Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

pennymugThe elevation of Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court is a landmark for all Americans, not just women or Latinos.

She appears to be a grounded person, full of joie de vivre and a brilliant mind that will serve her well on the nation’s highest court. One line in a news article about Justice Sotomayor gave me pause, however. According to the item, the new Justice has never lived south of Princeton, New Jersey, where she earned her undergraduate degree. Will moving from the Big Apple to the Washington, D. C. area be a cultural shock for her? Let’s hope not!


Native New Yorkers often lament their inability to get a good bagel here, but this area has changed enormously since President John F. Kennedy noted that Washington was a “southern city with northern charm.” Diverse neighborhoods connected by Metro are making the entire metropolitan area easier for newcomers to navigate. As Justice Sotomayor searches for a new home, she might consider the new condominiums in Merrifield, or the upscale apartments that are revitalizing downtown Falls Church. Should she choose a Capitol Hill townhouse near her workplace, or the gorgeous views in Penn Quarter? Perhaps bustling Bethesda would provide the cityscape she enjoyed in New York City.

Along with today’s housing choices near public transportation comes an incredible variety of restaurants and shops that celebrate the multicultural diversity of our region. Probably everyone has heard of Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street in Washington, but I suspect that Justice Sotomayor’s culinary tastes are wide-ranging, so she might want to try the excellent Afghani restaurant, Bamiyan, in Bailey’s Crossroads, Duck Chang’s for Peking duck sliced at your table in Annandale, or perhaps the unique experience of Busboys and Poets, one of several area gathering spots owned and operated by former Mason District resident Andy Shallal.

Wherever Justice Sotomayor decides to establish her new home, she can rest assured that this region clearly has repudiated its identity as defined by President Kennedy more than four decades ago. This region truly has become the best place to live, work, play, and learn, and I hope Justice Sotomayor finds it a welcoming and vibrant new home.

As summer winds down, a couple of reminders: Another “Electric Sunday” recycling event will be held this Sunday, August 16, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Fairfax County’s I-66 Transfer Station at 4618 West Ox Road in Fairfax. Fairfax County residents may recycle televisions, computers, and other peripheral electronics at no cost. Items do not have to be in working order. No appliances, CDs, DVDs, or stereo equipment will be accepted at this event. More than 500,000 pounds of electronic waste have been collected at Electric Sunday events this year.

Spotlight by Starlight, the free summer concerts at Mason District Park in Annandale, continues through August 31. Evening concerts on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays begin at 7:30. There are two remaining Saturday morning children’s concerts, which begin at 10 on August 15 and 22. Also at Mason District Park, as the summer growing season continues, the Farmer’s Market on Thursday mornings has fresh, ripe produce for sale. The Farmer’s Market is open from 8 a.m. until noon, through November 5.