worth and potential in every person and whatnot.

To the extent that you can map me onto the political spectrum, I’d fairly describe myself as progressive; but I also think the left/right dichotomy is often reductive, and both mainstream political parties can be pretty lame and show excessive deference to the status quo at the expense of pursuing transformative change.

ALXnow: You like saying ‘Yes’ to development and decry NIMBY’s. Can you spell out the future that you’d like to see realized for the city?

Port City Publius: Used in this context “development” is an essentially useless term that has been effectively weaponized by the modern inheritors of the Know-Nothings. I think we should say yes to a wide variety of things that move this city forward in a manner that benefits a broad constituency of residents and interests, even if the proposed thing looks and feels different and isn’t made of bricks and cobblestone. I would not broadly describe each of these things as “development.” If I built you a gorgeous brand-new public waterfront park, would you call that “development”? If I tear down an over-enrolled and under-maintained elementary school and replace it with a beautiful new building, is that “development”? I think it tremendously sucks that the grumps and busybodies in this city get to describe anything they benefit from as “investment” and anything they think inconveniences them as “development.”

The future I want is one in which we radically reduce the resident veto over the ability to do business here. This is not the goddamn United States Senate, old white men do not have a divine right to filibuster the necessary progress desired by the majority of the populace. I want a future where more people try out the words “sure, why not” rather than their reflexive “well, actually.”

There exists an intense bias toward the preservation of the status quo, even on the part of (especially on the part of) people who otherwise think of themselves as well-meaning. I am reminded of King’s disappointment in the white moderate, and his searing observation that “shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will” and really the point I’m trying to make here is that more of you need to read “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

The future that I want for us is one in which we do things that make us feel uncomfortable because feeling a little uncomfortable is actually ok.

ALXnow: With the most recent primary election, is the city headed in the direction you want?

Port City Publius: I think the seven candidates on the Democratic slate generally seem like well-intentioned, thoughtful people. And I think we can roughly extrapolate that they would govern in a well-intentioned and thoughtful manner. I think it’s hilarious that a dude who worked for Jesse Helms is laboring under the deluded belief that someone who accommodated and enabled a notorious segregationist can get elected here.

But I also think the notion of the city being headed in a particular direction lasts exactly as long as the interval of time between each council public hearing. The people on that dais are complicated, flawed, fallible people — just like each of us. The exercise here is not to bestow upon them some blank cheque mandate to go forth and rule over Pax Alexandria, may the sun never set on our empire. No, we should challenge them and hold them to account and measure their success by the fidelity to which they hew to the shared values they have publicly committed to. This is not baseball. You should not be a fan of one party or another–of one politician or another–and in doing so blindly overlook the ways in which they are failing to live up to the best version of themselves. They are public servants. They are an avatar of our collective will, and we should never lose sight of that.

That all being said: do I think we are headed in a better direction right now than if the candidates mostly running because they thought city council was like a Super HOA had won? Yes. Yes I do think we are headed in a better direction.

ALXnow: The Bring Integrity Back to Alexandria Facebook group lost strength after the primary. None of their candidates made it on the ballot for November. What does that tell you?

Port City Publius: That they probably shouldn’t have kicked so many people out of the group.

No, listen. I sort of mean that. Their thin-skinned pettiness is absolutely the reason they didn’t win anyone around to their point of view. They kicked out so many people! And every one of those people told ten other people (who told ten other people, and so on) what a joke that group was. If you create an environment in which you kick out anyone who doesn’t gleefully parrot the propaganda you’re pushing, what kind of group will you be left with? Please don’t say the modern Republican party. Ok fine I see how I left myself open to that joke. Very good. You’re very clever, we get it.

My point is you can’t persuade anyone if you drive off everyone that doesn’t agree with you. And also that people will see right through your bullsh** when you define “integrity” as “willingness to do the highly specific and sort of weird sh** I want” and constantly flex that definition based on the proximate needs of acting out your irrational hatred of a certain local politician.

ALXnow: Are groups like BIBA merely a new-normal part of local conversations? Or is this a direct result of politics getting turned up 11 notches and Republicans trying to influence things?

Port City Publius: I think this is a great reminder that politics is hard and best not left to sloppy amateurs in an information bubble fixated on issues that most people genuinely don’t give a sh** about.

ALXnow: Aren’t you essentially the same kind of critical voice as BIBA — a resident(s) who has had it with what they perceive to be ridiculous elements in the community? Or is your voice representative of Democratic values and theirs is representative of… something else?

Port City Publius: I don’t see an equivalence. I deploy righteous indignation and world-weary exhaustion as a rhetorical technique in service of advocating for policies and actions that largely benefit people that aren’t me. They think someone paved a road wrong for Suspicious Reasons.

I think if I woke up one morning and decided to dedicate most of my free time to complaining on the internet about all of the ways that I was personally inconvenienced by things meant to improve the lives of people that have less than me, well, I think I’d have to do quite a bit of soul searching about that.

My sincere advice for people in this city–for anyone anywhere really–is to be more selfless. Stop looking for ways that the ordinary progress of the world is secretly a targeted attack on you, personally. Stop looking for reasons to be so upset about everything. Hurl your laptop into a river and live your life, which I need you to understand is really pretty great relative to any global or historic measure.  Facebook and numerous other parts of the modern media ecosystem are intentionally making you upset so they can sell you brain pills and reverse mortgages and whateverthefu** else. You don’t have to play their game. You really don’t.

ALXnow: Are you going to endorse any City Council or School Board candidates? If so, who?

Port City Publius: I think we should abolish the school board and return control of schools to the city. Does that count as an endorsement?

ALXnow: It doesn’t look like you’re anti-establishment. You are often highly critical of the City’s critics by backing Mayor Justin Wilson and city plans and departments. What elements of the current government are you critical of? How are the City manager’s office, police department and school system holding up, for instance?

Port City Publius: I think if we had actively and intentionally set out to have terrible schools leadership during this crisis it would have been utterly indistinguishable from our actual experience. We’ve gotten this far through a mixture of inertia, dumb luck, and the titanic efforts of parents and families and individual teachers and administrators; because it has been astonishingly clear that the superintendent is terrified to make any choice that could ultimately be deemed unsuccessful and have that failure accrue to him and his reputation. He’s the football coach that always punts on 4th and 1 because that’s what convention says and if you follow convention and fu** up, you don’t get blamed, the punter does. This dude is writing a book about educational leadership! A book! That is off the charts Andrew Cuomo energy! I hope the Raleigh Unified School District–or wherever the hell he finds the next rung of the ladder he thinks he’s climbing–hurries up and makes him an offer so our community can get someone with creativity and moral courage into this job. A book. Jesus.

The police seem fine.

ALXnow: You are not always praising local politicians, like former Mayor Silberberg. Are you connected to the @ALXBottle handle? It reads similarly to your style, as you both are highly critical of her.

Port City Publius: Surely you can accept that the sample size of local residents who think the former mayor was a dilettante who never bothered to learn or execute the core competencies of the role she was serving in is an N larger than 1.

Besides, my burner account is a Ron Swanson parody joint. I don’t have time to run another one.

ALXnow: How would you rate Justin Wilson’s performance as mayor?

Port City Publius: 85% Fresh.

ALXnow: Why keep your identity secret? Are you maintaining anonymity as an effort to protect your butler? What happens if you write under your real name? Could you lose your day job?

Port City Publius: I think if my identity came out, most people would think it was unbecoming of a former secretary of state and presidential candidate to write an ongoing series of essays about a city she’s never lived in. Plus I already got in enough trouble for the email server thing, I’m not just going to hand the New York Times another round of bullsh** for Peggy Noonan to freebase, you know what I mean?

ALXnow: When you write, “Port City Publius is committed to seeing Alexandria thrive for generations to come,” what does that mean? What kind of commitment are you talking about? Like, no matter what you won’t move away and will keep writing?

Port City Publius: It means that all of us need to be better about making choices that don’t directly or immediately benefit ourselves; but are instead done in the interest of improving the lives of people we will never know or never meet. We live in a society, man.

ALXnow: Alexandria City Public Schools have been criticized for their handling of the pandemic. While a broad question, how do you think the school system is doing and how would you characterize the effectiveness of their leadership at the upper-staff and elected levels?

Port City Publius: I think I answered this a few questions ago when I called the superintendent a mendacious hack.

ALXnow: What issues are you looking at in your crystal ball affecting the city? Increased taxes? Employee compensation? Affordable housing? Flooding? Development? These seem like perpetual problems that have plagued the city for generations.

Port City Publius: I haven’t seen anyone talking about renaming streets in Old Town so I think I’ll probably tackle that? In all seriousness – everything you list here is really important and are each deserving of substantive dialogue and consideration. And there has been a great deal of that already, on a wide range of forums. One of the reasons that I feel so very lucky to live in this city is to be around so many people who both care about making things better and apply their considerable skills and talents to that task. I’d embrace the chance to add clarity and purpose to the discussion of any of these issues, should my thoughts come together in a way worth sharing. As long as, you know, the Emmys aren’t on or something.

23 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list