A reader writes:

These contests are getting way too easy.  I mean, come on: a flat, featureless landscape with nondescript trees and buildings on an overcast day?  And just in case there's anyone who could possibly be confused, the three construction cranes are a dead giveaway.  Maybe I'll switch to Angry Birds if this is the best you can come up with.

Another writes:

Not many clues!  It does seem to be a semi-arid region with no surrounding mountains and with some building activity going on (as indicated by the construction cranes). This matches the surroundings of Homs, Syria.  Since the Baba Amr district has been in the news recently, I am going to guess that location.  Since Google Maps indicates there are some relatively open spaces nearby, I am going to guess that it was taken from from a third-story window in the Institute of Computer Technologies building (though I cannot find the Institute's website to confirm this guess … )


I am a longtime lurker around these parts, but it looks to me like a North Dakota oil boomtown – I'll go with Tioga. Dusty environment, dormitory-like structures (which are being built en masse to house the new oil workers), and what appear to be oil rigs. Unfortunately, I've got nothing else to go on, but I thought I would take my first crack at VFYW.  Thanks!


Nearly as hard as that parody VFYW contest.  When I see cranes I usually guess China and have a 66.7% chance of being in the right country.  But this feels like a stateside land grant university to me.  Some trees in the background seem to have their leaves while the (oaks?) in the foreground have lost theirs. This first lead me to think Oregon State in Corvallis, where the grey skies would not be out of place.  But that campus has more red brick than concrete or yellow brick, plus the terrain seems too flat.  Maybe Colorado State in Fort Collins as long as the view is facing east – how about from the Forestry building out toward the Oval?


My first thought is Tuscaloosa, Alabama, looking eastward toward the University of Alabama campus. That looks like Bryant-Denny Stadium on the horizon, with Tutwiler Hall immediately to its right. The problem is that those trees in the foreground should be greener at this time of year, but that must be the kind of weather they had yesterday and there should be a good bit of construction going on after last spring's tornado there.


This has to be the hardest contest ever.

Unless the trees beneath the window are some rare place-specific variety, there is absolutely no way you can get this. A few nondescript low-rise buildings. Three cranes and a cloudy sky. It could be anywhere. I'll be very impressed by the person who correctly identifies this one!


I'm guessing the latest one is from Madison, WI.  I went to the University of Wisconsin, which currently has a number of construction projects underway. Although Madison has one of the most unique campuses in the states by virtue of being located on an isthmus, there are a number of buildings in the brutalist fashion as seen in the picture.

Another guesses Springfield, Massachusetts:

First, it's winter or should be winter in this photo.  I know deciduous trees when I see them. The appearance of deciduous trees rules out nearly half of the world. Like there are deciduous trees in Africa.  Second, I notice the appearance of lichen on those trees. Because lichen only occurs in environments with abundant clean air, this rules out anywhere in China or Texas. Third, the window through which we peer looks not just clean but also from a renovated mill. Again, clear glass and old mills, removes all of Africa, China, South America, the American South, and Texas.

It's Texas. Another:

The other day, Thursday, if memory serves, we had a sky like that here in north Texas.  The trees are the right sort of height.  You can see buildings very much like these just east of SH121 not too far north of DFW but not as far north as Copell.  There is also some construction going on down that way, not just at the highway interchange before the split where 121 divides between DFW and Fort Worth, but north and east of there.  So therefore: Grapevine.

Another Texas guess:

We have no idea where this window is.  But we did learn a lot about cranes, since it was the only clue we could think to follow up on.  The visible cranes are likely Terex Peiner Hammerhead tower cranes, and if I had to guess, model SK415s.  Based on the coloring, we think they're owned by Maxim Crane Works.  Unfortunately, Maxim has over 100 such cranes all over the USA.  There is lots of press on their use to build a hospital expansion in Cincinnati, but the leaves on the trees say this photo is not that far north.  And so, we guess a random city in the southern-half of the United States, Fort Worth.


This one is killing me. Those are Texas live oaks just putting on their spring foliage, those are Texas clouds, and those might even be Texas cranes.  And I have seen this type of ugly but functional 1960s institutional buildings all my life (most of it lived in Texas).  But I just can’t quite place this one.  I know I will kick myself when the secret is revealed.  My best guess is some institution somewhere near San Antonio.    

Close. Another:

The red brick and architecture of the visible building really suggest a government structure or something on the UT Campus.  Plus the live oaks really suggest Texas to me. I'm going to guess it's somewhere on the University of Texas campus.

Wrong university but closer. Another:

I am probably wrong, but it sure looks like this was taken from somewhere in central Texas (the scraggly-looking live oaks in the foreground), perhaps, judging from the neo-Brutalist architecture, on the campus of what is now known as Texas State University in San Marcos (which has a few new buildings under construction.  No time for Googling, and I've won before; I'll just be happy if I'm close.

Quite close. This reader nails it:

I never thought I would come close on a VFYW contest, but I actually recognized this one. Live oaks, ugly sandstone colored brick, Soviet-era style architecture; it must be the place I spent five miserable years for graduate school: the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Given the multi-pane window, it must be from one of the older buildings on campus, plus the fact that you can see Kyle Field in the upper right pane means it's taken from one of the upper stories of the Jack Williams Administration building.

About a dozen readers correctly answered College Station. Another:

You actually had this view as a daily view about a month ago!  It was taken from a northwest facing window of the YMCA Building.  The cranes in the distance are new dormitories going up.  Obscured by the trees in the lower left is All Faiths Chapel where my parents were married … Gig'em Ags!

We were surprised that only a few readers noticed that we published that similar VFYW recently – a hidden clue for a tough contest. Another reader has a different vantage point:

A more pinpoint location is the 3rd floor of the YMCA Building looking northwest over our currently under-construction dorms (that building has had a rough Spring). Here's my view of the same space:


If my answer is incorrect let me borrow a now infamous phrase from a "former student" of Texas A&M, current Texas Governor Rick Perry: "Oops".


Whoop! As an Aggie alum (class of '96), I knew this one the moment I saw it. It's looking northwest out of a top-floor window of the YMCA building on the Fightin' Texas Aggie campus. The building in the foreground is the Beutel Health Center, where I was given penicillin in September of '92, after quickly succumbing to one of the bugs that went around my dorm in the first month of my freshman semester. The next building top center is Lechner Hall, a dorm that back in those days was use to house recipients of academic scholarships, and I briefly dated girl in Haas Hall, which is to the left and a bit behind Lechner. My dorm, Moses Hall (home of the Red Ass Bastards) is just out of view to the left.

On a trip back to campus last fall, I found that they had torn down several of the old dorms north of Moses, preparing to build something new. That's what the cranes in the background are for, which puts the date to something fairly recent. See the attached image for my analysis of the window the sender is looking out of:


The reader with the most accurate answer:

This is a picture of my daughter's future home!  She will be entering Texas A&M next fall, and the buildings in the top window panes are McFadden and Lechner residence halls, where she and the other freshman honors students will live.  She hopes to be a veterinarian some day, and Texas A&M is the only college of veterinary medicine in the state of Texas.  It is also one of the largest in the country, training about 8% of all of the vets in the United States! 

This picture is taken from the YMCA building, and overlooks Beutel Health Center in the foreground.  The cranes in the background are in the Northside Residence Hall construction zone.  It must have been taken from the third floor on the northwest side of the building.  I am going to guess it was taken from the leftmost window in the front group of three as shown here:


We ran this image by the submitter of the window view and she confirms that the floor is correct but that the exact window is actually the middle one – but close enough for victory, and a book. More details:

I am delighted that you chose the window from my window for this week's contest!  I don't expect that there will be many correct guesses, as the picture has few clues (if any) and is relatively non-descript. I am looking forward to reading what people guess, though!

In any case, I thought that I would provide a bit of detail about the photo, in case you need to adjudicate a winner. The view is from office 402 C in the YMCA Building on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. This building is home to A&M's Department of Philosophy, and some student learning services.  The view is facing northwest, and while there are many distinctive features of our campus that Aggies would recognize, there is nothing of note in this photo. But I have a nice sized office and a big window, so I can't complain!