News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, December 18, 2014

BREAKING: Macaroni Grill Closes, Takes With It All Our Hopes And Dreams (Updated)

FOUR-SIREN ALARM NEWS. Reston, we may have sampled our last all-you-can-eat breadstick platter.

According to several Confidential Restonian Operatives, the Macaroni Grill is now closed -- a turn of events so shocking, so unanticipated that it forced Your Restonian to pick up our cellular telephone and do some "reporting," as journalists apparently call it. It is with a heavy heart that we can confirm that our favorite bastion of midscale chain dining and symbol of misguided big box Reston development is no more, all remnants of its memory scrubbed from the Macaroni Grill website like a Trotskyite in mid-century Russia:

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They said that when the Soviet Union finally collapsed, it all happened so quickly that no one even saw it coming. This is kind of like that, only involving carb-laden appetizers instead of tanks.

It is with a heavy heart that we will update the Macaroni Grill Doomsday Clock for the last time later today. There are no words, just an empty hole in our heart that high-carb appetizers can no longer fill.

Update: This part stinks worse than day-old rigatoni:

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Our Favorite Correspondent, The Peasant From Less Sought After South Reston, suggested this image to represent the ticking of the final second of the Macaroni Grill Doomsday Clock, urging us to think of the red streaks as "burst cans of industrial strength tomato sauce."

Not bad, assuming you came of age during the golden age of the graphic novel. Us, we like our Sad Poneez:

Macaroni Grill 1158Update to the Update: The sign that promised weary travelers serious carbs and easy living is ALREADY GONE. The monsters.

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That festive wreath near the ground isn't fooling anyone.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It's a Wonderful Life in Reston, Unless You Live By the Golf Course, Or Like The Idea of Open Space Or Unclogged Roads

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Ever since our earth-toned community got an unwelcome early Christmas present from the bank examiner Northwestern Mutual, our BFFs at Rescue Reston have been gearing up to fight the abrupt resurfacing of the insurance giant's attempt to challenge the zoning of Reston National Golf Course as open recreational space. Now it's getting into the spirt of the season to boot!

A secret developer, cloaked by an attorney, is attempting to turn our planned community into It's a Wonderful Life's "Pottersville." On January 21 the attorney for Northwestern Mutual will ask the BZA to overturn our County Zoning Administrator's determination that the 166 acres of Reston National Golf Course is zoned as permanent recreational open space.
Rescue Reston is planning a rally on January 10 and is urging people to write letters to the Board of Zoning Appeals and attend the January 21 BZA public hearing on the matter. In the meantime, please to be enjoying this lovely flyer and try to forget that one of the original options for naming Reston, while not quite Pottersville, was Simon City.

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No truth to the rumor that the original script for It's a Wonderful Life ended with the line "Teacher says every time a bell rings, a developer gets a floor-area-ratio density bonus."

Friday, December 12, 2014

RTC Triffid Sculpture Has Friendly-Sounding Name

Triffids Rising
It's been nearly six months since the bloodthirsty Triffids primrose yellow public art project rose from the ground in front of the Hyatt at Reston Town Center, terrifying delighting us all. And now we know it has a name -- "Reston Rondo." How deceptively friendly, as though to lure human-sized morsels within striking distance whimsical!

On Monday, the public art project will devour us all be formally dedicated. Since we are but jaded "web loggers," incapable of appreciating art except by making childish comparisons to obscure cult horror movies and other pop-culture detritus, we'll share the official description and this fancy video from IPAR's website.

Reston Rondo aspires to be welcoming to people approaching Reston Town Center. The sculpture is gestural, its graceful movement inviting the viewer to move around and though it. With clean organic forms suggesting lively energy, Reston Rondo is intended to be elegant with a feeling of lyricism and whimsy.

Not bad, actually. We've actually been pleasantly surprised by the piece, given the plentiful opportunities we've had to observe it while stuck in traffic on Reston Parkway. The dedication will be at 3pm Monday. Be sure to wear something unappetizing looking primrose yellow if you choose to go.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Possible Reston Development Site Possibly Home to Possible Slave Cemetery

Remember how the Fairfax Hunt Club issued a request to rezone its property at the edge of Reston for residential development as part of Phase 2 of the Reston Master Plan? Yeah, that was awesome. Turns out the property is already home to some residents who have been there for quite some time. Give us some good blockquote, Fairfax Times "news paper":

Some members of Reston’s Hunt Club cluster are concerned for the future of what might potentially be a cemetery containing the graves of five former slaves who lived in Fairfax County prior to the Civil War.

The small family cemetery is located on the Fairfax County Hunt Club property.
Apparently the property contains "one field stone and five plus grave depressions under an oak tree about three feet in diameter.” Research done by a resident of the adjoining Hunt Club cluster, Heather Greenfield, suggests that the property once belonged to a woman named Mildred Johnson, "who also had a school house on her property."
According to Fairfax County tax records and Post-Civil War Southern Claims application submissions, Mildred H. Johnson owned property listed as “100 acres 3 miles SE of Dranesville” and that property was listed as containing a schoolhouse. “I’ve been able to look up burial records for Mildred Johnson and her children, and they were buried mostly in Browns Chapel. Johnson had five slaves according to the 1860 slave census, and there are five graves there,” said Greenfield, who formerly was a reporter with the Associated Press.
State law allows gravesites to be moved, and language in the master plan request suggests that the nearby clubhouse, with its 200-year-old log cabin, would be preserved in the event of development. Greenfield points out that leaves open the question of what might happen to the cemetery if and when the property is redeveloped:
“When I ask that, I am told that there would be multiple steps to try save the cemetery later, such as hearings,” Greenfield said. “I get that. But one thing I learned from covering this sort of thing as a reporter is that you get less conflict later, when people already know what to expect. If it’s up front that the cabin and cemetery would be preserved, a potential housing developer would already know what he’s buying. It would be frustrating for him and for us as neighbors, if it’s left vague, and we have to battle over it later.”
Homeowners battling to preserve open space because of what's included in a land use document? That doesn't sound like anything that's happened 'round these here parts, the end.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Flashback Monday: Another Lost Playground of Reston

Lost Playground
Our Facebook BFFs at Reston, Remember When recently posted this exciting photo of a no-longer-extant playground along the idyllic shores of Lake Anne. Like another long-lost playground that once helped convince skeptical families to Make The Reston Dream Theirs, this one also has some nice skull-crackin' concrete adornments that would give the personal injury lawyers of today fever dreams of upgraded leather trim in their BMWs.

Culvert 2
Nothing says "fun" like playing in a half-buried concrete culvert!

Or maybe we've got this all wrong. Given the location along Lake Anne, maybe this wasn't meant to be a playground at all. Instead, this could have been a never-completed upgrade to the jet-age air conditioning system, in hopes of opening the floodgates of chilled "cooled" lake water to a sweltering populace, the end.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Shocker: Mauve Is The New Black

Radiant OrchidAlert Confidential Restonian Operative "Kristina" passed along this very exciting news from Pantone, the makers of a rainbow palette of colors of which 99.9 percent are strictly Verboten for Reston homeowners.

Apparently every year, Pantone picks a Color of the Year, with 2014's color the DRB-infuriating "Radiant Orchid" pictured at right. No truth to the rumor that if you try to pick up a can of exterior paint in this shade at Home Depot, your coordinates are immediately dispatched to the DRB drones.

But 2015? Everything's coming up Reston! Reston, meet Marsala. We think we've seen you around these parts before, gracing our wood trim, our fencing, and the walls of our sweeeeeet sunken conversation pits.


Pantone calls Marsala "sensual and bold" and a "daringly inviting tone that nurtures, exuding confidence and stability while feeding the body, mind and soul." But we know it by its real name. That's right, mauve is the color of 2015. And, by logical extension, Reston is the new black.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Are You Urban Chic, An Enterprising Professional, Or Top Tier? Depends On Where In Reston You Live

Reston prides itself on its diversity, but in the cold world of marketing analytics, we all fall into one of five demographic segments. YOU HAVE BEEN ASSIMILATED. But are you urban chic? An enterprising professional? Top tier? Depends on what Zip code you call home and what market segment your psychometrics have bound you to, inexorably, with no choice of appeal or mobility. Unless, you know, you move to another Zip code, like maybe in "Great" Falls or something.

"Enterprising Professionals" can be found in all of Reston's Zip codes, and they represent the largest segments of both "the 20190" and "the 20191," as the kids probably never said, not even once, in jest. Trying to find yourself? HERE'S WHO YOU ARE:

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MAJOR ERROR. Obviously they meant the Macaroni Grill instead of the Cheesecake Factory. As for gambling, we do that every time we pass the paint section at Home Depot and start looking wistfully at the fuchsia tones. Also, does "web logging" count as a STEM occupation?

Also, apparently all the Olds Golden Years types live in 20190, presumably in houses along Lake Anne that used to have those bead curtains in the place of actual working doors.

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20190 is also, annoyingly, home to a third group called "Laptops and Lattes," but we're pretty sure they all live within a two-block radius of the Starbucks in Reston Town Center:

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But let's say you live in 20194, aka North Reston, where the sky is bluer, the streets are wider, the people are happier, etc. etc. Then chances are you are Urban Chic:

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That "sophisticated lifestyle" obviously doesn't involve mingling at the dog park.

But North and South Reston are also home to the 1 percent Top Tier, presumably in the McMansions that surround Reston proper. What are they like?

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Wow, they're just like us. We love opera too!

Herndon's not all that different -- except that its second-largest group is "Savvy Suburbanites," which says that "late-model SUVs, station wagons, and minivans may be in our driveways." Could be worse -- they could have to rock the Ford Foci, like the rest of us, the end.