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Old 06-01-2010, 08:28 PM
 
3,164 posts, read 6,134,360 times
Reputation: 1264

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RestonRunner86 View Post
Sadly your own analysis is spot-on. For many singles this area isn't really that enjoyable. Anonymous703 is my former neighbor, who lived directly across the street from me in Reston. He's not much older than me. The difference? He's coupled, so he and his better half have twice the earning capacity I do with comparable fixed expenditures, which means while they may not "love" Reston at least they can "enjoy" it to some extent. I've watched in amazement as so many of my peers who moved here single coupled up so quickly, and in some cases I do wonder if it was for financial reasons instead of just purely for love. The median household income in this area is over $100,000. I don't know a whole lot of singles besides attorneys, executives, physicians, etc. who command such salaries on their own. However, I do know many singles who make $60,000-$80,000 salaries. Combined with a spouse making that same amount? BAM! That's one high-earning couple (and with so many couples like that in the area, housing prices are being targeted towards them---not singles).

I know of people who do room with others even in far-flung Reston or Herndon, and none are very happy with their living arrangements. I am quite envious of peers of mine who live in urban neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Harrisburg, earn a similar salary to what I command, and live in 1-BR apartments in safe neighborhoods of each of those cities (comfortably, may I add) while I can barely tread water financially over 20 miles outside the city in DC. I'm just asking myself "is it worth it to pay more to live in Reston than in Philadelphia or Baltimore?", and increasingly I'm drawing a blank, not knowing how chain restaurants and parking lots equate to a better quality-of-life. I cringe to think that on my salary I could be living in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill, Philly's Manayunk, Midtown Harrisburg, or Little Italy in Baltimore. Here? I get Reston. It just doesn't add up to me. If I'm going to struggle and sacrifice, then where is the "payoff?" My one friend is a financial advisor in Pittsburgh. On a similar salary she's living in the heart of the city. Another friend is a political analyst in Harrisburg. He's living in a historic rowhome near to thriving nightlife. I just benchmark myself to them, smell the curry in my hallway, look at the chain restaurants all around me, and hear booming car stereos and wonder "so when can I match their quality-of-life here in NoVA?" I simply can't answer that question.
It's amazing that you have so many friends who live in all those cool places for only $1,100 a month for a one bedroom apartment! Wow! They really know how to find the right place to live. Maybe they could help you to do the same so that you don't have to spend another two years in such an awful place like Reston! Two years is long enough for anyone to be forced to live there. From what you say, there is no place worse, and you're stuck in that hell hole for yet another year!

I was never a huge fan of Reston but you have totally convinced me that you have chosen a horrible place to live, (although I do love the smell of curry). How awful for you that you have just signed up to spend ANOTHER year in Reston! You have my deepest sympathies. I'd NEVER live where you live. You've made it sound worse than Dante's third circle of hell!
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:31 PM
 
3,164 posts, read 6,134,360 times
Reputation: 1264
>>>Do you mean to tell me that the only reason why people are expected to pay so much to live in Reston is so that they can have a short commute time? Why is so much emphasis in this area placed upon work?<<<
Because they have to work to live? And prefer a short commute so that they spend more time with their families and doing what they want rather than sitting in a car? Just a guess.
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
1,430 posts, read 3,494,357 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RestonRunner86 View Post
I know of people who do room with others even in far-flung Reston or Herndon, and none are very happy with their living arrangements. I am quite envious of peers of mine who live in urban neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Harrisburg, earn a similar salary to what I command, and live in 1-BR apartments in safe neighborhoods of each of those cities (comfortably, may I add) while I can barely tread water financially over 20 miles outside the city in DC. I'm just asking myself "is it worth it to pay more to live in Reston than in Philadelphia or Baltimore?", and increasingly I'm drawing a blank, not knowing how chain restaurants and parking lots equate to a better quality-of-life. I cringe to think that on my salary I could be living in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill, Philly's Manayunk, Midtown Harrisburg, or Little Italy in Baltimore. Here? I get Reston. It just doesn't add up to me. If I'm going to struggle and sacrifice, then where is the "payoff?" My one friend is a financial advisor in Pittsburgh. On a similar salary she's living in the heart of the city. Another friend is a political analyst in Harrisburg. He's living in a historic rowhome near to thriving nightlife. I just benchmark myself to them, smell the curry in my hallway, look at the chain restaurants all around me, and hear booming car stereos and wonder "so when can I match their quality-of-life here in NoVA?" I simply can't answer that question.
Ok I've been to Pittsburgh enough times to tell you that there is a reason your friend lives right in the heart of the city on the same salary (aside from the fact that Pgh is losing population)...there is NOTHING in downtown. Seriously, other than a few restaurants that cater to the working crowd who also bolt for every bridge and tunnel out of that place in the evening, the sidewalks are rolled up at 5. There is a cool vibe in Shadyside but then again it contains a large number of upscale chain stores like Banana Republic, Gap, J. Crew, etc.

Also, you're doing that thing again where you compare a suburb like Reston that has been around a whole 40 years to major cities that have been around for hundreds of years. It makes zero sense to say "Here? I get Reston"...especially considering that despite your salary, you could technically live in any urban part of this metropolitan region.

Last edited by NOVAmtneer82; 06-01-2010 at 08:52 PM..
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:32 AM
 
7,968 posts, read 18,096,359 times
Reputation: 2597
Let's get back to discussing the merits of NOVA/DC vs. the Atlanta metro.
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:46 AM
 
8,468 posts, read 13,659,754 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RestonRunner86 View Post
Here in DC even 25 miles outside the city rent prices remain comparable to prices in the city.
I have to disagree. I've been looking at a lot of apartment complexes throughout the DC area, both in and outside the Beltway. I definitely see a difference in price between Arlington and Reston, which is not to say that Reston is cheap. It's not. But it's pretty clear you get more for your money the further out you go. Unfortunately, even 25 miles out from the city, you still have to pay a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RestonRunner86 View Post
I really never will understand why people would be willing to pay such astronomical amounts to live in car-centric and sterile suburban areas other than just for "prestige".
In most cities, and I would hazard to guess this is true in NOVA as well, they're paying for the peace and quiet and safety that comes with suburbia and access to better schools for their kids.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RestonRunner86 View Post
Why wasn't a concerted effort ever made to more densely concentrate jobs into a more centralized employment center in this region to more successfully plan mass transit lines and build better suburbs?
This isn't necessarily a good thing. I live in a city where 90% of the jobs in my field are downtown. That's great if you can afford to live in or close to the city. But if you can't, it effectively cuts you off from a lot of the jobs, unless you're willing to put up with a bad commute. One of the reasons I've been considering moving to DC is because the jobs are spread out. So if I did have to live in the suburbs again, I'd have an easier time finding a job close to home. It's too bad Metro and similar public transit systems in other cities are only geared towards taking people to the city and not between suburbs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RestonRunner86 View Post
Do you mean to tell me that the only reason why people are expected to pay so much to live in Reston is so that they can have a short commute time? Why is so much emphasis in this area placed upon work?
Because work is a big deal. And having a short commute is a big deal. Don't underestimate the impact that long commutes have on people. I live and work in the suburbs. While my commute isn't short, it's still better than if I had to go to the city. And a lot of us are willing to pay a little extra if it means not having to spend as much time in our cars. Unlike a lot of other cities, the DC suburbs have a lot of jobs and I'm sure that's a big reason why it's so expensive out there.
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:50 AM
 
8,468 posts, read 13,659,754 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone509 View Post
Let's get back to discussing the merits of NOVA/DC vs. the Atlanta metro.
Yes, let's get back to that. This discussion has focused more on Reston than on DC as a whole. Reston is not representative of DC. It's an area that I'd potentially live in if I moved there, but it's by no means the only place I'd consider. And after hearing what life is like there, I'm not sure I'd want to move to DC if my best option were Reston.

One dimension that I'm curious to hear more about is how the two cities compare culturally. I tend to be a very laid back person. I don't really care for the hustle-and-bustle of big cities like New York and I wonder if DC will be like that. Atlanta, from what I hear, is more laid back. Things move slower there and people aren't as high strung. How true do you think that is and do you think someone with a laid-back personality will have trouble adjusting to life in DC?
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:14 PM
 
512 posts, read 1,437,540 times
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My friend I can't speak for Atlanta. As for how well you adjust just depends on you. People are right by saying D.C. is not a overly friendly place. However there are friendly people out there. I consider myself a laid-back as they come and I manage to find friends no matter where I have lived. I was in the military so maybe I had no choice, but to be friendly. Anyway, I think whatever your interested in find a social group and get out there. This is a wonderful area to be in if your single. The whole Type A type thing is true, but it depends on your field. For the most part I think you should be fine.

I can tell you that when you have a family sometimes this place can be a pain in the tail with the housing cost and the commute times. At this point in my life I would rather deal with Atlanta, cause at least I know I could probably afford a house closer to my job. That is not the case for a lot of people in D.C. area. Also consider the Maryland Suburbs as well. There is Montgomery county, Prince George's County and a host of other fine areas as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DennyCrane View Post
Yes, let's get back to that. This discussion has focused more on Reston than on DC as a whole. Reston is not representative of DC. It's an area that I'd potentially live in if I moved there, but it's by no means the only place I'd consider. And after hearing what life is like there, I'm not sure I'd want to move to DC if my best option were Reston.

One dimension that I'm curious to hear more about is how the two cities compare culturally. I tend to be a very laid back person. I don't really care for the hustle-and-bustle of big cities like New York and I wonder if DC will be like that. Atlanta, from what I hear, is more laid back. Things move slower there and people aren't as high strung. How true do you think that is and do you think someone with a laid-back personality will have trouble adjusting to life in DC?
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:18 PM
 
7,968 posts, read 18,096,359 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DennyCrane View Post
One dimension that I'm curious to hear more about is how the two cities compare culturally. I tend to be a very laid back person. I don't really care for the hustle-and-bustle of big cities like New York and I wonder if DC will be like that. Atlanta, from what I hear, is more laid back. Things move slower there and people aren't as high strung. How true do you think that is and do you think someone with a laid-back personality will have trouble adjusting to life in DC?
The stereotype of DC - which affects NOVA to a degree as well - is that "everyone" is rush-rush, eager to work overtime, and how their job relates to the Federal Government or major contractor is a badge of honor. Of course, despite appearances, not everyone works for the Feds or contractors. And if I recall correctly, you're in IT so I believe that would be relatively laid-back, as it is.

On the other hand, Atlanta is known as the "capital of the South" but once you get beyond the (even more) horrendous traffic, the attitudes are definitely more laid-back from my brief experience and anecdotal gathering.
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,588,370 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone509 View Post
The stereotype of DC - which affects NOVA to a degree as well - is that "everyone" is rush-rush, eager to work overtime, and how their job relates to the Federal Government or major contractor is a badge of honor. Of course, despite appearances, not everyone works for the Feds or contractors. And if I recall correctly, you're in IT so I believe that would be relatively laid-back, as it is.

On the other hand, Atlanta is known as the "capital of the South" but once you get beyond the (even more) horrendous traffic, the attitudes are definitely more laid-back from my brief experience and anecdotal gathering.
I'm surprised by this comment--my job is in IT, and it's very high stress. My husband works for a different company, also IT, and his is high stress as well. Did we just pick the two most stressful companies in the area?

For what it's worth, I view DC as busy. Everyone has their calendars full with work, activities, events, social things, etc. It's not all stressful--I squeeze in some volunteer work and time to go hiking or see a production down town, but it's not "laid back" in the sense that California was for me (where people would decide to leave work early on a whim to golf or surf).
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:01 PM
 
7,968 posts, read 18,096,359 times
Reputation: 2597
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
I'm surprised by this comment--my job is in IT, and it's very high stress. My husband works for a different company, also IT, and his is high stress as well. Did we just pick the two most stressful companies in the area?
Perhaps I should clarify: I didn't mean to imply that IT jobs were a cakewalk around here. I mean more in terms of having a more relaxed dress code compared to most other professions. Granted, if you have face time with people outside the office, particularly if it's government-related, that could be another story.

And yeah, this ain't California for better or worse.
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