A reader writes:
Based off of the well-concealed trucking logo, the weather report for Thursday, the architecture and the layout of the city, my best guess is that you're on Broadway Street in Missoula, Montana.
I’d like to be able to say “we don’t need no stinkin’ clues” – and I will continue to protest that you have such low expectations of your readers – but I don’t think I have got it this week, even with your help. The buildings feel very much like the Yesler / Pioneer Square area in Seattle and that would fit with the pile of containers over by the nearby port. But that giant viaduct highway (Alaskan Way?) divides the port from the downtown buildings and I don’t think Seattle has those single pole parking meters anymore either. So I’m at a loss on a specific location, and probably have the wrong city too. But it did snow in Seattle last Thursday (trapping my inlaws here in Alaska for another couple of days) so I’ll stick with this guess.
This is killing me. I lack the crazy place-hunting ability of the people that usually win these, but Seattle was drenched in snow which started to melt Thursday night. And the area looks like the converted industrial SoDo neighborhood, which I've biked through hundreds of times. I just can't find these buildings anywhere – somewhere near I-5 I guess?
I'm actually late leaving on a trip, so I don't have time to get into this photo as much as I want to. However, living in the Pacific Northwest that looks very much like my Thursday night. The city and architecture are too big to be anything but Seattle, Vancouver, Tacoma or possibly Olympia. I know Vancouver pretty well and that particular truck yard does not look familiar paired with those buildings. It could easily be Georgetown in Seattle with that architecture, but the city lights behind don't look right for Georgetown's lowland location. So I'm going with Tacoma.
My guess is Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It would be in the Warehouse District, which is along East 6th Street between Minnesota Avenue to the west and Webber Avenue to the east, with the Big Sioux River a stone's throw away:
The semi trailers in the lot are for Montgomery's Furniture, which is the big furniture chain of eastern SoDak with big storage HQ in Sioux Falls. The area is crawling with railroad over/underpasses, one of which is shown down the road. I checked with the National Weather Service climate records for Sioux Falls and that location received several inches of snow over previously bare ground, hence the "first snowfall of the season" aspect to the scene.
Of course this could be completely wrong, so there.
Incredibly this week’s view is also reminiscent of the Harmony Mills image: Lots of snow and a truck with a logo prominently in the foreground. This time I couldn’t find the trucking company or the tractor-trailer logo. What I did find on Google, though, is that people really love to post images of jack-knifed tractor-trailers.
We’re in a desolate industrial zone on the edge of an urban area. In addition to the tractor-trailer parking lot, one mid 20th century building across the street appears boarded up and the one on the left looks abandoned as well. There’s also an overpass that looks like it could be for freight trains. I’m imagining the person who sent in the view had a flight cancelled and then got stuck at a seedy hotel on the wrong side of the tracks.
This might be the bleakest VFYW ever. Checking the NOAA.gov maps for last Thursday night shows a broad swath of snow across the northern US and southern Canada. The Pacific Northwest isn’t bleak enough. Neither are Minnesota, Wisconsin or the Dakotas. And Canada, across the board, is too nice. I’m guessing the photo is taken somewhere along the axis of bleakness that runs from Buffalo through Cleveland to Detroit and then Gary, Indiana. I'll go with Detroit?
Next week, someplace exotic or festive, please.
First off, I love the VFYW contest. But I don't usually have the time to stalk Google Maps to make decent guesses. But this one was easy for me: it was taken in downtown Columbus, Ohio. The photo itself is a view of the Arena District. It looks like it was taken from the Nationwide Insurance building, looking out onto a constructions site that will soon be a new office building for the company. It's funny seeing that image. I used to work in that very building and recently left my job at Nationwide and moved to Portland, Oregon. That snow makes me remember one of the reasons I decided to move west.
Correct state, wrong city. Another:
Something about that picture just screams downtown Cleveland to me, but I'm not sure about those "M" trailers. It looks like Lakeside Avenue facing west and the Warehouse District. I used to park right around there but my current office is a few blocks to the east so I'm not sure what construction may be taking place in that area. The highway is in the right place – that would be I-90 West. The weather is right. It snowed hard from about 3 til 6 on Thursday, then let up.
Another nails the correct city:
Dayton, Ohio! This picture shows the Montgomery Paper semi parking area, looking east along E. 3rd St. from one of the loft apartments on the south side of the street. It is just a block and a half from where I work!
My family is from Dayton, and I was a reporter for the Dayton Daily News for a few years (and then the Cleveland Plain Dealer) before eventually finding my way to law school. It is the Montgomery Paper Co. trucks that give this one away. If you're ever in Dayton, you see these trucks a lot.
Another was more technical:
I guessed that the word on the container in the rear starting with "Mon" & ending with "ry" was "Montgomery", and the other word beginning with "Pa" was "Paper". Googling "Montgomery Paper" gives the address: 28 Wayne Avenue, Dayton, Ohio. Google-mapping that address shows buildings similar to the picture.
Another tried a different tack:
I made out the "Montgomery" on the trucks first and thought the next word began with either "Pa" or "Fa." Thanks to Google's auto-complete function, I was able to come up with Montgomery Paper. Google Maps then brought me right to Dayton and East 3rd Street. There's a big sign on the building, but I had to go around the corner to see a clearer version. I then googled the phone number and "lofts" and "dayton."
The only other VFYW I got so quickly was in Camden, New Jersey. Guess I have an affinity for Rust Belt towns.
I'm living in Texas now, but I miss the Dayton area, even though it's fallen on hard times lately. A century ago, it was the Silicon Valley of the US, the hub of innovation and invention: the cash register, the automobile's electric starter, and so much more. I used to joke that Dayton was the most famous of US cities Americans seem to vaguely think they've heard of once. Many famous celebrities left just as soon as they found out where they were (Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Dave Chappelle, Phil Donahue …) Indeed, its a little known fact the Wright brothers invented the airplane just so they could fly away.
Yes, I joke, but it's the knowing humor of someone who longs for home and misses it deeply, despite the tough patch it's going through. Dayton is a great place to be from.
Another gets more specific with the location:
The view from the window is Third Street in Dayton, Ohio; specifically E. Third Street next to a lot that Montgomery Paper uses to store their tractor-trailers. I would hazard to guess that the picture taker was standing in an apartment/loft at The Cannery. On the street level you will find the K-12 Art Gallery, Therapy Cafe, Basically British Tea House and Square One Hair Salon. Directly across the street you will find St. John United Church of Christ.
The Cannery at Webster Station in historic downtown Dayton is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Here is a link to an informative video about the area history and development project. This is a wonderful example of urban revitalization.
The winner this week was the only reader to guess the correct floor at The Cannery:
I found Dayton pretty quickly thanks to the Montgomery Paper Co. clue on the trucks, but nailing down the street address has been tough. Here's my best guess at the window, on the sixth floor:
I did discover that across the street at St. John's United Church of Christ, the Dayton Gay Men's Chorus presented "Celebrate" on December 3rd. So, if the street address here is wrong, it's still a good entry for The End of Gay Culture meme.
Congrats, we'll get a book out to you shortly. Exact details from the submitter:
This picture was taken from my sixth floor loft in downtown Dayton, OH on Thursday evening. The address is 500 East Third Street and I am looking east down East Third Street above the Montgomery Paper tractor trailer parking lot.
One final email, from an especially tech-savvy reader:
The location is Dayton Ohio, on 3rd Street in the neighborhood of St John's Church of Christ. The trucks all belong to the Montgomery Freight Company (Dayton is in Montgomery County, Ohio). Sears St is the cross street on the left side of the picture, and the church is just out of the frame to the left. The photograph was taken on an upper floor of the industrial building at roughly 600 3rd street. Judging by the lack of a fire escape in the photo, the position of the trucks, and the angle of the windows in the buildings on the north side of 3rd street, I'm going to assert that the window is the one circled in the picture below:
This week was probably the easiest contest ever. Here's how you solve it, at least on a Mac:
1: Click on the photo from The Dish
2: In the new window that appears, right click on the picture and select "Open Image in New Tab"
3: Look closely at the URL in the new tab. Remove the characters "-800wi" from the end of it, and reload the tab.
4: Download the higher resolution picture to your desktop.
5: Open the image in Preview.
6: From the Tools menu, select "Show Inspector"
7: The little window that pops up has a button that says "GPS" on it. Click there.
8: The window will change to a tiny map of the world, with a button at the bottom that says "Locate.." Click there.
9: The browser will open with the coordinates of where the image was taken (on an iPhone 4, at 8:53PM on the 19th) in Google Maps. Notice that the altitude and image direction are also specified.
Fish. Barrel. But fun. I've been trying this trick for weeks now and this is the first time it's worked!