News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, August 21, 2014

On the YouTubes: Nearby ATM Skimming Scam Adds Yet More Credence to Reston Town Center's Urban Grit

Fairfax County Police posted to the YouTubes this fancy video of an unknown suspect attaching a skimming device to the ATM machine at the Navy Federal Credit Union branch in Reston's Spectrum Center in early July. Give us some good blockquote, BFFs at Reston Now:

The Navy Federal Credit Union ATM at 1821 Fountain Dr. in Reston was among three banks recently discovered as a target for ATM skimmers, Fairfax County Police said.

Police have a released a video of the skimming device being installed and removed at that location on July 9 and 11. Other recent devices have been found at 11180 Lee Hwy. in Fairfax (July 1 and July 6) and 7678-D Richmond Hwy. in Alexandria (June 28 and July 6).
The video shows all the skimmer being attached and removed in all three locations, with Reston up first. We have to admit, the gentleman's dark shades and old-skool headphones are a pretty clever disguise.

But we digress. Such brazen criminal activity in broad daylight -- and in the shadow of Reston Town Center and the Macaroni Grill? Forget rats of the four-legged variety. It's proof positive that Reston's gritty urban core is now officially All Grown Up, the end.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Caddyshackpocalypse Later, Dogpocalypse Now

It's been quiet of late at Reston National Golf Course a property of indeterminate zoning status vaguely near a future Metro station. But while the giant insurance conglomerate that owns it is no longer battling community groups and the RA to allow the golf course to be redeveloped into more bollardy goodness -- at least for now -- they've set their sights on another, equally worthy adversary.

Confidential Restonian Operative "Mary Anne" sent us these chilling photos of new signage that was apparently put up around the golf course in the past week.


No words. Let's just hope that the signs are all the groundskeepers are planning:

Friday, August 15, 2014

DC Hipster Discovers Quaint Community at End of Silver Line; Hilarity Does Not Ensue

HipstersA presumably piercing-laden hipster "web logger" from the City Paper decided to explore the strange land at the far end of the Silver Line. And -- wait for it -- it apparently wasn't sufficiently urbane for sophisticated city folk:

With a Metro stop right on it, Wiehle Avenue will surely be the next “it” spot for D.C. residents looking to meander across Virginia’s concrete and sprawling countryside. I spent a whirlwind 36 minutes on Wiehle Avenue visiting all the hotspots and can now share where to go next time you take the Silver Line to the end of Phase 1.
Country mice that we are, we believe we detect a tinge of sarcasm here. Hey, wait a minute, that's our job!

After (accurately) describing the harrowing task of crossing Wiehle Avenue, the author of this piece visits the epicenter of Reston culture, the McTacoHut. Let's pick up the travelogue there:
The food options on Wiehle Avenue are all conveniently located in one enclave (i.e. parking lot) across from the quaint Fairfax County fire station. There’s a McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, each with their own drive-through window. Upon first glance, it’s easy to mistake the Pizza Hut and Taco Bell for a combination Pizza Hut/Taco Bell, but they each have their own airy restaurants, and the Taco Bell is just pushed back and not visible from Wiehle Avenue. I’d recommend dining at Taco Bell because, geographically, it’s the hidden gem of the three. And from 2 to 5 p.m. at Taco Bell, it’s Happy Hour, which gets you a drink, slushy, and loaded griller for $1 each. I ordered two drinks, a soft taco, cheesy gordita crunch, quesadilla, and nacho cheese Doritos Locos taco all for $10—a price that can’t be found at any D.C. taco food truck.
Joke's on you -- we have food trucks, too! At least a couple of days a week, sometimes. But when they do show up, they announce their presence via Twitter, like we're in the freaking Silicon Valley or something. Excelsior!

After pointing out that the "skinny" W&OD trail has a sign about identifying ticks -- but missing the fact that we Restonians have our own unique way of dealing with them -- our intrepid traveller from a Land Before Mauve discovers some "live entertainment":
While on Wiehle Avenue, make sure to listen to the sound of suburban youth culture. Every couple dozen cars on the busy avenue will yield one vehicle, manned by a youth, with its windows down and indiscernible rap music emitting from its speakers. These sounds are widely considered to be the anthem of Wiehle Avenue.
Guilty as charged. Don't forget the Greatest Reston Video Ever Made, which -- coincidentally -- includes scenes shot in the Wiehle McTacoHut complex. But are they seriously suggesting that no one plays the "rap music," as the kids today almost certainly don't say, in DC proper?

And finally, our daring explorer visits Isaac Newton Square, which is apparently not sufficiently square to city folks' liking:
But step behind the sign, and there is no square or ode to Isaac Newton, just a massive parking lot with scattered office buildings throughout. Take a walk around and see if you can figure out why this square is named after Newton. (Google yields no immediate answers.)
Maybe not, but Google surely would have pointed out the most interesting spot in the square, one that is as fresh as today's headlines.

All in all, we learned a lot! To return the favor, maybe we'll Metro down to, say, Federal Triangle and point out all the edgy, cosmopolitan things you can do there, like, we dunno, buy an "authentic" $5 FBI T-shirt from a street vendor or stare at tourists taking pictures of lampposts, the end.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Will Reston's Old Pony Barn Become a Memorial Garden? Depends on the NIMBYs, er, Neighbors

Sad MLPWe've written before about the earlier, more genteel Reston which was home to a pony barn that was supposed to transform South Reston into an equestrian paradise to rival Middleburg, only with better midscale retail. Sadly, the barn collapsed early on, and the only remnants of Reston's horsey-would-have-been-future are street names like Steeplechase and Elmer's whatnot.

Now the Reston Association is looking at plans for the park and pavilion that sit where the Pony Barn once stood, and one suggestion on the table is constructing the memorial garden that was never originally planned in Reston because Bob Simon was famously not a fan of the funeral industry. (No truth to the rumor that this unforeseen consequence of not having an appropriate place to mourned lost loved ones began the talk of a proper memorial garden.)

But we digress. Earlier this summer the Initiative for Public Art Reston (IPAR) approached the RA board about the possibility of considering the Pony Barn Pavilion site, and the former riding ring site, for a memorial garden, which is part of IPAR's own master plan for Reston. Give us some good blockquote, BFFs at Reston Now:

The IPAR Memorial Garden committee was formed in 2011 after the death of IPAR supporter Ann Rodriguez. It envisions a site with natural beauty, wooded elements, as well as walkways and benches. Once the project is awarded a site, the next steps will be to raise money to fund the project, as well as hire a landscape designer.
As with other fun projects of late, some Pony Barn neighbors are complaining because -- wait for it -- of concerns about traffic and other impacts of a memorial garden site. (Though, to be fair, a memorial garden would be a much quieter neighbor than, say, a dog park or a boccedrome.)

A new working group appointed by the RA Board will hold its first meeting on Monday at 6:30pm. Details and a form to collect input are here.

By December, the working group hopes to have a proposal to submit to the RA Board and (shudder) the DRB for approval. Given that our previous suggestions seem to have fallen on deaf ears, we're guessing they won't take our own humble suggestion seriously now:


Monday, August 11, 2014

Flashback Monday: Plenty of Parking at Reston Town Center

RTC when it first opened
Set the controls of the Earth-Toned Wayback Machine to ca. 1991, when Reston Town Center first opened to the unsuspecting masses, with the four original buildings, one parking garage, some sweeeet midscale retail, and surface parking. Lots and lots of surface parking, which contributed to RTC's original Disney-esque feel, where you'd park in the Goofy surface lot and take a monorail walk to Main Street USA the fountain, wondering if everything had been built at 7/8 scale. Little did we naive Restonites know back then that it could have been worse. Much, much worse.

Of course, today all those surface lots (except one, for now) have been replaced by high-rise offices and condos, and as it's grown, RTC has become a real downtown, with all the authentic urban grit that goes with that. So it's through mauve-colored glasses that we look back at this simpler era, where we could just park under the sky and the stars, as God intended, before walking to the multiplex to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze and wrap up a magical evening over Zimas at Clyde's, the end.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

With Rat Infestation, RTC Finally Earns Our Grudging Respect as Gritty Urban Core

RTC Rats
Ah, Reston Town Center. With the (somewhat nearby) arrival of a mass transit system that could whisk people to a bigger shopping mall a legitimate downtown, you realized you had to "step up your game," as the kids no longer say. With a trifling garbage fire every now and then no longer a valid bonafide for urban cred, you are now bragging about a veritable "explosion of rats."


As you have probably heard we have rats in the Town Square Park for the first time. What you may not know is that there has been an explosion of rats in the entire Town Center. I am not sure why except that perhaps the Avant construction provided stimulation for them to get into the rest of Town Center.

In response both Boston Properties and RUCA are taking steps to initiate a major effort on our properties to get rid of the rats. RUCA is also working with Triple “S” Pest control. They did a survey of the Town Square last week and found rodent burrows in the big planting bed on Explorer St, and in the beds facing Market St.

We have contracted with them to do intensive treatment doing 9 visits to inspect and aggressively treat the existing burrows for the first month and then follow up with monthly treatment. This will include installing 9 tamper resistant bait stations in key areas of the property including flower and shrub planting areas. These will look like a fake rock and will contain a rodenticide which I have been told will not harm dogs, but dog owners should keep their dogs away from them.

Dog owners must be very careful about cleaning up dog poop and putting it in the stations. If the stations are getting too full too quickly please let me know. Rats are attracted to the waste.

We also ask that residents be sure to clean up any food and trash and if possible take it with them out of the park for disposal.
WELL PLAYED, RTC. Well played.

There's no truth to the rumor, though, that the rats are already lining up for the iPhone 6. Or that this is the consequence of one small-town rat with big-city dreams of becoming a renowned chef at a midscale chain eatery. We could make a cute animated film... let's call it "Unotatouille" for the sake of argument.

Our favorite correspondent, the Peasant from Less Sought-After South Reston, wonders if we can blame the Metro for this, too:
See, those people who feared undesirables coming from "East of the River" were spot on! Maybe the vermin came on the Silver Line to check out the awesome RTC?
Here, courtesy of the Peasant, is EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE of what might have happened:

Now THAT's gritty.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Boccepocalypse Later: Proposal to Eliminate Obscure Italian Sport Averted

BocceFans of obscure Italian pastimes can breathe a sigh of relief. After an earlier proposal to build a sweet bollard bowling alley bocce court at the Cabots Point Recreation Area near South Lakes Drive was nearly killed by the Reston Association due to -- wait for it -- complaints from nearby neighbors, the RA Board has taken the request to take bocce off the table off the table. Wait, what?

The Reston Association Board of Directors decided on Thursday to keep the plan for adding a bocce court at Cabots Point, despite resident pressure to reconsider.

The board voted in December to authorize construction of the lawn bowling court at the area off of South Lakes Drive. The $2,500 cost would be paid for by Friends of Reston, said South Lakes Director Richard Chew, who proposed the amenity.
The design plan was approved by RA’s Design Review Board in June and $1,700 has already been donated to the project, RA documents show.

But the board has recently heard from several Cabots Point residents who were concerned that the new recreational amenity would bring unwanted traffic and noise to the neighborhood off South Lakes Drive.

That led to RA CEO Cate Fulkerson’s proposal to take the plan off the table and come up with an alternate plan that may or may not include bocce for Cabots Point. That proposal was on Thursday night’s RA meeting agenda, but was voted to be thrown out.
Our BFFs at Reston Now point out that nearby residents objected because they weren't notified about the project and because of traffic and parking concerns. Of course we're talking about a court that's no more than 14 feet wide and 91 feet long, assuming the RA, itself a stickler for obscure regulations, follows the official dimensions for a bocce court whilst building its own field sandy pit of dreams. And we're not sure that bocce, despite its international appeal, would lead to overflowing parking lots. It's not a dog park or roller derby, after all.

However, we'd encourage the RA to Think Big. After earlier attempts to build sweet indoor tennis/swimming facilities have hit a spot of bother, here's the chance to create a massive and unnecessary recreation edifice that everyone can agree on! Even if everyone agrees it's totally unnecessary. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you...


Juicery optional.

You're welcome.