Looking good for 98 years old! I read somewhere he attributes longevity to a gin martini every day. I only wish wine would have such a good effect on me.
Born in 1914, Robert E Simon used proceeds from his family's sale of Carnegie Hall in NY to purchase land 18 miles from Washington DC in Northern Virginia. He had a somewhat utopian ideal for the community that would eventually emerge. Such vision and commitment! But also it had to be a financially viable venture. He intended it to be a place that would be diverse in terms of race and income level, somewhere everyone could live, work and play without commuting. Plenty of open space had to be conserved. Artists would come. These were radical ideas for suburban New Town planning in 1961. No strictly middle class enclave of cookie cutter houses, Reston.
It's worked out pretty well, considering the choppy waters that have flowed under the bridge since then. More on that maybe another time. Back to Mr Simon. Here he sits cast in bronze and wearing his trademark hat outside the bookstore at Lake Anne, the area deemed "historic Reston" to our amusement as Europeans, and where his plans first began to take shape. He lives here now in the end years of his life in the high rise apartment building on the right, overlooking the lake and with a birds-eye-view of his legacy..... the eclectic mix of concerts, organic markets, ukulele festivals and the like that we enjoy throughout the year thanks to him.
Robert E Simon at Lake Anne in the '60s.