News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, November 21, 2016

Flashback Monday: The Tall Oaks Playground-O-Pilings

Tall Oaks 1

Now that the Tall Oaks Stucco Wasteland Village Center is slated to be demolished and remade as a less village-centric home for Westworld-like, wall-staring CGI grannies, let us look back to a simpler time, when children would enjoy climbing, and then falling, from tastefully stained wood pilings, over and over again, until brain damage commenced. Wheee!


You'll notice that the storefronts had no signs, presumably because the stucco nirvana was still under construction when this vivid Kodakchrome photo was taken, then mailed off to be developed in a "photo lab," whatever that was, and then mailed back to be displayed on a wall to bored relatives using a "slide projector," whatever that was. But the point is that Tall Oaks was pretty empty looking. PAST IS PROLOGUE.

Tall Oaks 2

Now it's open in this picture -- you can tell by the tastefully earth-toned sign nestled between the stucco pillars at the right, almost indistinguishable to passersby, much like Tall Oaks as a whole is/was to frantic Wiehle Avenue drivers. And as you can tell, Tall Oaks was bustling. Maybe they needed a rad concert or two to start packing the crowds in.

Tall Oaks 3

Awww, cute. The boy in the front is clearly the enforcer, his wary gaze warning the photographer to stop documenting the mugging clearly taking place right behind him. But if you look in the background, you can see two things: the tallest piling had a clock on it, which was probably accurate at least twice each day, and some less thuggish kids were enjoying scrambling all over the remaining pylons, even though the Reston playground material of choice -- concrete -- was conspicuously absent.

No word as to whether the threat of personal injury lawsuits or changing tastes was the impetus for removing this wooden paradise at some point during the go-go 70s or 80s, maybe? But the good news is that, as part of the expansive open space we can avail ourselves of once the Tall Oaks redevelopment is complete, we'll be able to go back to the future with another wooden play installation -- this time, featuring horizontal and vertical beams, but not nearly as much vertical "ups," as the kids today no longer say, to tempt fate.

Play Area

NANNY STATE. Not a single one of those stock image kids is even being remotely menacing. We blame the lack of repeated drops onto brick pavers for their docility, the end.

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