News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Flashback Monday: How We Almost All Lived in Simon City

Screen shot 2010-04-26 at 11.29.59 AM.jpg
Please to be enjoying this picture of a young Robert E. Simon surveying his new fancy planned community, as if deciding where to plant his metallic alter-ego, from the May 8, 1966 issue of something called "The Washington Star," which may have been a "news-paper" of some sort or another. Here's what Simon had to say at the time about the naming of Reston:
That was a negotiation that took place one weekend in Martha's Vineyard between my wife and my mother--I kept far away. I wanted the name to have some relationship to me, which could be an "in" joke, so to speak. I'll tell you something amusing.... Back at home they had a habit of pulling my leg by calling this thing Simon City and we all found it very wonderfully repulsive. So the PR outfit set someone up to make the presentation of the name and choice No. 1 was... Simon City. Well this is obviously repugnant, so what they came up with were my initials, R.E.S., with the small version of town--ton--at the end of it. This gives me and my family pleasure without being an insult to the people who live there.
But then there was the faux pas of the time Simon met New York Times writer James Reston at some fancy cocktail party on Martha's Vineyard. Don't you just hate it when that happens!
One day in Martha's Vineyard we were invited out for cocktails. My friend is a writer and he had a pixie look on his face as I came in the door and I didn't know what was up.... As I came in there was a deathly hush and he said "Mr. Reston, meet Mr. Reston." We reacted identically. We each turned around and walked away from each other. We came back later, and since then I've seen him and he's a great guy and doesn't seem to mind.
This anecdote is sure to be included in the upcoming book, Real Estate Development Snaps, Bloopers and Practical Jokes.


  1. That picture looks like Albert Speer surveying imperial Berlin.

  2. Anon 1:59

    It takes a lot of hard work to confuse Lake Anne Plaza with imperial Berlin. Even squinting one's eyes almost close doesn't do it.

    Must be the recreational pharmaceuticals.

  3. Thank goodness his name wasn't Perceval Oscar Oshansky-Preston. I don't think I could ever buy a home in Poopton.

  4. More like Erich Honecker surveying Communist East Berlin...

  5. Thank goodness his name wasn't obama !

  6. It does have the soul-less look of a government-built town.

    One good thing. HOA rules will prevent the tear-down mania that's occurred with other cities along the Metro line. It will be reserved for rich developers.

  7. I disagree: I think Lake Anne Plaza has a lot of soul to it.

    RTC, now there is a soul-less corporate public space if ever there was one.

  8. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO): Soon-to-Be "Amongst the 'Hoods in Colvin Woods" and Eventually "Arlington's Sexiest Simpleton (ASS)"April 28, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    Sorry to be even more of a Debbie Downer, but I don't see the "soul" in either RTC OR Lake Anne. Lake Anne is quiet and serene, but it also gives me the aura of impending death---sort of like visiting your grandmother at a nursing home when she's already suffering from a terminal illness. You smile at her and comfort her, possibly even give her false hope, but you know in the end her days are numbered. RTC is lively, but it's filled with spoiled metrosexual poseurs from Loudoun County prancing around pretending they're in the "real city." I feel like I'm in a cartoon or a Starbuck's commercial whenever I go there to just people-watch out of loneliness. NEITHER has given Reston "soul." Want "soul?" Try Pittsburgh. Try Scranton. Try Cumberland. Try countless other nostalgic pre-WWII Rust-Belt locales that have been abandoned in droves and are rotting to the core in favor of places like NoVA, Charlotte, Sprawlanta, Tucson, OKC, etc. Winchester is a good local example of a city that truly moves me and makes me quiver inside when I walk around. I don't get that in Reston. Reston, to me, just feels like a place still trying to "find itself." It's like Pinocchio trying to someday become a "real boy." When will Reston finally hit puberty?

  9. Oh BiCO will you just freaking move already?!

  10. "There should definitely be a statue of me sitting on a bench... but where should it be... maybe over there by the lake..."

  11. Oh come on Hickory, give the poor BiCO lad a rest. Do as he suggests and go to Winchester for the quivers. But if you're a straight arrow, I guess you can't fit in BiCO's quiver.


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