The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #74

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A reader writes:

Awesome! It's clearly from the East Bay looking across the bay! Mt. Tamalpais, housing style, and of course the fog all support that. Cranes and tall office buildings: it's on the outskirts of Oakland, looking over the harbor.  This is an easy one, so I'll have to hurry to beat the hordes of correct answers that will be pouring in over the next hour or so.

Another isn't as confident:

OK, I'm convinced this is Portland.  But I can't pin it down because… where are the pine trees??  But if it is, I'm going to say NW Portland. But then, I kept thinking … let's try someplace in the news with few evergreens: Nashville?  Does Nashville even have a mountain nearby? How about Denver?  No, the mountain is too small.  I'm lost, but I'm taking a stab. Oakland? Nah, too few buildings and no palm trees.  OK, Portland, yes … Portland.  Final answer.


It was either the Pacific Northwest or Scandinavia this week, and I didn't think the buildings looked old enough for any of the classic Viking towns. Having lived in Seattle for a brief time a while back, I immediately thought of Puget sound. I went ahead and scanned around for red-roofed houses in the vicinity. This is the part where someone is always better than me, having missed out by a few houses in the past (or a few towns over, in the case of Libya). So I'm going to go with 344 N 4th Street in Tacoma, Washington. And now I'm suddenly thirsty for an Oly stubby

A sharp detour:

I lived for three years in Almaty, Kazakhstan and this looks a lot like the view from the Kok-Tobe area of the city.  With the oil boom, there has been a ton of construction since I left in 2004, so it is hard to recognize for sure. However, the sloping terrain with mountains, old-Soviet style buildings and new construction lead me to think the photo is taken from one of the bedroom communities that have sprouted up on the slopes of the Ala-Tau mountains south of Almaty.

For what it is worth, Almaty was a delightful place to live.  It is a very livable city with quick access to outdoor activities.  We used to have a Niva, a Russian jeep, that we would take up to the mountains for skiing in the winter and hikes in the summer.  The people are wonderful as well – a very nice mix of Kazakh and Russian populations.  The government is corrupt as hell and autocratic to boot, but you can't get everything!


I have no idea how people find the energy for long searches for their answers, though they may get closer than me since I's stabbing in the dark.  But, it seems like Astoria, Oregon to me … near the home where Mikey and the other Goonies are trying to save when they find Chester Copperpot's treasure map.

Here's a teaser of the house where the photo was taken, which many readers sent similar images of:


Exact address to follow. Another guess:

My guess is Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. The houses look NZ or Tasmania-ish, and the cars appear to be driving on the left. The mountains in the background look like Mt Wellington. And it's raining, which is pretty typical for Tassie.


Piece of cake! Wellington, New Zealand. Photo taken from the suburb of Thorndon.  That's Mt Victoria in the distance. The Law School, with its distinctive architecture, is the building with the red roof beyond the park.  To the left of the cranes in the distance is one of the lights from the "Cake Tin", as the local rugby stadium is known.

I would guess that this was taken near Grant Road and Wadestown Road, just below the town belt.  I could spend more time improving on this, but I'll content myself with looking forward to Tuesday, when I can read all the interesting anecdotes about the city that I was lucky enough to call home for three years.  I left two and a half years ago to go on my "OE", or Overseas Experience, as we Kiwi twentysomethings call our working holidays abroad, but while I am loving my adopted home of Berlin, Wellington, despite the short period of time I lived there, is the place I call home. Oh to be sitting in a cafe on Cuba St right now enjoying a long black!!

Dozens of readers correctly answered the New Zealand capital. One labels the sites in sight:



This is obviously Wellington, given the terrible weather. Wellington is an absolute nightmare of a place, with appalling wind and rain and a dreadfully grim microclimate, perhaps because it is the nations capital and someone didn’t want our politicians staying there too long.

Unfortunately the deluded in Wellington believe in the unbelievably trite "You cant Bustedtees.2b1fc809c6ff7b2f73e3dff68822e232beat Wellington on a good day" – which happens about twice a year, and can easily be beaten by numerous other places in New Zealand. Wellington’s marketing slogan is Absolutely Positively Wellington, and they spend an awful lot of money on it trying to convince themselves Wellington is not terrible. Wellington conforms nicely to the theory that a place has to spend money promoting itself in amounts inversely proportional to its quality.

Apart from the grim, grey weather, the photo easily identifies Wellington by the stadium on the left, Westpac Stadium, known as the Cake Tin, or Wellington Regional Stadium by the clowns at the International Rugby Board during the recent world cup where all stadia had to be handed over to them clean so they could make a killing on reselling commercial rights to other companies. By the looks of things the photo is take from Newman Tce, Thordon, Wellington. The view is across thordon to the CBD, and you can see the Beehive, a hideous monstrosity of a building that serves as part of parliamentary complex.


Wellington houses are all built from weatherboard because right at the foot of this street is the Wellington Fault, which one day will move giving Wellingtonians the earthquake they have been expecting for a while, and wooden-framed and clad houses have a lot better chance than brick or similar. When Wellington does get shaken up, people are expecting all the flat land down below to tilt back under the water  taking with it the NZ Parliament and most government departments.  Some New Zealanders would not be too upset if that happened.


So this is either really embarrassing and I am so homesick that I am superimposing my home country on your view of the day, or it's hilly Wellington. I am writing from rural West Africa (yay Nigeria!) where internet bandwidth is very 2002. Fun Wellington fact: This city is earthquake central. The Terrace, which is banking HQ of our tiny country, is ON the fault line. And fun Auckland fact: that damn island in the harbour is a LIVE volcano. New Zealand is lovely – come buy a house and run away from the recession … but insurance might be recommended.


Damn this is a picture that everyone from Wellington will get in a moment and it shows beautiful New Zealand at its ugliest and shabbiest. The main clue that this is Wellington is the dismal weather. In the background you can see the southern end of the Wellington regional stadium where many games were played during the recent Rugby World Cup, won by New Zealand's awesome All Blacks:

Behind the stadium are the Hurry Cranes, named after the local rugby team, the Hurricanes, who are based at the stadium, and whose players are the best All Blacks.


I was in Wellington in December 2007, and stayed in the downtown area near the National Library of New Zealand and Parliament, in Pipitea.  I believe this view is from just north of there, looking southeast across Wellington and the harbor to Shelly Bay. I could sure go for a flat white and a lamington's right now.


There's something very special about a hilly city on a bay.  Places like Capetown, Valparaiso, and San Francisco all have their magic.  From what I can tell, Wellington has a similar atmosphere and I've always wanted to visit.  It's supposed to be a vibrant place for its size.

On to the exact address:

The trees look like a temperate climate but the leaves show no signs of yellow so it must be spring rather than fall. The combination of the English style houses and the dramatic Screen shot 2011-11-01 at 8.59.50 AMhill across the waterway made me start with New Zealand. I tried Auckland first but it looked too flat. Wellington had the hill across the bay but I couldn't find the right view at first. I could see the shipping area and light stanchions from the stadium but I couldn't get the view to line up with the high-rises pictured. I was looking from too far south at the larger neighborhoods uphill from downtown. Then I finally found Newman Terrance and new I had the right location. Then the power went out. It was Saturday evening, now its Tuesday and we just got it back on, just in time!  I'm scrambling a little but I'm sure it was taken from #36 Newman Terrace, the white house with the blue roof at the top of the hill. The house with the red roof is #34.  Here's the google earth view from that location that matches the VFYW.  Whew.


Googling 36 Newman Street, Thorndon, Wellington brings me to this real estators page, with the bottom image showing the living room and the orange-tiled house in front, so this week's image has been taken from: The right-hand living room window from the last house on the right (number 36) at the top of Newman Terrace which may also have zig-zag (stepped footpath) access to Wadestown Road above. If I'm lucky enough to be close to a tie-break, I hope that my birthday falling on the Tuesday 1st of November (the closing date of the competition) is enough to sway someone's heart!

Happy birthday!  But the address was just a hair off. From the submitter:

Thanks for using my photo for this week's competition! I thought it might be useful to flesh out the details of the photo, so you can select a winner.  The picture is taken from Piri Weepu_Bvlthe 1st floor (2nd if you are American) of 34 Newman Terrace, Thorndon, Wellington – my in-laws' house.  It is looking out across the city and the harbour towards Mount Victoria, which is shrouded in mist in the background.  Not untypically for Wellington – one of the four windiest capital cities in the world – the weather is not great.

My wife – whose home town it is – and I lived there in the 1990s.  (Originally I am a Brit of Andrew's vintage from Abingdon, now based in DC.)  We were visiting there last week for the rugby world cup, and I took the shot on the morning of the 23rd, before flying to Auckland to see the All Blacks narrowly edge out France in the final.  Here – completely gratuitously – is a shot of Piri Weepu, New Zealand's scrum half; that is some impressive beardage.

Of the dozen or so readers who correctly answered "34 Newman Terrace", two have gotten difficult windows in the past without winning, so two readers get the prize this week. One writes:

Although I've never been south of the equator, this scene looked antipodean to me, and as there seemed to be dockside cranes in the background, I checked out the harbour areas of Sydney, Melbourne, and Auckland, none of which turned out to have hills like the one seen in the background of the competition image. When I looked at Wellington, I spotted the stadium as well as the hill with the correct profile. The satellite dish pointing towards the photographer near the centre of the image indicated that if it was in the southern hemisphere, the view was looking south. Taking this clue, by lining up the stadium and dock cranes, I narrowed it down to a rough area and then looked for an orange roof of the correct shape with a blue-roofed house nearby, which I found after a short search on Google Maps.

The identification of the specific window was more challenging. It's clearly high a elevation, but Newman Terrace appears to be on a very steep slope. With Google Maps, Bing Maps, and Google Streetview, I believe that I've identified the window, as labelled in one of the attached images. I ruled out the ground/street level windows, and believe that it's taken from the upper floor. Sightlines of features that were aligned in the competition image were found to converge on quite a small spot. Although it's tempting to go for the prominent bay window visible in Google Streetview, it appears that the photo was either taken from the extreme right hand edge of that window as seen in Streetview, or from the window directly under the roof's ridge line. Because of the alignment of the roof tiles on the adjacent house, I've decided to opt for the smaller window, labelled.

In the distance on the left can be seen the Westpac Stadium, at which key games of the recent Rugby World Cup took place, including Wales's quarterfinal win over Ireland on October 8th.

A schematic from the other winner: