News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, November 16, 2007

Why does Reston Town Center hate America? (an in-depth investigation)

A few weeks back, we learned that the Reston Town Center Association has thus far declined to support the push for a referendum on turning Reston into a nifty town, encircled by moats filled with fire-breathing dragons and mauve-colored city walls. But that's just the half of it.

An exclusive Restonian investigation (OK, so maybe we just Googled "Reston Town Center" and "hates America") has revealed that the Reston Town Center isn't just against a plebiscite election that may or may not contravene state law, it's against America itself! Read this chilling first-person account:

This is what a photo of Reston Town Center looks like when you don't fill out a form to get a camera permit. For those who don't know, Reston Town Center (in Reston, Fairfax County, Virginia) is one of those shopping centers that use the illusion of a lively cultural district to lure you in to spend your money. I can't show you, but try to picture a neighborhood of streets, parking garages, offices, apartments and--most importantly--restaurants, movie theaters and other retail stores. Reston Town Center is just like the downtown of any vibrant city... with one important difference.

What sets Reston Town Center (and similar developments) apart is that it's all pretend. One hundred percent make-believe. Sure, it feels like you're on a public city street, dining at a family-owned outdoor cafe as locals and tourists walk by. But in reality, the entire complex is controlled by a single, giant property management corporation. In the case of Reston Town Center, that corporation is named Equity Office. And Equity Office doesn't allow anyone to take a picture on their private property without prior approval... and the documentation to prove it.

... Pull out a tripod and look for the best spot to photograph the scene, and those polite, friendly Reston Town Center guards will be quick to stand in your way. Quick to radio the security office. Quick to tell you sorry, but picture-taking is not allowed without advance written permission. Would you like to fill out a form and come back tomorrow?
A form? The horror, the horror....

Needless to say, the author of this was a bit shaken, particularly since this jack-booted atrocity happened right in the middle of Freedom Square. Oh, the irony!
Reston Town Center is nothing more than an outdoor shopping mall. The big business idea of what Main Street USA could be. What main street *should* be. Their slogan, "What downtown was meant to be," pretty much says it all. Reston Town Center is a place where people with money can gather to spend it, pretending they live somewhere much more exciting, much more vibrant than than the suburb they actually call home.
Sounds like America to us!


  1. Seriously?? All the photos I've ever taken of my family participating in the Thanksgiving parade, or at the tree lighting, or when my high school once performed there...or of my friends as we eat...are illegal??

  2. So, while I generally agree with the author that everyting about RTC is fake, I think the whole photo thing is a bit blown out of proportion. I think it's mainly in their documents because some lawyer thought it would be good to reserve a right to sue someone who wanted to dispariage the company in some way. Even so, if they just have this in some document somewhere, how can they expect anyone to see it. If they don't advertise this rule in plain site to pedestrians with said cameras, I can't imagine a judge would side with them in trying to squeeze money out of some poor grandma. And don't they know that the RIAA has dibs on grandma?

    1. My brother visiting fro out of town was stopped from taking photographs in RTC. He was out for a stroll with his wife and kid. So, no, irt's not blown out of proportion. Frankly, it's pretty sick!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I hope the RA can't see the pictures I posted on my Faceyspace page...

  5. I got kicked off a parking deck one evening for trying to shoot a bloody sunset. Facism. Control freaks. Any place that calls itself "Town Center" isn't one. "Freedom Plaza" ? Freedom from thought, freedom from diversity, freedom reality. Town Center is creepy corporate Disneyland.

  6. Boston Properties owns 5 buildings in Reston Town Center and apparently they also manage it. So, they are the ones who deploy the security guards, and they incorrectly told their guards and their employees (I spoke to 5 of them) that Reston Town Center is a private property and that they OWN it. Well, they don't own it. Furthermore, their own policy on their website states that one has to get a permit for "photography, videotaping, or filming for media or commercial purposes." However, their guards and employees indiscriminately forbid anyone from taking pictures for personal use!!!
    So, for all freedom-loving and law-abiding citizens go ahead and take pictures as much as you want and dare them to intervene.

  7. This is insane. I was not aware of this non pic taking policy. Glad I got away with taking some nice pics of the X-mas tree and fountain this past year.


(If you don't see comments for some reason, click here).