Arlington Local Customs

  • Visitation stone atop a tombstone
    Visitation stone atop a tombstone
    by GentleSpirit
  • Local Customs
    by GentleSpirit
  • Local Customs
    by GentleSpirit

Most Recent Local Customs in Arlington

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    Who lives in Arlington?

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 5, 2005

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    AT  METROBUS STOP

    As I used mainly public transportation (metrorails and metrobuses) in Arlington, I had many oppotunities to watch locals. It seems that quite many of them leave cars at home and use metro to commute.

    MOST EDUCATED IN THE NATION UPPER MIDDLE CLASS
    I saw many guys dressed in suits and elegant women, often in a hurry in the morning rush hours and busy talking by cell phones at metrobus stops. Then I saw numerous, 2-story, large and pretty houses with yards (expensive, I suppose) packed one by one. Arlington must be a county of middle and upper middle class, I thought.
    I got to know that Arlington residents are among the most educated in the nation and unemployment rate was only 1.6% in Arlington in December 2003, probably the lowest in the region.
    Later on, when I already was in Galveston, Texas, on November 2 2004, 68% of Arlingtonians voted for Democratic Party candidate for president (John Kerry) and only 31% for candidate of Republican Party (George W. Bush).

    MULTI-RACIAL COMMUNITY
    I saw quite many non-white citizenens as well: Hispanic, Black, Asian both on a street and working in local restaurants and stores. The only one Pole, I met and was talking to, during my southern odysey, lived just in Arlington. Quite many people had a little bit strange accent, probably of their native non-English language.
    Well, I got to know that about 40% of residents are non-white, over 25% was born outside the USA and over 33% speaks a language other than English at home. It's impossible to see anything like that in Poland and even in the whole Europe..

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    Very few pedestrians

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 5, 2005

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    ROSSLYN  METRO  STATION  (ON LEFT)

    This picture was taken in the heart of Rosslyn - commecial and transportation center of Arlington County on weekday just after 8.00 am that is in rush hours. Difficult to believe looking at almost empty wide sidewalk.

    Well, at this moment, I discovered again that the USA is a car country with very few pedestrians. The multi-story metro-operated parking lot is located at the same building as the metro station thus drivers are not forced to get outside. Those who arrive by metrobuses or shuttles (like me) get off just in front of the metro entrance and immediatelly vanish inside.

    What a contrast with European larger old towns when sidewalks are usually too narrow and full of fast walking folks in rush hours.

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    High density and green space (yet!)

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 5, 2005

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    GREEN  SPACE BY I-66 AT ROSSLYN

    I was suprised to get to know that Arlington County is among the most densely populated jurisdictions in the USA. The population density is 7,700 persons per square mile. It's more than in a city of Seattle, Cleveland or Pittsburgh. Difficult to believe.

    A lot of area is covered by green space of Arlington National Cemetery and Fort Myer, add huge Pentagon building and large areas covered by multilane highways and freeways. Hmm... in some European cities, they started to register homeless people... on a bench, just to give them any address and thus to be able to pay them some public financial assistance. In the USA folks even don't have any identity paper (social security, driving licence or credit card instead). I do suspect that noone is registered to live, say, in the Pentagon Building. Senior Defense Officials' mailing addresses including the Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld now (2005) suprisingly belong to Washington, DC instead of Arlington.

    More, look at my picture, there is large, empty meadow located in the heart of Rosslyn, by I-66. Very good location for next business. Hmm... I would put there some large sculptures/art to make the place more pleasant for an eye.

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  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo

    It's not a city but a county!

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 5, 2005

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    CLOSE TO ROSSLYN  METRO STATION

    Arlington is not a city but an urban county of about 26 square miles (the smallest in Virginia) located directly across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. No incorporated towns or cities lie within Arlington's boundaries. I still don't understand exactly the difference and I have no idea why they created county instead of city of Arlington.

    HISTORY
    In Virginia
    This small area of land west of the Potomac River originally belonged to Virginia.

    In Washington, DC
    At the end of 18th century, the exactly square area of 16 x 16 miles on both sides of the Potomac River (in Maryland west of and Virginia east of the river ) including area of current Arlington County was desiganated for building US capital, the Fedearal City called later Washington, DC.

    Back in Virginia (part of Alexandria)
    U.S. Congress returned the portion on the west bank of the Potomac River was to the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1846. This area was known as Alexandria City and Alexandria County.

    Arlington County
    In 1920 the Arlington County was established.

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    Like in central Europe

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 5, 2005

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    APARTMENT BUILDINGS IN ARLINGTON

    This apartment building, on my picture, was placed somewhere close to Rosslyn metro station. It looks at first sight very similar to thousands buildings I see everyday in my hometown, Tychy in Poland or in any other city in the central part of Europe ruled by the former Soviet Union till 1989/1990 (Poland, eastern part of Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia).

    Well, the windows are larger and in my part of the world not all the buildings are clean and painted. And, in contrast to Arlington, most people still live in such or similar apartment buildings in central European cities because they can't bear the cost of purchase, hire or construction a house.

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  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo

    They never say "I live in Arlington"

    by matcrazy1 Written Feb 4, 2005

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    CRYSTAL CITY - MAIN US-1 HIGHWAY

    Whenever I asked anyone living in Arlington County where she or he lived I never heard that in Arlington. They replied that they lived in Crystal City, Rosslyn or Pentagon City. These unofficial names of parts of the county are present on road signs put in and close to Arlington as well. It's a must to know them whenever you drive around. It seems that the name Arlington exists only on official papers, in mail addresses and in the name of famous cemetery.

    I noticed also that most Americans rarely reply (even abroad and to foreigners) to the question "where are you from" that they are from the USA, more often they give the name of the state they live in or even hometown (if larger one).

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  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo

    Three in one

    by matcrazy1 Written Jan 28, 2005

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    AT  ROSSLYN

    Enlarge my picture, taken in Rosslyn, commercial and transportation center of Arlington County, to see three typical features of, not only Arlington, but most U.S. cities:

    1. U.S. National Flag - painted on empty side wall of an edifice; I have never seen any other country which displayed so many national flags both in public and private buildings and houses and not in national holidays. Isn't it a sign of patriotism common after WTC attack?

    2. Multi-story parking lot - I have never seen any other country with so numerous tall buildings in downtown designated for parking lots. Well, the USA is a car country, no doubt.

    3. Huge air-condition instalations and ventilation ducts through which the hot air escapes. They are numerous and this hot air have to make Arlington even more hot in summer. The USA is a country of air-condition which is everywhere.

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    No downtown but...

    by matcrazy1 Written Jan 28, 2005

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    ROSSLYN

    There is no downtown (centre) in Arlington which is, as I already stated, a county with no city inside. Instead there are two areas which look like a downtown. They are located around key metro stations and along metro lines :

    1. between Rosslyn (on my picture) and Ballston - MU metro station (along Wilson Blvd to N. Fairfax Dr = SR-237)

    2. between Pentagon and Reagan Washington National Airport metro station (along Jefferson Davis Hwy) - this area south of I-395 is called Crystal City.

    From the visitor's point of few it's important to know that most hotels and restaurants are located just in this two areas.

    IMPORTANT NOTICE
    Never ask about downtown Arlington, there is none. Ask about metro station, the airport (National Airport), specific point (Fort Myer, Arlington Cemetery, Pentagon) or street. Keep in mind that there are other, historical names of particular parts of Arlington county in common use like for example, already mentioned, Crystal City or Rosslyn.

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    Two faces of Arlington

    by matcrazy1 Updated Jan 28, 2005

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    BUSINESS AREA CLOSE TO ROSSLYN METRO STATION

    Traveling around and through Arlington many times during my first days in the USA I noticed that the city grows in different way from place to place, thus the county has two faces.

    There is high-density commercial and residential development around Metrorail stations in the Rosslyn (on my picture) - Ballston corridor and the Jefferson Davis corridor (which includes Pentagon City and Crystal City).

    In the remainder of the county, that is in the most of its area, there is lower density development with a lot of green space and lovely residential areas full of houses with yards.

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    Huge apartment buildings

    by matcrazy1 Updated Jan 28, 2005

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    APARTMENT BUILDING IN ARLINGTON (ROSSLYN)

    Such tall (17 stories), huge apartment buildings, as on my picture, are surely not unique to Arlington. But, I saw them for the first time in the USA just there which was a bad surprise.

    Keep in mind that this is NOT typical architecture in both Arlington and in any US city, I visited as for now. Most locals live in never-ending residential neighborhoods full of mostly pretty houses with yards.

    I don't like such apartment buildings a lot and I wouldn't like to live there even if they are economic (are they?) and offer additional services (parking lot, security guards, swimming pool, tennis courts etc.). They look somewhat unhuman and simply ugly in my opinion. Although those in Arlington are painted in interesting way and, in contrast to numerous appartment buildings in my part of the world (post-communist architecture), their shape, balconies, entrances and other details are more varied and less ugly.

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    DC Etiquette

    by methos_6 Written Nov 21, 2002

    Ok, here's the most important thing you can learn before visiting DC.

    Rule #1: When on the metro escalators, if you're going to simply stand, do so on the right side of the escalator. People walking up the escalator take the left side.

    Rule #2: Do not enter into the metro car and simply stop at the door (unless its full). If it's rush hour, you're going to need to squeeze in or prepare to have your ribs bruised by the crush of commuters.

    Rule #3: On bike/walking paths, stay on the right, people will pass on the left. If you hear a bell, this is an indicator that someone is going to pass on your left. Don't freak out and move to the left if you're already on the right. Otherwise, you'll get hurt.

    Rule #4: Buy a map of the mall. They're plenty cheap and are found everywhere. This way you can find your way around pretty easily.

    Rule #5: Pay attention to street parking signs. If it says "No Left Turn except for Buses" don't be surprised if you get honks, fingers, looks of disgust, as you stop to turn left.

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    The thing about this area is...

    by dinagideon Written Aug 25, 2002

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    The thing about this area is that everyone has quite an education. There are a substantial number of PhDs, and people with Masters. There are also a lot people with professional degrees here, lawyers, doctors, dentists, and the like. And the basic feeling is that to get a job that pays nearly enough to live on, you must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree. So this is me, here, to the left, receiving my Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology in 1997 from GMU! That was a very cool feeling to have made it that whole way.
    For those that want to know, I am going to get my Masters next! Yay! From ODU in Education. I am thrilled!

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    Arlington has a lot of...

    by HIckes Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Arlington has a lot of different things to see, from a wide variety of cultures (being so close to D.C., how could it not?)

    Just walk up to someone and say 'Hi!', and if that person doesn't speak your language, someone who does isn't far away!

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    Wreath Laying at Christmas

    by GentleSpirit Written Mar 4, 2013

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    During the year it is possible to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
    On Christmas there is only one wreath laying ceremony. A Wreath is presented
    by the Tomb Guards.

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