News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, May 10, 2019

Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery: Reston's Canadian Doppelgänger Digs Hole, Awaits Skyrocketing Property Values

We've written before about our Canadian doppelgänger, the bustling, if sometimes waterlogged, village of Reston, Manitoba (we're informed that Manitoba is what our neighbors to the north call a "province," which is basically a state with fewer people and more moose).

But we digress. Longtime readers may remember that our neighbors to the north wanted to up the population somewhere beyond the 600 souls who now call Reston, MB, home (but presumably below the six-figure population coming our way), so they offered lots of desirable Reston property for $10 CDN (which translates to roughly $0.02 USD, plus a pocket square of flannel or a muskrat pellet).

We're not sure exactly how that turned out, but we noticed that Reston's town fathers are borrowing another page from our New Town development handbook. No, silly rabbits, they're not charging for parking downtown, they're actually digging a hole and putting water in it. On purpose! Check out the Twitters, as the kids probably never said:

Sweet! We love manmade lakes, and air, and fizzy bubbles. And since our own fancy fountain at Lake Anne is currently not working, maybe we should give these folks a call. But let's check out that lake:

Looks pretty nice right now, but we wonder what it might look like in the winter early September:

We're going to try and scrape $10 CDN together stat, the end.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

FalconGate 2019: RTC Thwarts Will of the People, Shackles Popular Vote Like So Many Parking Bumblebees (Updated)

Someone call the UN, Jimmy Carter and all the chad counters in Florida, as the wishes of Restonians have, once again, been crushed through BLATANT electoral fraud. Wake up, sheeple!

With 64 percent of the vote, the Reston Now Readers’ Choice Award for Falcon Names clearly goes to Free and Parking — the falcons’ new nicknames.
Yay! The people have spoken. The Restonian On Your Side Election Integrity Team had been carefully monitoring the results of the election in anticipation of shenanigans. But kudos to our BFFs at Reston Now for nibbling at the hand that feeds it sponsored content at least acknowledging the top vote-getter and memesplaining the significance. But wait, what's this?
But for the official name, upon further reflection, it was clear that the regal birds deserved a more befitting, less joke-y name.

So like Boaty McBoatface before it, “Free” and “Parking” will be how the birds are remembered by many, but the clear second place winner in the voting — “Robert” and “Anne,” a reference to Reston’s founder Bob Simon and Lake Anne — will become the falcons’ actual names.

As in other totalitarian regimes strip malls, dissent is allowed--up to a point. Then the bumblebee is clamped on, metaphorically speaking, and dissent is crushed like so many would-be photographers.

Needless to say, people are taking this well. "Boston Properties still doesn't get it," one commenter wrote. "I wish the best to Robert and Anne whose life expectancy surpasses that of most tenants at RTC."

Another quickly mocked up this T-shirt:

RTC's elite crisis managers probably anticipated they'd take this hit, but that people would forget in time and learn to stop worrying and love the birds. Funny, that's also what they thought a few years ago, back before all the empty storefronts and elite nail salons and the number of lawsuits filed by its own tenants equalling the population of its beloved, if now misnamed, falcons. And we can't wait for BPX's next elite stunt!

Update: Reston Now issues an official statement about the whole naming brouhaha, saying, among other things, that they made the call to not go with Free and Parking, that "no money or favors changed hands," and that there was some "disappointing" salty language in Facebook comments about the whole situation:

The fact that we now have Boston Properties upset at us, for including “Free” and “Parking” in the poll to begin with, and readers angry at us for not selecting those names as the official winner, is frustrating to say the least.

Friday, April 26, 2019

When You Gotta Go On The Metro, Think Reston

One of the less known facts about the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, aside from its conspicuous lack of once-promised rad 80s art, is that it’s home to one of the few public restrooms in the entire Metro system. We'd expect nothing less, and we're sure that when the Reston Town Center station opens, the washrooms there will be staffed with tuxedo-wearing attendants in recognition of that part of town's elite status.

But we digress. We've had the occasion to use the Metro facilities every now and then, and we must say they're... surprisingly pleasant. On a scale of transit-related facilities ranging from 1 (Penn Station basement) to 10 (Emirates Sky Lounge), we’d put the Wiehle Metro station bathrooms somewhere in the high 7 to 8 range. Not bad!

They even have a confidence-inspiring "daily washroom checklist" taped on the wall, which is great... at least until you take a closer look.

Okay, so it's just April. Late April, actually. We Restonians are a thoughtful bunch, after all, so maybe we've been carefully metering out the squares in consideration of our fellow plastic fantastic planned community commuters.

Well, to be fair, Metro has had other issues that are probably top of mind. What's the worst that could happen?

Next time, we'll wait until we get home, kthx, the end.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Flashback: A Tale of Two Town Centers

Our favorite correspondent, the Peasant from Less Sought After South Reston, found a gem from the old-timey Washington Post back from ought-zero, when parents would still gather their children around the glow of incandescent lighting to read thrilling tales of far-away suburbs from the "news-paper."

By 2000, Reston had been around for parts of four decades, and our ersatz gritty urban core had been there for nearly a decade. But the article provides out-of-towners a crash course, informing us that “Reston was intended to be a suburban antidote… Goodbye suburban isolation and cookie-cutter housing.”

The article goes on to compare and contrast RTC with Reston's original town center, Lake Anne Plaza. Of the new hawtness, it says:

The center has been likened to a scaled-down version of Georgetown without the parking hassle (free parking is available at three parking lots and two garages. Locals are less happy about parking these days because of new construction projects, but the situation still beats wrangling with meters or paying to park in a garage.

The article also includes these groovy maps and a key showing what was available to intrepid turn-of-the-century consumers in both places in 2000 (click to enlarge). It's a nice walk down Late Stage Capitalism Memory Lane:

As the Peasant puts it:

This sniffle-inducing (or would that be snort-inducing?) trip down memory lane leads to a rousing Reston rendition of the song “Those Were The Days” as sung by Archie and Edith:

Boy the way parking was free
RTC was the place to be
No worries about a bumblebee
Those were the days

And you knew that in this place
No cost for a parking space
Mister we could use a man like Robert Simon again
Didn’t need no parking app
Nobody bothered with this crap
Gee our free parking was great
Those were the days

Friday, April 19, 2019

McTacoHutpocalypse Now: Another Cherished Reston Institution Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Pour one out, as the kids haven't said in years, for one of Reston's longstanding institutions, which, we learned this week, will soon be no more. You see, the "hut" of the fabled McTacoHut carbohydrate-industrial complex on Wiehle Avenue, is falling -- not to redevelopment, not to unbuilt roads we can't stop development waiting for, but to (shudder) changing gustatorial tastes.

Give us some McSad blockquote, BFFs at Reston Now:

Pupatella, an award-winning Neopolitan pizzeria, is coming to Reston in early 2020, according to a company news release.

The 2,700-square-foot restaurant will be located at 1821 Wiehle Avenue. It will also include a patio for outdoor dining.

Pupatella, which started as a food truck, does has Reston roots -- founding partner Michael Berger is from Reston.

But how far we've fallen to when the signless, DRB-mandated drab Pizza Hut was a retail powerhouse. Lest we forget how central McTacoHut has been to the Reston experience, note its prominent presence in the most significant cultural product to come from our plastic fantastic planned community (albeit in the "Taco" segment of McTacoHut). And when a snarky DC writer, baseball cap undoubtedly turned at a jaunty angle, was parachuted (or perhaps Ubered) into Reston to see what wonders lay amongst the undiscovered wilds at the end of the Silver Line, he found himself there.

We wish Pupatella well, but we haven't been this sad since another august Reston institution closed. It's yet another cultural landmark taken away too soon. And besides, McTacoPupa just doesn't have the same ring, the end.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

For the Birds: Reston Town Center PR Stunt Backfires Badly, Creates Fleeting Moment of Schadenfreude-Fueled Glee

What's new at our favorite elite, parking-challenged ersatz downtown, besides some additional empty storefronts? (Secret's out!) If our sponsored content reading skills are up to snuff, apparently two peregrine falcons have come to call Reston Town Center home, and now the elite crisis managers, aware of an extremely rare good PR opportunity when they see it, are earning their retainers by proposing a naming contest for them!

Give us some good (presumably) sponsored content, BFFs at Reston Now:

A joint effort between Reston Now and Boston Properties wants readers’ help naming the two falcons, who call Reston Town Center home.

The story of Reston Town Center’s peregrine falcons started in June 2015 when two chicks were found on Market Street.

What follows is a lengthy story, complete with "peregrine falcon fun facts," that we all can enjoy in our spare time not shopping at RTC. And at the end is this gem:
Between and next Friday (April 19), comment below this story and on the Reston Now social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) your name suggestions. On Monday, April 22, readers will be able to vote for the two names out a list of the most upvoted and liked suggested names.
As you, but presumably not the elite crisis managers whose hourly rate is in the three figures, might imagine, the responses haven't been exactly what they hoped for: (click to enlarge)

We, too, wondered how Reston Now got talked into this PR stunt, but then we remembered that they accepted a paid op-ed from RTC -- and barred comments -- when paid parking first reared its ugly head. And then we remembered that our own filthy "web log" relies on people accidentally clicking on the "Who's Your Baby's Daddy" ads to stay whole and sadness ensued, the end.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Unopposed Soviet-Style RA Election Marred By Soviet-Style Bureaucratic Snag (Updated)

It's been a few years since we've had to break out the Soviet-era imagery to talk about the Reston Association board elections, but once again we've found ourselves in a spot where all five open seats on the RA Board are uncontested. And because that wasn't Soviet enough, and the beet harvests in our plastic fantastic planned community's communal gardens are apparently in keeping with the five-year plan, we've got a wacky Soviet-style mailing mishap thrown into the mix this year for good measure. Give us some procedural blockquote, BFFs at the Reston Association:
On March 15, 2019, the RA Elections Committee became aware of a technical issue that caused approximately 2,800 paper ballots to be returned to RA as undeliverable. In response, the association has instructed the independent vendor, Intelliscan, to resend the ballots to the correct addresses and has extended the voting period
The deadline has been extended from April 1 to April 3, but fear not: the delay won't result in us being kept in suspense any longer on the results of the uncontested elections. They'll still be announced on April 9, so three cheers for democracy apathy!

In case you're wondering who to vote for, the five people running unopposed include three incumbents, Catherine Baum (apartments), Caren Anton (Hunters Woods/Dogwood), and John Mooney (North Point). The two newcomers, also running unopposed, are Tom Mulkerin (at-large) and Aaron Webb (Lake Anne/Tall Oaks).

You can listen to their official statements above or watch video of the 90-minute candidates' forum here, but you know... unopposed.

We have nothing bad to say about any of the candidates -- if anything we should be grateful anyone is willing to step up and run for what we've long said is a thankless job. But just last year, we had 13 candidates running for four open seats, complete with wacky alliances and "slates" that sounded more like a bad episode of Survivor than our own community. So wha'happened? It's not like the clouds magically parted and suddenly Tall Oaks was un-razed and the golf courses were unthreatened and traffic was unjammed and the Leaky Lake House was unpurchased and there were ponies and bridges and infrastructure for all. There's lots on Reston's plate, and strong RA leadership can only help.

At least the race for the Hunter Mill seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is shaping up to be something of a contest, with four contenders to date for the seat being vacated by Cathy Hudgins, who is retiring later this year. They are Walter Acorn, Laurie Dodd, Shyamali Hauth, and Parker Messick, and two three forums have already been planned to hear what they stand for ahead of the June 11 Democratic primary which will essentially coronate the ultimate winner of the seat -- one on April 16 at Sunset Hills Montessori School sponsored by Herndon/Reston Indivisible, another on April 23 at the Jo Ann Rose Gallery in Lake Anne, sponsored by the Reston Citizens Association, and one on April 29 at the Reston Community Center sponsored by Fairfax Democrats.

But vote in the RA election anyway -- or else, in really Soviet style, we'll have to do it all over again because of bylaws requiring a 10 percent quorum for even uncontested elections. As of March 22, returned ballots were over the 10 percent cutoff for the North Point seat, but in the 8-9 percent range for the remaining seats. We'd rather our RA dues go to pretty much anything else, so vote early and often, the end.

Update: Quorum attained. Catherine Baum is the RA's new president, if you're keeping score at home.