The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #102


[Winning entry updated below after a technical glitch]

A reader writes:

Haven't got a clue, but I do know that its sufficiently dreary that I'd be gobbling Prozac by the handful if I had to live there.


Helsinki, Finland? Combination of abundant but empty parking space, the dull newer building on the right, some pastel-colored '30s buildings on the background and no oversized cars .(+ nicely trimmed trees neatly in a row).


I grew up in Toronto. There are many beautiful areas – the downtown core, the waterfront, even the neighbourhoods of single-family homes that were quickly built after World War II. But the boom in the Seventies means that there a whole lot of ASS UGLY ARCHITECTURE, especially in more suburban parts of the city. Combine that with the sky being grey for roughly nine months of the year, and the city can get incredibly dreary.


Thank goodness for sick days; they finally give this overworked architect time to enter his favorite contest! Of course it's America – the honeycomb freeway retaining wall says that. The hemmed-in transformers by the highway screams Northeast Corridor (as does the traditionally dense apartments building on the left) while the near empty expanse of parking suggests that this is either student parking or a long-term commuter lot. Combined with the bland brick high-rise on the right with the TV tower in the background, and it's within 250 miles of NYC for sure. Since being sick frees one from the drudgery of work, I'll also free myself from the drudgery of Google and Bing maps and just take a stab at Hartford, CT.


Top of mind guess again (no Google): Feels like we are near a North American airport – overlooking a Park-n-ride with newly constructed freeway beyond, with some shuttle vans visible on the highway, and tell-tale green directional road signs visible.  I think I’ve seen that highway retaining wall pattern before, but it’s probably a ubiquitous style and I’m just now noticing.  They just built some new highway connectors into the Seattle Airport in Tukwila, so I’m going with that (even though the trees don’t quite look big enough and there are no conifers).  I fly through SeaTac enough that if the View is from Seattle and I don’t guess it, I will owe my daughter an ice cream.

(And thanks for publishing our View from Costa Rica last week.  Always a thrill.)


Today's VFYW contest photo has to be in Atlanta!

When I saw it, I immediately thought of the various routes I used to take home each day when I worked in downtown and lived in Poncey-Highland. A little bit of time on Google Maps leads me to believe the photo was taken from the Citizen's Trust Bank building on the corner of Piedmont Ave. and John Wesley Dobbs Ave. looking east over the parking lot towards the Downtown Connector (Interstates 75 & 85). Hope I'm right!

You are. A map from a reader:


Another writes:

I immediately noticed the boat-shaped roof of the MLK birthplace reception center peeking out from the trees in the distance.  That is the downtown connector / 75/85 in the foreground cutting straight through Sweet Auburn, home of the Ebenezer Baptist Church.  From a quick look at Google Maps it appears this was taken from 95 Piedmont Ave, on the concrete campus of Georgia State University.  Among other things, Planned Parenthood is located in this building.

Another notes:

The grey triangle in the middle right of the picture is the roof top of Ebeneezer Baptist Church, Martin Luther King Jr's church, where the pastor on Sunday will be discussing gay marriage.

This week's winner:

This view includes "Sweet" Auburn, once the heart of black commerce in Atlanta and was home to Martin Luther King's Ebenezer Baptist Church, now under the care of the national park service and recently restored to its early 1960s condition. King sermons play on a continuously and one can sit in a pew and imagine what it was like to be at the epicenter of the civil rights struggle in the early '60s. His home is just up the street, as is a civil rights museum and the King Center, which once housed his collective papers but is now simply a large memorial after the family auctioned them off.

The area fell into decline after desegregation provided more shopping  and housing options and the massive 75/85 "connector" cut the neighborhood off from downtown. However, it has revived in recent years with some excellent restaurants and gentrify whites and blacks moving in. My family and I had coffee at Contesa in the white and black building in the top left corner of the VFYW before heading west to take this picture:


The city is in the middle of building a streetcar on Auburn and Edgewood Ave. (a couplet) so that tourist can better access the area from downtown and Centennial Olympic park, former site of the 1996 Olympic Village and future site of said King Papers. They are to be located in a new civil rights museum next toe the World of Coke Museum on land donated by Coke. It is in someways an apt metaphor for Atlanta, the city "too busy to hate."  In the '60s local business leaders pushed for peaceful integration of city schools for fear of becoming like Alabama and driving away northern capital and now saved Kings legacy for the city, largely to boost tourism.

Details from the photographer:

I was so excited when I checked the blog this afternoon to see you picked my Atlanta picture as this week's contest. Turns out Tuesday is my birthday, so reading the guesses will be a great present! Your readers are so amazing at this game. I attached a picture showing the window in case it is close:

VFYW answer

This is from google street view on Jesse Hill Jr Dr look at the back of the building at 75 Piedmont Ave.  The window in question is on the 7th floor in between the elevator shafts. I have circled it in red. (I am guessing a lot of readers will guess the 8th floor since that is where Planned Parenthood have their offices in Atlanta.)

This building is now a mix of medical offices and services for Georgia State University, but it was built to be the Citizens Trust Bank headquarters. Citizens Trust, started in 1921, was one of the first and most successful African-American owned and operated banks. They helped Blacks buy houses in White neighborhoods and financed some of the first middle class Black neighborhoods in Atlanta. Coincidentally they loaned the money to Ebenezer Baptist Church to build their new church, which can be seen in the distance of this picture.