“When I thought of Rosslyn, all that came to mind was concrete office buildings,” Berenbaum said. But any reservations disappeared when he and his wife walked from their new home to Georgetown’s M Street in 15 minutes. Now, they are raising their children in the neighborhood, which features a real mixture of single-family homes, duplexes, apartment buildings and condominiums.
Jennifer Zeien is the president of the North Rosslyn Civic Association. She has lived in North Rosslyn for 15 years, and she draws an important distinction between Rosslyn in general and her neighborhood. She says that Rosslyn is a mix of high-rise commercial, office and hotel space, while North Rosslyn is “a relatively bucolic residential neighborhood that is just steps from Key Bridge and the District.”
John Edelmann, a Rosslyn real estate agent at the Edelmann Love Group Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, said North Rosslyn residents, “know one another and their neighbors, and many find it to be a great place to raise a family, or downsize from larger suburban homes, or just enjoy life without a tremendous commute.”
When Paul Derby moved from Minneapolis, he wanted to find an urban, walkable neighborhood with good public transportation options in Northern Virginia. Now he has lived in North Rosslyn for more than three years and serves on the board of the civic association with Zeien. He says North Rosslyn also offers easy access to transportation arteries and the airports: The Metrobus Express goes to Dulles International Airport, and travelers take Metrorail to Reagan National Airport.
Despite these conveniences, residents do grapple with some typical urban problems, Zeien says. She points to North Rosslyn’s inadequate play space for children and recreational space, such as ballfields, for adults. Local retail is lacking; residents complain about a lack of grocery stores serving their neighborhood. The natural topography of steep hills combined with the many parking facilities can make walking difficult.
North Rosslyn residents say they are committed to improving their community. There is a long history of locals participating in the site-plan process and keeping the Metro station maintained, says Derby. Also, he adds, there have been 15 years’ worth of efforts to reclaim some community space from the Wilson School, a historic building that currently houses the Mongolian School.
The Wilson School campus offered active green space area for residents’ recreation up to about 1996, when trailers, which provided temporary classroom space when schools in other parts of Arlington were renovated, moved in. “We have unsuccessfully met with Arlington Public Schools trying to get these trailers removed and the field restored,” Derby says.