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95 articles

Our fathers’ founding food court.

A recent visit to a popular attraction in northern Virginia revealed an unexpected little food court.Though it looks pretty lifeless from the photo, I don’t think it was struggling; I caught it right before the end of the business day, so things were winding down. Needless to say, this food court boasts plenty of sunlight

The pocket park: does a mega city need a mini playground?

The caliber of playground amenities in our urban parks has improved and diversified considerably in recent years. I can remember when I was a child: it was typical for each piece of equipment to sit in isolation, almost forcing the kids to decide between playing with one another or engaging with the equipment and making

Baptism by asphalt: how Emmanuel Episcopal handles its parking predicament.

I’ve blogged in the past—by this point, the distant past—about church parking lots, and what they indicate about religious life and the shift in denominational trends that took place during the twentieth century…trends that continue unabated in the twenty-first. I have no idea about the state of things at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in northern Virginia,

Crystal City surprises: a 1970s-era Edge City engulfs a streetcar suburb.

By this point, it is all but common knowledge that metro Washington, DC will greet the second headquarters for Amazon.com, the world’s largest soup-to-nuts Internet-based company. Less familiar, though, is its exact location, in an area called Crystal City, a mixed-use enclave directly across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital, in Arlington County, Virginia.

BrandBox at Tysons Corner Center: a shrewd pop-up solution, a Band-Aid, or a tourniquet?

Long a means of securing seasonal tenants in shopping centers, the pop-up shop has only emerged as a standard bearer for retail nodes within the last five years or so—about the same time that economic forecasters began realizing how badly online shopping was undermining conventional bricks-and-mortar retail. And that’s how they work: they fill a

Lidl Express revisited: where obscurity is strategy.

It’s not typical of me to post follow-up blog posts within a month of the original, but I’ve already done it once this month, so how much longer can I keep making this claim? Truth is, when I blog about situations close to where I live, it’s easy to revisit and find something new that

Lidl Express: a broadly visible German grocer opts for an obscure American rollout.

The store featured in the image below isn’t likely all too familiar to many Americans, but it’s possible that it soon will be. As far as I know, it’s the pilot location for a convenience-oriented spinoff of Lidl (rhymes with “needle”), a long-successful German grocer that has been scoping the American market for a point

Charging stations at DCA: another nail in the land line’s coffin.

On the way out of Reagan International Airport (DCA), beyond an assembly of baggage claim carrels, the arriving passenger encounters a metal fabrication mounted to the wall that undoubtedly looks a wee bit retro. I have the sneaking suspicion that those under the age of fifteen may not even know what these bulky bookends formerly

Super Bowl sales: intercepting the alligator pears before they pass the pigskin.

As much as I hate to rehash the subject of an old thread, I can now comfortably assert that what used to be speculation has now achieved corroboration. And it probably needs corroboration. After all, even after seeing the display at a supermarket in Pennsylvania, why would people instinctively associate football with avocados? But it’s

Colorful commemorations: what do painted bikes mean to the unschooled?

Nearly four months had passed—a long time for me—since my last visit to Pentagon City in Arlington County, Virginia, home to a big, well-situated, and (as malls go) prosperous mall, a booming multifamily housing sector, numerous key big-box retailers, and a variety of office complexes—all within walking distance of the none-too-pedestrian-friendly Pentagon. The area is

Our fathers’ founding food court.

A recent visit to a popular attraction in northern Virginia revealed an unexpected little food court.Though it looks pretty lifeless from the photo, I don’t think it was struggling; I caught it right

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