News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Corporate Overreactions And Nextdoor Panic: The Reston Riots That Never Were

Quick question for the elite crisis managers at Reston Town Center. Was this:

Absolutely necessary for this?

It's not like Wednesday's Black Lives Matter protesters were allowed to march at RTC, as like lots of the "public" spaces we think are ours to freely navigate it is private property and previous protesters, journalists, and just regular folks have been chased off for far less. Instead the group -- a diverse gathering about 30 strong or so, escorted by several county police officers on bicycles -- marched to Lake Anne Plaza, where despite the myriad temptations, widescale looting of pretzels and artisanal scones and dog treats notably did not happen.

Then folks on Nextdoor heard cars beeping later in the day and freaked out, not realizing it was the South Lakes High School drive-by graduation. (Nice pictures here, by the way.)

To be fair, we did see some serious vandalism in the wake of the march. Look away, ye faint of heart:

Since this is Reston, that last one probably stands for "All Clusters Are Beige." And lord, do we act like it sometimes.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Graduations and Protests: Reston's Plague Year, Week 11 (Updated 6/3)

Photo part of the Public Art Reston #athomechalk project.

South Lakes High School graduates are being celebrated with a drive-by car parade tonight at 7pm. Details here.

Herndon High School seniors got their own surprise last week:

As nationwide protests continue in the wake of the death of George Floyd, lots of information about local events. Today:

If Nextdoor is to be believed, Reston Town Center is acting.... predictably.

Reston Strong is also planning a demonstration on Friday evening.

And there's a Herndon car rally on Thursday.

You can get your daily serving of racist and alarmist commentary about these events on Twitter, but here's a reminder of how these events are interpreted, even here.

Not quite "why was the helicopter circling?" but still pretty dramatic:

Remarkably, still no sign of Michael Delaney, missing since walking out of Reston Hospital Center on May 10. Search teams were out again last weekend, and someone put together a map of all the places that have been searched. Facebook group with more here.

Even as Phase 2 of Virginia's reopening has been delayed, we'll end with this much-discussed response to the first phase, which allowed restaurants to begin outdoor service:

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Plague? What Plague? Microsoft To Bring 1,500 New Jobs to Reston Town Center in Office and Retail Space That Presumably Will Be Used Someday

Sure we're in the midst of a global pandemic and economic depression, but even under those conditions, no one can deny the vague yet undeniable drawing power of Reston. Microsoft announced today it is dramatically expanding its Reston footprint, moving into 400,000 square feet of office space in Reston Town Center. Give us some good blockquote, BFFs at the Fairfax Economic Development Authority:
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Microsoft Corp., a worldwide leader in software, services, devices, and solutions, will invest $64 million to establish a new software development and R&D regional hub in Fairfax County, which will create 1,500 new jobs. The company will occupy 400,000 square feet in Reston for its future software development efforts with plans to include a new retail space for engaging directly with customers. [snip]

“Virginia, like the rest of the nation, is facing unprecedented job loss due to COVID-19, so this announcement couldn’t come at a better time,” said Governor Northam. “Microsoft Corp. and Virginia share a strong history, and we are proud that this major operation in Fairfax County will add to the company’s significant job count across our Commonwealth. Virginia is a leader in the information technology industry, and Microsoft’s continued investment here is a testament to our top-ranked business climate, infrastructure, and world-class workforce.”

That's a lot of words, so here's a helpful press release distilled into video form:

Microsoft is moving to Two Freedom Drive, the muavescraper vacated earlier this year by Leidos when it moved to the new, glassier office high rise at the other end of RTC. It's planning a retail store in the building, which will essentially be caddy-corner from Apple's expanded storefront, assuming indoor retail ever becomes, you know, a thing again. Microsoft is also maintaining its existing 150,000 square feet of office space across the pedestrian bridge from RTC, so we guess all the talk about tech companies basically making their workforces remote forever and operating their headquarters out of a utility closet with a post office box may be a bit... premature.

Either way, it's a big win for the region, for Reston, and for (shudder) Boston Properties, giving them their best PR win in recent memory. Who knows, maybe Microsoft can apply some of its technical know-how to fixing the (awesome and much loved) RTC parking app:

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Someone Painted Swastikas All Over North Point. Then Something Good Happened.

As if nothing else was on people's minds these days, we awoke yesterday to the news that someone spray painted swastikas all over North Point Village Center in Reston -- albeit poorly. Many appeared backwards, and something that might have been an attempt at a star of David turned out like a regular five-point star you'd get on a third-grade worksheet, so um, let's just say that maybe these folks aren't exactly accustomed to being rewarded for their intellectual efforts and leave it at that.

But we digress. You can find photos of the hateful graffiti elsewhere, but instead of giving these folks any more attention, we'll share how people responded, including what's turning out to be our own paramilitary tagging operation:

A group of neighbors bought lunch for the workers who cleaned the spray paint and left a sign that read: "We are Reston Strong! Hate has no place here!"

"Reston and the Hunter Mill District have a long history of inclusion and racial and ethnic diversity," Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said in a statement. "Acts of hate will not be tolerated. And vandalism and hate crimes are both criminal acts. Throughout this pandemic we have witnessed tremendous community spirit and goodness and I am confident that will continue."

Love > Hate.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Reston's Plague Year: Week 9 (Updated 5/19)

Openings and closings: RA announced that its summer camp programs are officially canceled for the summer. On other amenities:

The association will determine how many pools will open depending on the number of staff that can complete a water rescue test, which cannot be completed online. RA hopes to have enough qualified and certified staff by July 1 to ensure that a minimum of four pools are fully staffed and operational. It’s also unclear when tennis courts will be open. Depending on when social distancing requirements are relaxed in Northern Virginia, some tennis courts would be open in June.
But then there’s this!

One of the saddest stories of our coronatime — the disappearance of 75 year old Michael Delaney from Reston Hospital last Sunday — continues. While the active search was called off late last week, today the Virginia State Police issued a senior alert.

Over the weekend, dozens of people participated in a community search.

You can follow the ongoing search on this Facebook group. Here’s one lead that’s been shared (click to maybe make readable):

One person’s efforts to show what six feet looks like on Reston trails.

Some Good News, as some less famous rando “video web logger” put it, maybe on the Tik Toks or something:

More of that Some Good News: Reston grocery stores are more or less well-stocked these days.

The bad news? Sexist bread has, like nature, returned during these less crowded times. Courtesy of Confidential Restonian Operative “Erin”:

“While Safeway can't stock frozen foods, we do have plenty of sexist croissants!” CRO “Erin” observes.

The ‘Nature is Healing’ meme is getting a bit crazy. First, the neighborhood foxes are taking what is rightfully theirs:

Bears have been spotted around Reston, because why not.

If that wasn't unnerving enough, the unimpeachable source of animalia, Nextdoor, has been rife with a heated discussion about whether feline creatures seen around Reston are bobcats or cougars.

For comedic purposes, most people have gone with the latter:

Hey, if a former president can make a Tiger King reference, so can folks on Nextdoor.

But not all nature is out to get us (or our doggie toys):

All together (but socially distant) now: Awwwwwww.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Reston's Plague Year: Week 8 (Updated 5/12)

At the behest of the state, we finally have Zip code-level COVID data for Fairfax County, and... it's not surprising.

Nearly 250 cases overall. South Reston has 480.6 cases per 100,000, while the middle part of Reston, including RTC, has 599 cases per 100,000. Fancypants North Reston has far fewer cases per capita -- 129.1 per 100,000. And Herndon is one of the county's most afflicted Zip codes, with 746.9 cases per 100,000. As with everything, (relative) affluence -- and who can (and can't) work from home -- is pretty clearly revealed by these numbers. Just ask the folks across Rt. 7 in Great Falls, which has the lowest per-capita rate in the county, except for two Zip codes with no reported cases thus far.

With three-quarters of all new cases -- and all but two of the newly reported deaths -- in Northern Virginia, it's not surprising that Gov. Northam is likely to exclude the region from the first phase of reopening later in the week. (Update: It's official: NoVa reopening has been pushed back by at least two weeks.) Just as predictably, that's bringing out the intelligentsia:

Of course no one wants to re-open. Those that can work from home are loving the zero commute time, And those that can't work are suckling off the government teet making more on unemployment than they did at their meaningless job as a barista or sales associate at The Gap.
We'll have what he's having, thanks.

This week’s "why is the police helicopter hovering overhead?" is less of a reason to celebrate than last week’s:

Police have also been out on trails for the last day after Delaney walked out of Reston Hospital late Sunday night. Still missing as of Tuesday morning.

As the Reston public chalk art challenge continues, other auteurs are exploring the use of different mediums to slake their creative juices. Confidential Restonian Operative "Terry" shared this cellular telephone photo of one "entry":

Same. But this is a better use of the medium:

Watch out for the Chalk Hooligans in dark alleys, lest you wind up covered in teal dust.

Finally, another missed birthday celebration -- sort of:

Friday, May 8, 2020

Reston's Plague Year: Week 7 (Updated 5/8)

As we enter what one person called the "guinea pig" phase of reopening the economy, Reston Farmer's Market is the first experiment for open-air markets in the county, starting tomorrow morning.

Record cold temperatures should keep things from getting too overcrowded on this first go, and we think it'll go better, or at least cause less bloodshed, than this. Rules and pre-ordering info here.

More Reston restaurants are reopening: Lake Anne's Local VA resumed offering takeout this week, and Red's Table in South Lakes is offering Mother's Day meals to go. And this was a good story about the Lake Anne Brew House's, ahem, can-do efforts to stay afloat in recent weeks.

Good news! Parking at the Wiehle-Reston Metro garage will be free this summer. Of course, there will be no Metro service during that period, but you can always catch a bus.

There's been a whole series of "nature is healing" memes during the pandemic, but as part of Public Art Reston's chalk challenge, apparently our lakes are becoming homes to giant, freakish monsters.

No word on whether the Reston Association plans to cite these sea monsters if they're 1/16" longer than the covenants allow.

Cino de Mayo was time to celebrate! Celebrate long, socially distanced lines, that is:

Glass recycling has survived the plague. The purple containers are being put back at the Reston South Park and Ride lot and other country locations, and will be open for all those excess brown and green bottles we've been enjoying during our enforced stay-at-home time starting Monday. That didn't stop people from just leaving bottles in the empty spot where the container once stood in recent weeks, much like during the site's previous life as an all-purpose recycling center.

Finally, this week's edition of "why is the helicopter over Reston" was for a good cause:

Rad drone video here.