The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #101


Thanks for your patience with our technical difficulties (damn that dreaded pinwheel of death). A reader writes:

Vast stretches of asphalt, parking lots and ludicrously wide streets, combined with lackluster, lifeless "greenspaces"? I didn't need to see the flag to know that this is the United States. Everything looks very institutionalized, so I'm going to guess somewhere in the vicinity of D.C.

Another writes:

Probably wrong or, if right, not specific enough, but my guess is Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The photo is obviously in the US, given the flag. But I'm not sure what color the state flag on that pole is. At first I thought it was green, making it Washington State, though the photo does not look like a Western city (the trees are too Eastern-looking, East in this case meaning East of the Rockies). I google-street-viewed Cheney, Walla Walla, Yakima, and Wenatchee, WA, which are all east of the Cascades, as they can sometimes look like towns farther east in certain moments. Yakima looked close, but ultimately I couldn't find a match. I looked at a listing of state flags and noticed that South Dakota's has a bit of green to it (maybe if the light caught it right). Sioux Falls looks like a decent-sized city there, and so that's my guess, as I've hit the time limit I gave myself for spending time on this contest.


When I saw the flat, empty horizon with trees that were just starting to bud, my mind immediately went to Buffalo, New York. I found this image of Niagra Square, which includes an eerily similar park, a courthouse, a red brick building, a modern art sculpture, and a parking lot:


The only problem is that none of them are the same ones as in your picture. So I submit this as an example of how similar many of the small to medium sized cities in North America appear.


At first glance, looks like Dallas Texas USA, Dealy Plaza, Texas School Book Depository on the right side. The building sure looks familiar.

Another nails the correct city:

Long time viewer, first time mailer. So when I looked at the picture, I thought to myself, "Gosh, that building behind the circle looks an awful lot like the Consumers Energy building, in Jackson, Michigan."

Not that I've ever been to downtown Jackson, but I work in a building that also used to house an architecture firm, and they had pictures of it on the wall. (For instance, see this page.) To Google Maps!  Scroll west. Engaging satellite view. Yep, there's the building, and everything seems to match the picture.  So my guess is One Jackson Square, Jackson, MI, and although I'm not obsessive enough to try to pinpoint the exact window, I'll guess Allegiance Hospice on the fourth floor. You seem to get a reasonably large number of views from hospital rooms, so why not.


Since I'm a painter and student of art history it came in handy for this one, I immediately recognized the site specific sculpture as a Louise Nevelson. The sculpture is titled "Summer Night Tree" cor-ten steel 1978. and is installed at the intersection of East Michigan Avenue and North and South Francis Streets. in the town of Jackson, Michigan. The building with the columns and circular pathways is the Consumers Energy Legal Library with the Lefere Forge (tall Stack) in the distance. I believe the photo was taken from a window on the 9th floor center of the Citizens Bank building looking east. This one was fun and I appreciate the art reference.

Another sends an image of the sculpture:


Another reader nails the correct floor:

Not only was it a huge kick to instantly recognize a VFYW contest site, but it gladdened my heart to see Jackson featured. I worked in the Jackson area for 20 years and became very fond of its warm, hard-working, educated, charitable, and fun-loving citizens.

The window is probably on the 8th floor of the Citizens Bank tower at 100 E Michigan Ave, Jackson, Michigan USA. The view is from the northerly end of the east side of the bank building, looking southeast across the intersection of Francis St and Michigan Ave. The tall building straight ahead is the CMS Energy corporate tower, which was built so as to preserve a fine old existing post office lobby. The brown building at left houses county social services and conceals the vintage Amtrak depot just beyond, which was one of the stops recited over the loudspeaker in the railway station chase scene in Hitchcock's North by Northwest.

One thing that might make Jackson topical in an election year is its fair claim to be the birthplace of the Republican Party. Another is that it is an example of the kind of community that was arguably saved from unnecessary economic havoc by the auto industry bailout, since it has numerous auto-parts plants and machine shops around it. Its manufacturing employment rebound was recently reported in Bloomberg Businessweek, but, entrepreneurs take note, skilled technical workers are still abundantly available there. At this writing, who knows if Mitt Romney will pass through Jackson Tuesday in connection with his campaign visit to nearby Lansing, Michigan.

Though I doubt I'll be alone in locating this week's VFYW, or that I'll hit the exact window, I hope I do well. And good on The Dish for giving unsung Jaxon some props!

Five other readers also correctly guessed the 8th floor, but only two of them have gotten a difficult view in the past without winning, so we have to award two prizes this week.  One winner writes:

The things one can learn and discover from Teh Google! I attached a Google Maps pic with high-tech graphics illustrating my genius with this week's VFYW:

Jackson michigan

If I get the exact window correct, which is far from assured, this would be my third correct guess (with no wins yet). Once I was one of three to guess the correct hotel window in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Another time, I was one of hundreds to guess the correct Warsaw, Poland view. This time, I again expect to be one among the hundreds. Oh well. I had fun. Keep 'em coming.

Actually only a few dozen readers correctly guessed Jackson. The other winner:

This was an easier VFYW after a few brutal ones – thanks! A Google image search for the Calder-like sculpture in the foreground eventually turned up Jackson's public collection. Then with Bing, it was fairly easy to find the building from which the VFYW came. I'll guess it's the 8th floor of the One Jackson Square building, from the window circled in the attached photo clip:


From the submitter:

When I took the photo, I wondered if it would be the awesome mix of distinct and non-descript that makes your VFYW contest so pleasantly infuriating. The window is on the 8th floor of the One Jackson Square building, at 100 E. Michigan Ave. This was shot from the circled window here (sorry for the low-res GIS) and is looking east:


The prominent building is the CMS Energy headquarters. It was built in 2001-2003, but the low building in front is the beautiful 1932 Post Office building, which was connected and redeveloped into the headquarters tower.

I was at this location following a meeting, and wandered up to the 8th floor to see the spot my new cubicle will be when my team moves someday. Classic corporate; we were going to move in January, then June, and now September. I wanted to see my future view. It will be pretty decent for this run downtown, but I was sad to see that our historic 1872 Amtrak station is hidden behind the ugly brown government building on the left.