News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's the New Great Depression, Charlie Brown!

A sign of the scary economic times we're living in: a resurgence of newspaper articles that use the term "hobo."

While Robert Simon was building his real estate career in Manhattan, Pat Kane's parents were taking in boarders and giving handouts to hobos on their back porch in California's San Fernando Valley.
Sweet! Simon was in college during the last Great Depression, though he admits he was a bit sheltered from the devastation of the time.
Robert Simon, 94, who would later go on to create the planned community of Reston, was in college when the stock market crashed in 1929. While on his last fling to Europe as a young man, he got word that his father died and returned to the states to take over his father's real estate business in Manhattan.
That business included owning Carnegie Hall, so it's safe to say he wasn't out selling apples on the streets. And while no one's selling apples in front of Reston Town Center (at least not yet!), some things are eerily the same:
He remembers renegotiating mortgages on some of the properties his father owned to keep them from going into foreclosure.

"Clearly this is the kind of thing that should be negotiated today," said Simon, who still resides in Reston.
Clearly. As bellwethers of economic sensibility go, we'd take Simon over Joe the plumber any day.

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