News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, November 20, 2009

Photo Pfun: We'll Always Have the Panera


Ain't love grand? Right in the middle of the ice rink at the Reston Town Center, presumably while people celebrating happy hour at Clyde's cheered and jeered, skater Patrick Hallman proposed to his girlfriend, Lydia Putney. According to the Connection, they plan to be wed in December 2011, but in the meantime, they can always relive their once-in-a-lifetime moment while standing in line for a bread soup bowl and some Sun Chips at the Panera.


  1. The Convict in the GulagNovember 20, 2009 at 4:35 PM

    I hope they don't get cold feet before then. {guffaw}

    Good luck, Patrick and Lydia.

  2. Look at how empty that is.

    Meanwhile, the new supermarket at Tall Oaks was throbbing and pulsating with mobs of shoppers.

  3. I knew a couple who got engaged on the ice rink like 5 years ago. Its not THAT original. But best wishes.

  4. What is this, they called the press for this moment? I'd like to know how this photo was taken. Sounds like the RTC may be trying to get some free publicity.

  5. Andy Sigle dabs a tear from his eye....awwwww

    BTW - I hear Andy shops for his wife Bonnie

  6. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)November 23, 2009 at 8:06 AM

    I wouldn't be so quick to write this off as being cheesy. I was at the town center (can we just call it "Downtown Reston" already?) about a week-and-a-half ago with a good female friend of mine, and we stopped to eat our ice cream while watching the skaters from the far end of the rink with the Christmas tree in the background. It was indeed a very romantic scene, and it would be the perfect place to do something so spontaneous yet so meaningful.

  7. BiCO

    Re "Downtown" Reston - Good point. Another example: While "Poland" sounds quaint I much prefer "Generalgouverenment fur die besetzten polnischen Gebieten" - its got that staccato ring to it.


  8. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)November 23, 2009 at 12:00 PM

    I just think it would be nice to say that our community has a true "downtown." I suppose the word "downtown" can have a positive or negative connotation to it, depending upon whom you ask. Reston Town Center IS what most non-residents of the Mauve Wonderland think of when they hear the word Reston, is it not? It IS the primary place in our community where people convene for festivals, ice skating, concerts, upscale shopping, yuppie dining options, and big shiny buildings. It just sounds so weird to tell someone from Ashburn "meet me at (the) town center" vs. "meet me downtown." I associate POSITIVE thoughts to the word downtown.

    Think about established and mature communities in our area. Do people say they are going to Downtown Culpeper or "Culpeper Town Center?" Do people say they are going to Downtown Winchester or "Winchester Town Center?" That phrase "town center" just sounds much more cheesy, manufactured, recent, and impersonal to me. I still call it "Downtown Reston," whether I get puzzled looks or not. If Lake Anne Plaza was supposedly the "real" downtown of Reston, then they most certainly did a bad job of updating it to reflect the growing size of the community, hence why it is now overshadowed by (the) town center.

  9. The Convict in the GulagNovember 23, 2009 at 1:41 PM

    The problem with "downtown" is that implies that there's an "uptown" and maybe even a "midtown". All of that sounds so New Yorkish. Not that there's anything wrong with New York. It's just that, if I had wanted New York -- or even Arlington or Bethesda -- I would have moved to those places. So, I'm in favor of just calling it "That Concrete and Steel Abomination by the W&OD" myself but, then, I'm a bit of a Luddite. (I liked it better as forest and farm land.)

  10. If Reston Town Center is downtown, then uptown can be Lake Anne Village Center. and midtown can be Compare Foods, y'all

  11. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)November 23, 2009 at 2:10 PM

    I don't know. There's certainly no "uptown" or "midtown" to most other Virginia communities that have a "downtown." In fact, the only glaring examples of "Uptown" I can think of off the top of my head are Manhattan and Charlotte (possibly Minneapolis). The only examples that immediately come to mind of "Midtown" are Manhattan, Harrisburg, and Omaha (possibly Chicago and Seattle). 99.9% of the communities nationwide that have a true "downtown" don't also have an "uptown" and "midtown." Even Herndon claims its tiny two-block-long strip of about a dozen businesses to be its own "downtown", and I don't think I'd tell anyone I was house-hunting in "Midtown Herndon." Designating a place in Reston as our official "downtown" just sort of seems as if it would give the community a sense of PERMANENCE and PROMINENCE. Right now after living here for six months the community just still feels very transitional and transient in nature---not "established."

    Ideally I'd like us to start calling (the) town center "Downtown Reston" with the village centers (Washington Plaza/Lake Anne, Hunter's Woods, North Point, South Lakes, etc.) being rejuvenated and serving the purposes they were originally designed for---giving people access to their daily needs within walking distance. What IS Reston Town Center supposed to be, anyways, if it's not our community's focal point and "downtown?" I walk over there frequently from nearby Charter Oak just to people-watch. Perhaps I'm a 23-year-old male going on a 70-year-old retired woman, but I derive a certain nostalgic pleasure from being able to tell people that in MY "downtown" people propose to one another while ice skating, Carlos Santana eats steaks, you can buy fresh produce once a week, you can buy an awesome DRB-approved sweater vest from GAP, and posers from Ashburn come to wear sunglasses at night while drinking over-priced mixed drinks and talking about their jobs and Porsches at Jackson's that mommy and daddy bought for them. :-) Yes, I LOVE "Downtown Reston", not (the) "town center?!"

    I think the problem is that so many of you people are programmed to think 100% suburban that you're afraid of anything that might have an urbane connotation to it. I'd hardly consider places like Winchester, Fredericksburg, Culpeper, Warrenton, Charlottesville, etc. to be anything but charming large towns or small cities, and yet they all have a "downtown." Why can't we?

  12. Bico- because our "downtown" is fake! And only 2 blocks across!

  13. Reston Town Center is not a part of Reston-- never has – no business, or resident pays RA Assessments...

    "...Although it is described as a New Town, Reston is in fact not an incorporated town but is a common-interest property owners association administered by the Reston Association (RA). Among its tasks are the management and maintenance of the 14 common areas and design review and enforcement of covenants within a specific geographic area, which is spelled out in the Reston Deed of Dedication.

    Reston Town Center is in a separate district, which is why RA has no jurisdiction over any of the properties in the Reston Town Center District.

    Any resident of the Town Center can use Reston Association facilities and services by purchasing memberships. Call 703-435-6530 or go on-line at for more information.

    Reston Town Center District is a separate area that is subject to its own legal documents and governed by its own Association. Although it complements the other areas of Reston, it is completely independent of the Reston Association. Begun by Reston Land Corporation in 1987, the District was created to provide a mixed use downtown for Reston. The Urban Core area, with its multi-screen theater, shops, restaurants, fountain, wintertime ice-skating rink, park and businesses, was consciously designed to bring an urban flavor and excitement to the community. The Town Center District has grown steadily to include major employers, new retail opportunities and a variety of housing choices. Information about the Town Center and a current calendar of Town Center events can be accessed at


  14. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonNovember 23, 2009 at 4:41 PM

    Maybe what we really need in this discussion is a song to cheer everyone up. So, with apologies to the immortal Ol' Blue Eyes and the classic film "On The Town":

    "On The Town (Center)" -- as sung by Cathy Hudgins, Robin Smyers, and Milt Matthews, vice Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Jules Munshin

    Reston, Reston, it's a wonderful town
    North Point's up and South Lakes' down
    The Silver Line's just a hole in the ground
    Reston, Reston, it's a wonderful town

  15. The previous comment is absurd. Yeah, technically RTC is not part of RA, but it is RESTON, idiot.

  16. So, is Reston Town Center a city in side the city boundaries of Reston City?

    What are the boundaries of both cities anyways?

    If Reston Town Center is a different city, why do people complain if they decide to build an Arlington style city there?

  17. Well -- I appreciate the person getting personal with name calling (a true intellectual)-- but, the matter stands...

    While RTC is located in Reston (I'll give you that,) it still enjoys all the priviledges and access to the items we pay assessments for.

    Restonians will soon pay over $500/year in assessments to maintain the paths, parks, lakes, and infrastructure while they pay nothing -- never have, never will. Wow they have to pay the same fees we pay for pool and tennis court passes -- OUCH...

    Might as well call Herndon, Vienna, or even Great Falls a part of Reston...

    I like what RTC brings to the area; I prefer they join our community, and all of us take advantage of the economies of scale in terms of needed revenue to maintain our community and village centers.

  18. heck --- might as well call Plaza America downtown -- same model as RTC...

  19. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)November 25, 2009 at 10:26 AM

    Cheesy/gawdy or not Reston Town Center is still our community's most easily-identifiable "core" and SHOULD be our "downtown." I was disappointed when moving here to see that 90% of the businesses there were over-glorified (and over-priced) chains, but since "Downtown Reston" was the closest thing I could find to chic, hip, and urban within a reasonable commute of my former office in Herndon it had to be acceptable.

    I didn't mean for this to cause quite so much controversy, but when you come from the Northeast it's hard to get used to calling your community's downtown "town center." It's just so awkward and impersonal, and I've never before seen people call their downtowns "town centers" anywhere besides NoVA. When someone says "downtown" to me an image is immediately conjured up in my mind of people window-shopping, walking their dogs, bumping into neighbors/friends, sidewalk sales, bistros, etc. When I think "town center" I think of yuppie morons adorned in fake tans and sunglasses at night yammering into their cell phones with every other word being "like" while scuttling mindlessly to Starbuck's.

    Doesn't Reston deserve better?

  20. Hickory Cluster knuckle dusterNovember 28, 2009 at 11:09 AM

    "When someone says "downtown" to me an image is immediately conjured up in my mind of people window-shopping, walking their dogs, bumping into neighbors/friends, sidewalk sales, bistros, etc."


    Walk down to LAke Anne on a warm spring evening and you'll see that.
    If more people like you came to the real "Town Center" and spend thier dollars there instead of on corporate dreck the world would be a better place.


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