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Update at 3:35 p.m. — The Interstellar Influencer commemorates the Chesapeake Bay impact crater, not the Chicxulub crater 35 million years earlier that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs

Earlier: The asteroid collision 35 million years ago will be the latest public art at Alexandria’s Waterfront Park.

“Interstellar Influencer (Make an Impact)” will be formally unveiled in March and will be on display at the foot of King Street until November. It’s the sixth temporary installation at the site, and is being created by artist Jason Klimoski and architect Lesley Chang of New York City-based STUDIOKCA.

“At the foot of King Street on the shore of the Potomac River, an interstellar collision that took place not too far away and not too, too long ago between an asteroid and our planet is about to re-appear,” the city’s Office of the Arts announced. “Interstellar Influencer uses metal, water, and light to create a 1:1000 scale representation of the asteroid and the 85-kilometer-wide, 1.5-kilometer-deep crater it left behind that helped to shape the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed and the flow of water through its rivers and tributaries in the process.”

The installation will kick off Alexandria’s 275th birthday celebration programming, it was announced at Visit Alexandria’s annual meeting on Monday.

Chang said she wants the installation to “raise awareness of the fragility of our shared existence on this planet and the extraordinary (and sometime extraterrestrial) foundation of our modern cities and waterways.”

Klimoski said that we all live within the history that has shaped the planet.

“Sometimes you have to look at it from the point of view of an asteroid hurtling through space 35,000,000 years ago to appreciate just how incredible it is we’re here at all,” he said.

Alexandria’s 275th birthday, also known as ALX275, will mostly be recognized from April through mid-September.

According to Visit Alexandria:

The opening of waterfront public art installation Interstellar Influencer (Make an Impact)kicks off the 275th anniversary programming in the spring. Then, look forward to special editions of the 2-day Portside in Old Town Summer Festival in June, which features the ALX Jazz Fest, and the Alexandria City Birthday Celebration with fireworks over the Potomac on July 13.

Alexandria’s award-winning Port City Brewing Company will produce an original hoppy Pale Ale called ALX275, brewed with 275 lbs. of hops, that will be served on draft at the Portside Festival, at Port City’s Tasting Room and Old Town Pub Crawl and at more special events from April through September. Also in September, the 275th anniversary festivities include events for the 10th anniversary of the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial and the 50th anniversary of the Torpedo Factory Art Center.

New exhibits include Alexandria Archaeology’s “The Buried Ships of Robinson Landing” with scale models of the three excavated ships at a temporary new waterfront gallery space. The Alexandria Black History Museum’s Moss Kendrix exhibit will honor the nationally significant visionary who revolutionized how African Americans were depicted in the media in the mid-20th century. The special collection of artifacts will demonstrate how the D.C.-based advertising and public relations pioneer transformed the advertising industry, paving the way for the diversity of actors and models who today are featured throughout marketing creative. Meanwhile, Historic Alexandria’s oral history exhibition, “Mapping Alexandria: Stories of a Changing City,” is coming to The Lyceum in June. Interactive features of the exhibition include a story kiosk where the public can record and upload their own oral histories, an interactive map and more.

Turkish Coffee Lady staff and U.S. diplomats heading to Turkey at the Old Town location (image via Turkish Coffee Lady/Instagram)

Turkish Coffee Lady at 1001 King Street is celebrating 15 years in business and two years in Old Town with an event offering free Turkish coffee this weekend.

On Saturday, Jan. 20, Turkish Coffee Lady (1001 King Street) will distribute Turkish coffee cups from 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

According to the release:

Turkish Coffee Lady, the beloved cultural and culinary hub, is excited to announce the joyous celebration of 15 years of gastro cultural diplomacy and its 2nd anniversary in Old Town, Alexandria. This momentous occasion coincides with the highly anticipated Alexandria Restaurant Week, providing a perfect opportunity for the community to join in the festivities.

The coffee shop also now offers breakfast and lunch items focusing on Turkish cuisine, along with a bazaar-style sale of hand-painted pottery, coffee and tea sets, and jewelry collections.

“We are delighted to celebrate this significant milestone where our guests can indulge in complimentary cups of Turkish coffee, expertly crafted to tantalize the taste buds and transport them to the vibrant streets of Istanbul,” founder Gizem Salcigil White said in a release. “We extend our gratitude to the community that has supported us throughout this remarkable journey.”

Photo via Turkish Coffee Lady/Instagram


A Del Ray restaurant is planning on expanding its footprint with a 750-square foot patio addition.

Noe Landini, owner of Junction Bakery & Bistro (1508 Mount Vernon Avenue), wants to build on the northern end of the restaurant on a repurposed area of the parking lot used for outdoor seating the last several years.

Landini is asking the Planning Commission on March 5 to approve his request to increase the restaurant’s floor area ratio.

“Unlike other locations, the sun impacts that particular side of the building, which is the north side, all day,” Landini wrote in his application. “It is extremely uncomfortable and excruciatingly hot for local customers and neighbors in some parts of the spring, summer and fall. A canopy with fans would provide comfort to our guests.”

Landini wrote that the addition will also provide lighting to guests at night.

“(W)e will actually be able to see in the evening, which will enhance our guests’ dinner experience and safety,” Landini wrote.

via City of Alexandria

A ribbon cutting for YogaSix at 2465 Mandeville Lane (via Facebook)

A new yoga franchise just had a ribbon cutting in Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhood.

Mayor Justin Wilson and City Council Member John Taylor Chapman attended the event for YogaSix at 2465 Mandeville Lane over the weekend. The franchise offers six types of yoga classes, and a location is being developed for Potomac Yard.

YogaSix is part of Xponential Fitness and was founded in 2017.

“We believe that everyone deserves the mind-body experience of yoga,” YogaSix said on its website. “By connecting you to a  practice that is energizing, empowering, and fun. We deliver life-enhancing benefits through our six core classes: Y6 101, Y6 Restore, Y6 Slow Flow, Y6 Hot, Y6 Power, and Y6 Sculpt & Flow.”

A description of the six core classes is below.

  • Slow Flow: This yoga class flows at a slowed-down pace so there’s time to explore individual postures and transitions in a warm practice room. Newer students find this class builds confidence and familiarity, while more experienced students refine the fundamentals of alignment and dive into a deeper practice. You will gently engage, open, and strengthen the body by tapping into accessible yoga poses, fluid movement, and breath.
  • Restore: Whether you’re training for a half-marathon, pushing weights, or stuck behind a desk all day, Y6 Restore yoga classes are for you. These yoga classes emphasize floor postures to stretch, open and release the major muscle groups of the entire body in lightly warm full sensory room. Students who take this yoga class regularly report better recovery, mobility, fewer injuries, improved sleep, as well as reduced aches and pains.
  • Hot: This YogaSix signature set sequence, Y6 Hot combines yoga postures synched with your breath, a fun and challenging balancing series, and dynamic core work designed to add energizing fire to your life in a heated practice room. This yoga sequence will leave you feeling perfectly balanced inside and out, from bottom to top.
  • Power: Y6 Power classes are strength-building, full-body blasts designed to build focus, endurance, and flexibility in a heated practice room. These Vinyasa yoga classes move at a steady pace to keep your practice fluid, creative and energizing. This workout will take your body and mind through a challenging yoga journey. Y6 Power yoga classes facilitate breakthroughs in your body and mind, so count on leaving with a sense of energy and empowerment.
  • Sculpt & Flow: Strengthen Yourself. Y6 Sculpt & Flow classes are the perfect blend of yoga and weight training in a heated practice room. A dynamic warm-up will get your heart-rate up and muscles warm, before you dive into an intense, cross training workout that uses dumbbells, bands and body weight exercises to challenge muscular strength, endurance, and cardiovascular thresholds. Then cool down with some juicy yoga stretches to leave you in a puddle on the mat. Y6 Sculpt & Flow is the best of both worlds —a total body workout plus a killer yoga vibe. Expect a fun playlist and loud, high energy music throughout.
  • TRX: Y6 TRX is offered only at select locations incorporating our 6 core classes utilizing a full TRX wall mount system. Strengthen Yourself by experiencing a yoga practice allowing you to engage muscles that weren’t previously activated in a typical yoga practice. This is a great class to do if you’re used to TRX and you want to try out yoga. It’s also a great class if you’ve been doing yoga for a while and want to ramp up what you’ve been able to do on your mat. Y6 TRX is a little bit of everything, increasing range of motion, noticing asymmetries in your body that you can then work on. Let’s Hang Out!

via Facebook

Rendering of outdoor plaza at Monumental Arena development (image courtesy of JBG SMITH)

The impact that the proposed Washington Wizards/Capitals arena at Potomac Yard will have on local businesses will be discussed in a virtual town hall meeting this week.

Stephanie Landrum, CEO of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership (AEDP), will speak about the ramifications in a Zoom meeting at noon on Thursday (Jan. 21).

Reception of the news that the multi-billion dollar arena and entertainment district is coming to Potomac Yard has been tepid at best. While an AEDP report states that the development will result in 30,000 new jobs, the city is contending with a number of challenges before the deal can be sealed.

Last week, a group of residents from the Coalition to Stop the Arena at Potomac Yard rallied in protest outside the Potomac Yard Metro station — next door to the proposed development. Concerns ranged from the project’s transportation and financial impacts to parking and quality of life.

“An entertainment district is projected to generate roughly 2.5 times the economic output of what would otherwise be built based on current development plans,” according to an AEDP impact analysis.

Metro General Manager Randy Clarke also said that the newly opened Potomac Yard Metro station can’t handle arena-size crowds and will need an upgrade. In an effort to encourage alternative transportation to events at the proposed district, Mayor Justin Wilson says there will be minimal parking at the completed site, prompting some concern that neighboring communities will be affected by spillover parking.

Landrum recently said that the fate of the Target store at 3101 Richmond Highway in Potomac Yard is undetermined,  but that it is one of the most frequent questions she gets regarding the development.

Book Worm Trivia event flyer (image via Port City Brewing Company/Twitter)

All you fancy-pants, book-reading edumacated readers out there mark your calendars: there’s an upcoming trivia contest for you.

The brewery at 3950 Wheeler Avenue is having its first ‘Port City Book Worm Trivia’ on Thursday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m.

“Friends, for 2024’s first volume of trivia, we plan to compose a virtual encyclopedia of literary knowledge worthy of a Pulitzer Prize,” the event listing said. “File this event under non-fiction because we plan to cover every form of scholarly know-how from front to back cover. Get ready for the very first edition of Port City Book Worm Trivia!”

Teams are limited to no more than six people with a $7 fee to register.


A Pennsylvania man was arrested for his third driving while intoxicated offense in five years and driving on a suspended license after allegedly crashing his car into The Majestic Restaurant’s outdoor patio and a number of other cars in Old Town on Thursday, Dec. 28.

The incident at The Majestic occurred at around 1:30 a.m., and the 25-year-old suspect was later arrested at around 6:30 a.m. after allegedly crashing a 2002 Camry with temporary tags into two unoccupied parked vehicles near the intersection of Commerce and S. Payne Streets.

The damages are estimated at around $15,000, according to Scott Bogue, the restaurant’s manager.

“That includes propane tanks, heaters, crowd control barriers, planters, not to mention the time it too the gardener to buy the plants and plant them,” Bogue said. “He hit every single table, every single chair. You would have thought that an 18-wheeler plowed into the restaurant.”

Bogue said that police linked the suspect’s car by a portion of the front bumper that was left in front of the restaurant. Bogue said that Alexandria Restaurant Partners, which owns The Majestic, is not pressing charges and is getting compensated through the suspect’s insurance.

The suspect was charged with driving on a suspended license and for his third DWI in less than five years, which is a Class 6 felony punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a $2,500 fine. He was released on a $1,000 bond that afternoon and has his first court appearance on Friday, Jan. 5.

Le Petite Ananas is opening soon in Del Ray (via Instagram)

Jafaar Ouardi says his shave ice is like eating fluffy snow.

After launching Le Petit Ananas Hawaiian Shaved Ice two years ago in Fairfax County, Ouardi recently got City Council approval to set up shop in the alleyway outside Bagel Uprising at 2307 A Mount Vernon Avenue. He’s planning on reopening at the new location in March and staying open until November.

“This is like the shaved ice you find in New Orleans,” Ouardi said. “It’s really slushy and fluffy, like snow. It’s so good.”

There’s 14 flavors, including root beer, cherry, cotton candy, mango and pineapple, and the product uses 100% cane sugar from a Hawaiian distributor. Toppings include condensed milk, mochi and fruit purees.

The 12-foot-by-six-foot shave ice trailer will replace the existing tables that were previously used for outdoor dining, according to a city staff report.

A native of Fes, Morocco, Ouardi is also a DJ and IT consultant. He says that if the business is a success that he wants to be open year-round. He was first introduced to Del Ray when he sold shave ice from his trailer at last summer’s Band’s & Brews Bar Crawl.

“It’s going to be good,” Ouardi said. “If I get support from the community, I’ll think about adding things to the menu, like Moroccan hot tea, baklava and Acai bowls.”

Image via Instagram

Joy on the Avenue is now open at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray (staff photo by James Cullum)

A Festivus for the rest of us is coming back to Del Ray this Saturday night.

The secular celebration that started in the 1990s sitcom Seinfeld will be celebrated on Saturday, Jan. 6, at the Joy on the Avenue pop-up at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue.

It’s the second year in a row that Bill Blackburn and “Mango” Mike Anderson have celebrated Festivus (traditionally held Dec. 23) as an end to the holiday season, and as a way to say goodbye to the holiday pop-up.

“Grievances will be aired,” Blackburn told ALXnow. “We’re ready with a Festivus pole and more.”

On Seinfeld, the character of Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller) detailed the holiday to Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards).

“Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son,” Costanza said. “I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows on him I realized there had to be another way… Out of that a new holiday was formed.”

The party will run from 5 p.m. to midnight, and includes:

  • The Festivus pole — A plain aluminum pole (bought at Home Depot — they’re next to the Christmas trees) without decoration will mark the occasion
  • The airing of grievances — Customers can write their grievances on slips of paper, and the best will be aired on Homegrown Restaurant Group’s social media pages next week
  • Feats of strength — Customers can challenge any bartender to an arm wrestling match, and winners get a free Jello shooter (limited to one per customer)

Blackburn and Anderson plan to reopen the pop-up with a new concept before the end of the month.

Jay Portlance, owner of Del Ray Hardware at 2003 Mount Vernon Avenue (staff photo by James Cullum)

A local hardware store in Del Ray that was in danger of closing just got saved by an Alexandria realtor.

Jay Portlance bought Executive Lock and Key Service from Chris Harvey just before Christmas for $150,000 and reopened it as Del Ray Hardware on New Year’s Day. The store at 2003 Mount Vernon Avenue first opened in the mid-1990s, and the former owner told us in October that he was going to close the business unless he found a buyer by the end of the year.

‘We don’t need another restaurant and clothing store,” Portlance said. “This is primo real estate right here. Part of my objective was to protect it, and the only way I can ensure that was by buying it.”

Portlance says he contacted Harvey in November and closed on the deal on Dec. 22. Between then and the day the store reopened, Portlance and his small staff worked 15 hour days cleaning and reorganizing. They ended up freeing up about 450-square-feet of new space, Portlance said.

Portlance wants to add plants and potentially a garden center.

Gary Harvey managed the sale and said that his brother is getting used to a new routine of working as a locksmith from his garage.

“It worked out real well,” Gary Harvey said. “Sure, it hurts when you get rid of something. My brother was there for nearly 30 years. It was a part of his life and it takes a little while to get over that.”

A D.C. native, Portlance has been a realtor for nearly a decade. He got to know Chris Harvey over the last several years while renovating his house in Warwick Village.

“He knew every single time I had a flooded basement or electrocuted myself,” Portlance said.

Portlance spoke to customers during the interview, and said he is in it for the “long haul.”

“I’ll be here as long as the neighborhood wants me,” he told us.

Just then, George Brown, the owner of Probuilders LLC, who was in the ship looking to buy a very particular screw to fix an old cabinet drawer, said: “Well, the neighborhood is going to want you, buddy. I’m going to be here all the time.”


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