Vfyw

by Chris Bodenner

A reader writes:

With a canal and boats between rows of houses, this can only be Venice or Los Angeles. I’m going to go with the latter because that’s the only place I have visited, having lived in LA for many years. To narrow down the location, I’ll just say that the picture was taken from a place close to Dell Ave., between the Venice Blvd and Washington Blvd intersections.

Another writes:

Hmm. Water lapping up to the first level of homes. The street inundated with water, impassable by anything but boats. No subway stations visible. I’m guessing it’s somewhere in Brooklyn. On Monday morning.

Another:

You gave us a picture of canals to entertain us during the flash-floods, right? I only wish the view out my own window (Somerville, MA) didn’t look so much like this one right now… No way I have a winning guess, because I can’t do specifics, but I’m sure this is a canal in Bruges, Belgium.

Another:

I don’t know the exact location, but it kiiiinda looks like the River Liffey. Wild guess. I was in Dublin for only a week, and I don’t remember any houseboats, and those look like houseboats, but I’m not going to research this one. I have to get ready for my fantasy football draft!

Another:

I was too lazy to respond to the Budapest contest some weeks ago, assuming there would be many correct answers. Amazingly there were none. So since I missed out on the contest in the town I live in, I now want to make sure I don’t miss the place I moved to Budapest from. So my guess is Little Venice, in London (specifically Blomfield Road, looking west).

Another:

Over the years I think I’ve wandered along every waterway and walkway in Venice and, since nothing in this photo looks familiar, my guess is any place but Venice. On the other hand, if it is Venice, please disregard the first sentence and accept the area near the Ghetto in the Cannaregio district as my answer.

Another:

The canals here don’t look Venetian. The architecture reminds me of Amsterdam, but I think that might be too obvious. Plus, when I was there a few summers back, I didn’t come across any of these houseboat-y things. So with any luck, it’s a location off the beaten path. Delft, The Netherlands?

Another:

That looks like a canal in Amsterdam! My memory of the area is hazy (must have been all the coffee from the coffee shops), but I know it when I see it.

Another who correctly answered Amsterdam:

Easiest one yet, but I have no idea about the specific window.

Another:

Last week’s contest was tough on us, but we are no doubt getting our revenge as you wade through hundreds of Amsterdam guesses.

Indeed. Another:

This is only my second time entering the contest, but I think I have a shot. I’m currently bunkered down, weathering out the hurricane, so despite the late hour, I couldn’t help but keep searching for the location of this week’s window. After some serious digging, I think I’ve figured it out … clearly a city famous for its canal houseboats. Definitely not Venice and certainly not Erie. My guess is Amsterdam. The city has a lot of canals and a lot of houseboats, so where exactly is this photo located? I spent a long time on Bing Maps and on Google looking for the exact right location. I finally settled on the houseboats off of Binnenkant Road in central Amsterdam

Amsterdam_photo

Another:

Okay, so I immediately recognized Amsterdam. And I wondered what was the catch. I mean, did you really want to wade through hundreds of e-mails with “Amsterdam” in the subject line to find the one that pinpointed the exact window, along with a funny/romantic/embarrassing story to make it interesting?

But I was game, so I wandered around a bit on Google, looking for canals that had houseboats, especially the rectangular arks, on both sides of the canal, then checking for the red brick buildings with the distinctive roof line. Prinsengracht looked promising. Then I noticed that in my wanderings the name of the city had changed to Jordaan. Wikipedia tells me that it’s a district in Amsterdam, not a separate city, but I thought what the hell, maybe that’s the catch I was looking for. I still didn’t find the exact spot, but I’ve spent enough time looking so I’m going to go with one of the larger canals in Jordaan. Probably won’t win me the book, but if I’m close enough to right it might count in a tie-breaker in the future.

Another:

This is unmistakably Amsterdam! It is a house boat that is either right on the Amstel River or on a canal right off that river. We took a photo from a boat tour of canals and the Amstel River:

IMG_0976

I love the flowers all along the boat! I knew when I saw the photo that I had seen that exact houseboat. When I checked our photos there it was! Our photo is taken from the opposite view point – we are looking up toward the river (I think) and the “view from the window” is looking down the canal (I think). Amsterdam is one of our favorite European cities. We have been taking our daughter there since she was six years old.

Another:

Amsterdam, Netherlands! My guess is based on my recession obsession with House Hunters International on HGTV. I fantasize about picking up and moving to someplace exotic whilst also being very thankful that my husband and I have jobs a safe place to live and can afford all of those wonderful extras for our kids, dance, swimming, soccer. But the show is cathartic and the Amsterdam episode was great.

Several readers mentioned that episode. Another:

House in the canal,
Architecture alongside,
Must be Amsterdam!

(Bonus points for answering in haiku?)

Another:

There aren’t all that many canals that allow houseboats, especially on both sides. This one feels to me like it’s on the west side of the city, and it has many 19th-century buildings along it but not, as far as I can see, any 17th-century ones. Therefore I will rule out the Brouwersgracht, the Prinsengracht, the Keizersgracht and the Herengracht. I don’t think it’s the Lijnbaansgracht, either – I know that pretty well, and the buildings are very uniform. Also, this canal is wider. I thought it was the Marnixkade but there are only boats on one side of that. Ack! I am running out of options.

OK, I’m going to go for either the Prinsengracht on the west side, which has at least some 19th-century buildings, or the Nieuwe Prinsengracht on the east side. If only I were in Amsterdam now, I could just ride my bike to these places and check …

Another:

It’s definitely in the Amsterdam area. I just cruised through most of the canals there, thanks to the wonders of Google. Mini vacation, should have done all this research while at least sitting on a stationary bicycle. Can’t make up my mind though as to which gracht is “the one”, as sometimes there are those pesky trees in the way to make identification hard for the impatient and the not-so resourceful. So I will go with Prinsengracht to make this short (and to finally get some sleep. Spent enough time on this as it is. Damn you for putting up a challenge one cannot resist!)

Another:

Much love for Amsterdam. My partner of ten years and I keep going back. It was our first real trip together and, as far as I’m concerned, Amsterdam is one of the most romantic cities in the world. Perhaps it was the company that made it so romantic for me, but the canals and the restaurants and the people surely played a part.

Another:

My husband and I took a trip to Amsterdam about two years ago. It was in early February and was very cold. We walked through the red light district, visited coffee shops, the Heineken brewery, and ate breakfast at Barney’s (which is perhaps one of the best breakfast joints in Amsterdam). I had the Irish breakfast and my husband had the Champagne breakfast and the rest was a blur. Amsterdam is quite beautiful with its maze of canals and boats. I will have to guess that this picture was taken from a houseboat on the Brouwersgracht canal in the famous Jordaan area. (Brouwersgracht means “brewers’ canal.” I read that its name derived from the many breweries that lined its banks in the 17th and 18th centuries.)

By the way, we were told that it was dangerous to swim in the canals due to the many bicycles that have been thrown in there, either because of drunkenness, madness, or sheer ecstasy.

From a “prior winner, who is enjoying his copy of the book”:

The third possible intersection I found on Google Maps proved to be the correct location. The large building is the Osira Bernard nursing home. The rental houseboat from which the picture was taken is moored across from 2 Jacob van Lennepkade. Streetview confirmed the details of the adjacent wood-colored houseboat and showed the very window from which the picture must have been taken:

Image (1)

About two dozen readers also answered the houseboat at the intersection of Jacob van Lennepkade and Nassaukade. Three of them have guessed difficult windows in the past but didn’t win. Two of those readers have played the contest just once before. The third, and the winner this week, has been playing from the beginning and has gotten several windows:

Screen shot 2011-08-30 at 12.51.31 PM

Red arrows: window through which the picture was taken (top) or the the location of the houseboat (bottom). My husband used to live in the house indicated by the yellow arrow for three years. My sister-in-law also lived on this street with two of her ex-boyfriends, so we refer to this street as the exen kade. Despite all this, I (lowly American) was the one who pinpointed the location. Ha.

I realize there will be many angry readers out there, given the high number of precise and wonderful entries that didn’t garner the prize. But just know that the selection process can be really difficult and that all accurate answers to difficult windows are recorded for future reference. Thanks to everyone for their efforts.

By the way, from the reader who submitted the photo:

Your recent View From Your Window contest (#64, Cannes, France) was a bit difficult, and you promised an easier one next week. Well, you can’t get any easier than this: Amsterdam. Specifically, the view is from the first houseboat at the north side of the canal at the intersection of Jacob van Lennepkade and Nassaukade. (Here is a Google link.) The picture was taken at around 6:40 am on 7/3/11, facing east. I was in Amsterdam attending an international conference on lung cancer.

But of course, you don’t need a reason to be in Amsterdam. Amsterdam itself is reason enough.

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