A reader writes:
Hmm, the cars, trees, and housing stock say Northeast or Midwest. It’s also the 10th anniversary of 9/11 this weekend. This is New York City, isn’t it? Well it’s obviously not Manhattan, but that doesn’t really narrow things down much, since the other four boroughs all have areas that could look like this. I guess I’ll go with a guess in Queens, which is the borough that most looks like this scene. If only I could figure out what that hospital in the background on the right is…
I think that reddish brown building in the distance is UMass Boston in Dorchester.
The cars on the right side of the road indicate we’re in America, and the style of dormer window suggests we’re somewhere in the mid-Atlantic. Based on the lack of high-rise buildings, the gold dome in the top right is almost certainly the State House in Trenton, New Jersey.
But where in Trenton? A bit of Google Earth searching leads me to the new Jefferson School building, more specifically the Evans Avenue facade next to the parking lot entrance. There is exactly one house on that block of Evans Avenue with a tree in the front yard (seen at the left of the photo), the sixth house in from the Brunswick Avenue end of the block. Unfortunately, the lack of Street View on that block prevents me from getting closer, but my amateur google-fu suggests that it’s 90 Evans Avenue, Trenton, NJ, and the height at which the photo is taken suggests we’re looking out the third floor window.
Of course, someone else probably got to this more quickly and has a photo of the window with helpful arrows and such, so I won’t get the book. But my creeper quotient for the week has been filled, and I’m proud of myself for getting it right.
The tall red building in the back on the left looks suspiciously like the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota. While I don’t have the time nor the skill that most VFYW pros do, a quick scan of google maps suggests this photo was taken from a house near 8th and 3rd street NW.
One of those Views where I feel like I’ve been there before, but without a telltale sign that would help me narrow it down. I’m pretty sure we are in the North East or Mid-Atlantic states, near a college, and in a town with about 100,000 people or so. Burlington, Rochester, Framingham, Binghamton, or State College all seem sort of possible, but I’m going with the too large Syracuse against my better judgment out of loyalty to a friend who teaches at the university – and because there may be an orange dome-like structure on that far brick building – which fits with the school colors. More importantly, given that I have no hope of a direct hit, it is geographically central to my other possible guesses, and I’m limiting my potential mileage losses in the household contest. My wife is going with State College, PA.
Okay, now I think you’re just being cute. That’s Andrew’s window in Adams-Morgan, isn’t it? I don’t even know that building in the background, but I feel like I’ve seen it in northwest DC somewhere on a visit. Anyway, if I’m right, welcome back from P-town…
Thanks, but still in Provincetown. Another:
Without verifying with Google, I was instantly struck at how much that VFYW resembles my hometown of Greensburg, PA. The streets, the streetlamps, the tightly bundled homes with ample trees and rolling hills, and what sure as hell looks like Westmoreland Hospital on top of the hill in the background. I’m pretty sure that it can’t be that – I don’t remember the last time you feature a view from a town of 14,000 – but I’d say we’re looking out from on office window at Seton Hill University in Greensburg. In any event, it made me nostalgic and excited to be quitting DC for a weekend to get home and see the folks.
Pennsylvania it is. Another:
Finally, my hometown!
Using the gold tower of Western Pennsylvania Hospital as a guide, you realize that the picture was taken from north of the hospital. The only building that is tall enough in the area to take the picture is the new Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. The picture was taken from its Faculty Pavilion. Given the height of the tree, my guess is on the 7th floor. There are so many departments (Safe Kids, Otolarynology, Pediatric Dentistry) – I’m not sure which office – so my official answer is:
7th Floor, Faculty Pavilion, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, 4401 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224
If you follow the link and click three clicks to the left, you will find the building in the picture, 4520 Penn Avenue. One click to the right will show you an entrance to Allegheny Cemetery. The tree in the picture is in the far corner of Allegheny Cemetery, final resting place of Stephen Foster.
Thanks so much for including Pittsburgh in VFYW!
I lived in Pittsburgh for 11 years, so there are far too many stories to tell. The first thing I thought of, though, was that this is right next door to two huge cemeteries that we used to hang out in. In Pittsburgh, the cemeteries function as parks – I’ve had many dates in those cemeteries, eating take-out thai food and drinking beer from the pizza shop down the street. We once had a midnight punk show on a secluded hill, and after the groundskeeper got tired of trying to keep people out, he started giving rides to people who couldn’t find the spot. The cemetery is huge – it’s about half the size of central park - and I miss it so much!
Another sends an image of the children’s hospital:
I’ve been trying to guess your contest for a long time. Occasionally I was able to get as close as a specific city. Sometimes my best guess was along the lines of “probably somewhere in Asia. ” I never sent an entry in; figure I’d wait until I can get a little more precise.
Turns out this week’s window is a quarter mile from my home. It’s in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood. Specifically, the Children’s Hospital of UPMC Faculty Pavilion building. The view is looking southeast from the window shown. The large building on the horizon is the Western Pennsylvania hospital.
I was born in the former St. Francis Hospital which stood on this same site. This was the first impression I had of Pittsburgh some 40+ years ago, beginning a lifelong infatuation with the city.
The big building on the right horizon is the Western Pennsylvania Hospital – birthplace of my three beautiful daughters. I am so excited to finally get a VFYW, and as an expat far from home it’s nice to see my hometown. If I were there now I would walk down to Ritters Diner and get something to eat; I’m hungry.
I have spent way too much time staring out of the windows of Children’s while my three-year-old daughter was having and recovering from heart surgery (all went well and she’s like new now).
It saddens me that your reader is most likely at Ronald McDonald House under unfortunate circumstances. I hope all is well soon. For some comfort, I suggest your reader travel west on Penn Av just a few blocks to Primanti Brothers, where they put the french fries and cole slaw right on the sandwich. It sounds a bit weird, but it’s great.
No one who correctly guessed the children’s hospital has gotten a difficult window in the past, so the winner this week is the reader who crafted the most detailed and informed entry:
The golden dome of the Western Pennsylvania Hospital in the background is easily recognizable for anyone in Pittsburgh, so I’m betting you’ll get a lot of entries. There’s no way I’m going to beat the competition and win the coffee table book just based links to the Google map, so I’d better try to win you over with some analysis of the political and economic significance of the objects in the photo.
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (now independent of the university) runs the children’s hospital, along with most of the other hospitals in the city. The building with the golden dome dominating the skyline is one of their few remaining competitors, the Western Pennsylvania Hospital. In response to the collapse of the steel industry, Pittsburgh has transitioned from a city manufacturing goods for export to a city that survives by providing services to the region. Health care and education are two of those services, and the city’s hospitals and universities are major employers. This is best illustrated by the fact that the former U.S. Steel building, the tallest building downtown, is now adorned with a big UPMC sign.
Pittsburgh has a conflicted relationship with UPMC. On the one hand, the company is a key to the city’s new economy, a big employer, and they run the best and biggest hospitals in the region. On the other hand, they don’t hesitate to throw their weight around as a profit-making company. They closed down an unprofitable hospital in a poor neighborhood, cutting jobs and making it harder for people in the area to access healthcare. They’re building new facilities, hiring at existing ones, forcing their competitors to scale back and specialize, and strengthening their ties with independent doctors’ offices.
Most recently UPMC proposed plans to offer their own health insurance program and kicked off a dispute with the Highmark health insurance company about whether UPMC hospitals will accept Highmark insurance. These actions leave UPMC balancing percariously on two axes, between vigorous free market competition and crushing monopolization, and between profitable business and vital public service. If you could figure out whether or not the size and influence UPMC in Pittsburgh is a good thing you could probably answer most of the pressing questions about healthcare in the United States.
By the way, from the guy who took the photo:
This looks out onto the Bloomfield section of Pittsburgh with West Penn Hospital the reddish building to the right. This is the one that I think might be better. In any case, these were taken from the 6th floor of the faculty pavillion at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in Lawrenceville, PA. These were taken this summer. To be specific, these were taken from the lunch break/kitchen area.