A reader writes:
State College, Pennsylvania? I could be wildly off. The roads around the tennis court look a bit like campus, but I graduated from there (Penn State) almost two years back, well before all the ugliness. The hills in the background also remind me of Happy Valley.
The articulated bus should be a key clue. Los Angeles uses articulated buses with similar livery.
It looks like California by the weather, hills and vegetation. I focused on the bus. I guess southern California, since I don't recognize the bus and I live in Northern California. I started with LA, but unfortunately I never got closer than that. After looking at golf courses around LA for half an hour, I will simply guess Burbank.
I was torn between Del Mar and La Jolla. But I'm going with La Jolla. No particular reason. Just looks like that area. My brother lives down there and attends UCSD. With all of the Mitt and dressage talk this week, it just seemed like a fit. Come summer time, I will be down in that area frequently, betting on the ponies at Del Mar.
What?! After two years of never having a clue where a VFYW was, here is one I have driven by countless times.
It's the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Little SMB, looking north from Century City. Every time an Angeleno hits this intersection, they have to decide which street will have worse traffic going home and you can see the cars in the picture making the choice to switch north and follow the bus onto Big Santa Monica. This is just west of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, and from left to right we have The Los Angeles Country Club, the spire of the Rodeo School, and then the west wing of the hotel, with Beverly Hills in the near background, and the Hollywood Hills looming over it all.
An aerial view:
I was shocked to see a familiar place after countless contests of not having a clue of where any of the VFYW photos where taken. Like any good Angeleno I drive everywhere, and an intersection that I have gone through countless times is seared into my memory, just as countless other boulevards, side streets, freeways and possible driving routes take up a majority of my brain capacity. SNL just made fun of this fact in a recent episode with a hilarious and accurate portrayal.
I like the optical illusion. These tennis courts are actually several stories above ground.
As this visual entry shows:
Google Earth lags behind construction; those tennis courts are recent. The golf course is the Los Angeles Country Club. According to legend, Randolph Scott applied for membership and was denied, "Because you're an actor." He replied, "Have you seen any of my pictures?" and was accepted. The little stub of a sorta kinda Moorish dome in the middle is the tower at El Rodeo elementary school. I walked there from the 6th to the 8th grade, along these streets. Century City, which is off to the photographer's left, got its name because it was the back lot of Twentieth Century Fox, and the studio had to sell the land to pay for the disaster that was Cleopatra. Currently, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles are fighting over Beverly Hills' refusal to let the subway go through this zone.
A particularly proactive reader:
I took a little field trip to gather the VFYW photo exact location. Where Santa Monica splits into East and West (little) Santa Monica is bisected by Moreno Drive. The red double length bus is the 704 that travels east on Santa Monica Blvd from the coast through downtown. The actual view, according to the very nice security guard, is from one of the offices of The Agency Group, Suite 711 at 1880 Century Park East. I was not able to confirm the exact window because their offices were closed.
(By the way, as a piece of local color, 100 yards away is a Banksy that has managed not to have been painted over.)
I thought I recognized the building with the blue and white facade at the right edge of the photo; not sure what's in there now but used to be a record company's offices. Just outside the right edge of the photo is a mechanic's garage where I have gotten my car serviced; it's a third-generation family business and they have photos of many movie stars of the past whose cars they've taken care of. This is Los Angeles, after all.
A non-native writes:
I Googled the images of public transit vehicles starting from the largest city (NYC) and since LA is the second largest, I quickly settled on LACMTA's bus service – specifically, the Rapid routes, since these are the only ones that use the red and silver color scheme. The list of Metro Rapid routes on the LACMTA website established that these routes run along major city streets. I decided to literally follow each route on Google Maps, and I hit pay dirt very soon – literally the first route on the list runs along Santa Monica Blvd, and following Santa Monica Blvd on a map gave me this intersection.
Another visual entry:
I'm sure many people will correctly guess the location of the window on 1880 Century Park East, so I'll provide some local color. Century City is a very Los Angeles story, because it combines show business, a real estate play, and transportation. Originally part of the backlot for 20th Century Fox, Century City was developed when Fox ran into cash problems in the early sixties. Its development and zoning were contingent on the Beverly Hills Freeway, and a planned subway line, neither of which came to fruition. In fact, the Los Angeles Metro transit board is set to finally approve a subway extension that will stop at Century City, over the objections of the local Beverly Hills high school, which also features a working oil well.
The parking lot in the right of the picture is adjacent to the Beverly Hilton Hotel, perennial home of the Golden Globes, site of the John Edwards Enquirer stakeout, and more recently, Whitney Houston's tragic death. The golf course is the Los Angeles Country Club, where Howard Hughes attempted to make an emergency landing in his XF-11, but instead crashed into the adjacent homes. The red bus in the middle of the photograph is the Rapid 704, en route to downtown. I can't prove it, but I may be on it!
Another sent the above image from his iPhone. Another:
I'm sure you will get tons of Angelenos responding, and all I can say to boost my chances is that I do NOT live in LA (I'm a New Yorker) and so this scene was about as familiar as one of your European streetscapes – a hunchworthy project for a Saturday afternoon.
We did get tons of entries – about 150, almost all of them answering LA, and most of them from locals. A handful of readers guessed the correct floor, but only one of them has gotten a view in the past without yet winning a book. That reader writes:
Based on the distinctive hills (Beverly Hills), and the red and grey bus, we immediately recognized this as Los Angeles, where my wife is from and where we first met (I lived there for 7 years too). We know LA well so it was easy to pin down the exact building as: 1880 Century Park East, Los Angeles CA 90067
Those tennis courts are on the roof of another building. The tower in the middle of the picture is the El Rodeo School bell tower. As for the exact floor, that is tricky as always but after playing around with google earth and streetview and so on for a while, our best guess is that the picture was taken facing north from the 12th floor, fourth window from the left. We've attached an image of the window we are guessing.
Also, if it's worth any extra points, *my* window in Los Angeles was the very first you ever published. We would love to win one of these books!
No extra points needed. By the way, here's the original email from the photo's submitter:
Today has been a depressing day. I realized I have been looking out on this same view for 14 years! So I thought I would submit the view for either the contest or just a posting. Maybe someone will be a cheered by it. And maybe it’s time I start looking for something different to look at. Specifics of Window view:
1880 Century Park East, 12th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90067
11:32 on 4/17/12
A follow up:
OMG, I just sat down at my desk, bummed that I'm here on the weekend, and what do I see?? My view! You made my day – no, my week. Thank you. I cannot wait to see the responses.