The View From Your Window Contest


You have until noon on Tuesday to guess it. City and/or state first, then country. Please put the location in the subject heading, along with any description within the email. If no one guesses the exact location, proximity counts. Be sure to email entries to Winner gets a free The View From Your Window book or two free gift subscriptions to the Dish. Have at it.

Browse all our previous window view contests here.

The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #224


A reader is aghast:


Another wonders, “Are you sure you didn’t mix up the daily VFYW and contest photo?” Another gave up in about 20 minutes:

Clearly you decided to put up an easy one this week.  What with the Ents in the distance, I know I won’t be the only one to pin this down to the Fangorn Forest in Middle Earth.  I think I see the mist of the river Earwash ahead, putting us at or close to the site where Gandalf the White met the hunters. Heck, it’s as good a guess as any other.  A tree in the middle of the forest?????

Another goes for a “shot in the dark”:

Looks like deciduous trees, the coastal range, and a fog bank. That sounds like Walnut Creek, CA to me.

Or South America?

Ariau Towes, an eco-lodge outside Manaus, Brazil:


Another looks for clues:

There are a bunch of deciduous trees. That’s less than helpful. We seem to be on a mountain. I see nothing outside to help me other than that. Given that the paucity of detail outside, I chose to focus on what was inside. There’s more to work with but … yeah, not a lot. It looks like some recording equipment (headphones, cabling, something that might possibly be a sound meter), a water bottle, and a floor with interesting swirly markings. I’m sure someone will recognize the logo on the water bottle instantly, but I got nothin. Same with the floor.

Based on the trees and recording equipment, my husband guesses Tennessee. I don’t think you’d stay in North America four weeks in a row, but I don’t have a better alternative. So, we’re going with a recording studio in Tennessee. On a mountain.

It’s not recording equipment. Another reader figures out the key characteristic of this week’s view:

[I]t’s a treetop hotel, built around a tree. No doubt about it. You would think that would narrow it down – I mean, how many of those can there be? Lots, it turns out, but none that I can find with classy inlaid wooden floors. Our best guess is Dad’s: somewhere on the coast of Peru.

Which brings me to another point: this is superficially mind-bogglingly difficult. There are no landscape clues, except the unbroken vista of trees, which does little more than prove that we’re not in downtown Manhattan or Beijing. All clues have to come from the “window” itself and surrounding items.  Despite this, because you posted the contest, it follows that it must be solvable in a reasonable amount of time by a reasonably-intelligent Dish reader. Therefore, I propose the View Anthropic Principle: no matter how hard a “view” is, the fact that it is posted at all means that it is solvable with the information on hand. 

Maybe so. Just not necessarily by us, this time!

Most of this week’s guesses correctly got on the treehouse track:

This treehouse doesn’t look like the one I stayed in, but the view reminds me of some of the views while we we ziplining around in the Bokeo Reserve for three days is Laos almost four years ago.  It was one of the only times I’ve seen a jungle view that just went on and on the way it looks like this view does. I can tell this is definitely a view from a tree house so its worth a shot, right?

Here’s a view of what one of the tree houses looked like as you were sailing towards it on the zipline:


Another reader is thinking Africa:

I just spent my Monday morning at work googling “African treehouse.”  I looked at lots of images, but nothing fit, so I’m guessing Botswana, mostly because it’s fun to say.

Another suggested “Youvegoddabephukingkiddingme, Thailand”. But this guess gets pretty close:

Although the foreground view is a little more cluttered than I remember it, I am fairly sure this is taken from the platform of the Canopy Tower, Soberania Park, near Gamboa, Republic of Panama. That appears to be a Cecropia tree on the right (often sloths feed there), and the view is, I think, towards the North West, overlooking Soberania Park from what used to be a U.S. military-intelligence messaging center, that has been converted into a nature observatory / hotel.

A reader nails the right country:

Wow! I can only guess about where this is, but I really want to go. We’re in an octagonal (maybe hexagonal) observation platform-like structure that appears to be built around a tree overlooking a rain forest. Apart from the forest itself, there are no telling geographic features, and apart from the structure we are in, no architectural clues. So, we need to know something about the building we are in, rather than what we are looking out at.

The structure seems well-built and well-maintained.  That, the bag on the floor to the left, the pile of rope (zip lining?) and the bottled water suggest “tourist destination”. That doesn’t narrow it down a great deal, but I’m going to go with Costa Rica. And since satellite views seem a lost cause here, I looked for treehouses in Costa Rica and found the Finca Bellavista community, which seems like the sort of place (some) Dishheads might find themselves on vacation. Plus they have a couple of structures that, while not being a dead-on match for the one here, share an awful lot of features. So even if we aren’t in Finca Bellavista, I bet we are someplace close by.

Another pinpoints the location:

Ok, so I was a bit glib last week. I promise I’ll rein in disparaging comments about the difficulty of the contest because, damn, this one is pure evil. Trees. All we can see are trees. And floorboards. But wait, we’re IN a tree. And those floorboards are pretty unique with their painted viney patterns. Just fire up the Google machine. Somebody else has stayed in this treehouse and put a picture of it on the internet. An hour of searches along the lines of “jungle treehouse resort” later, and then, there it is. These guys stayed there. One click later and I’m on the web page of Nature Observatorio, located in Manzanillo, Costa Rica.  Not too shabby for a picture of some trees.

Not shabby at all. Here’s how all the entries broke down:

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Image searching was by far the most popular method for the dozens of correct guessers this week:

At first glance this appeared to be one of those impossible views that only the champ and one or two others would solve. When I realized it was a treehouse however, I at least had some VFYW-Treehouse-2search terms. After a few searches I was amazed at the sheer number of awesome treehouses that are out there. My fourth try on Google Images I used the terms “treehouse rainforest ocean” and found [the composite image to the right]. That led to this website that offers neat “glamping” places. Glamping is “glamorous camping” apparently (something I didn’t know – thanks VFYWC!).

The VFYW is the upper level of a two level treehouse in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Rain Forest of Costa Rica. You can stay there for $320.00 a night, and “all meals are hosted in the tree house and hoisted up by staff. Guests are supplied with harnesses, helmets, and gloves.”

Here’s a wonderfully specific entry:

The picture is taken from the Nature Observatorio (aka Amazing Treehouse), located in the Gandoca-Manzanillo wildlife refuge in Costa Rica (which is called the Refugio Nacional Gandoca-Manzanillo, 36, Costa Rica by Google Maps):


The closest town is Manzanillo, which is not visible, but would be on the right side, or northeast, out of frame of the picture roughly 3km to the city center. It is taken from a hammock on the first floor (observation level) of the treehouse, facing the Caribbean Sea to its (approximate) north. The deck is 79 feet (or 25 meters) above ground, and is reachable by rope or rope elevator. There aren’t exact GPS coordinates for the Observatorio — even the owner doesn’t have them — and the only ones I found were actually for the road and beach roughly 2 km to the north.

Visible on the left of the picture (west) is the “host” tree, which is amazingly supporting the treehouse without a single screw or nail driven into it. I hope your readers will research and watch the available interviews with the owner, Peter Garcar, and read up on the location itself. His efforts and passion are truly inspiring, and the treehouse is a wonder of both engineering and natural education. I only wish I could visit and climb to appreciate its views and all it offers. To whomever made the trip and took the picture, I am envious beyond description!!!!!

This reader only needed the floor:

Okay, I was searching in Australia before, but then an image search on Google for rainforest treehouses found me the distinctive floor of this treehouse in The Gandoca-Manzanillo wildlife refuge in Manzanillo, Costa Rica. Here is the floor:


Another key clue:

It was an Instafind, and shows up in first couple pages of Google image search for  “treehouse winch remote”.

A regular player takes a shot at circling this week’s “window”:


A breakdown of the exact view:

I consider the window to be the space between the exterior vertical supports that, along with the major floor beams, create the octagonal framing of the structure. The contest photograph looks across the two sets of floor boards that are lifted to provide rope access to the tree house. These were identified by comparing the vine tendril pattern in the contest photograph with those next to people about to descend or just arrive through the open floor boards:

vfyw_Costa_collage_9-27-2014 copy

Photographs taken from beneath the tree house show which floor boards are opened. The contest window is that adjacent to the more westerly of the two openings.

A previous winner makes a connection:

A few weeks ago, we were in Manzanillo, Mexico and now we are high up in the trees of the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge south of Manzanillo, Costa Rica.

Probably the best entry we got this week:

“Haven’t they broken the rules?” asked my wife when I showed up at her elbow, having found the window this past Saturday in minutes and wanting to proclaim my triumph.  She’d noted the absence of any distinguishing features in the landscape and it seemed wrong to her that I’d had to depend solely upon objects within the room to pinpoint the location.

“Rules?  In a knife fight?  No rules!” I might have said, evoking Ted Cassidy’s assertion to Paul Newman’s Butch Cassidy just prior to his being kicked in the crotch.  I knew that, apart from the one rule that requires at least part of the window frame to appear in the photo (to prove that it really is a view from a window), then nearly anything else is fair.  And this week there was really nothing in view but a vast verdure framed by a distant sea.  Great view but lacking in specificity.

So inside, then. We see climbing ropes and a winch controller, bamboo rails, a loopy painted design all over a wooden floor, a framework of cable and wire that surrounds a hole in that floor, a hole which itself appears to center on a TREE TRUNK. So we’re high up in a tree house gazing out over a jungle view.  

The design on the floor proved to be the most valuable clue, because it appeared around 150 images deep in a simple google image search using the terms “tropical” and “treehouse.”  It’s called Nature Observatorio and it’s in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Refuge in Costa Rica, suspended 25 meters up a tree in primary rainforest.  The photo was taken looking north from the lower of its two floors.  We’re told by the proprietors that guests fall asleep lulled by the exotic chatter of parrots (along with the Caribbean breezes), that they awaken in the morning to the roar of howler monkeys.

Observatorio group

Wonderfully, its Airbnb listing says that, along with internet and breakfast, its amenities include “elevator in building,” which unavoidably raises a string of philosophical questions: what parts of an elevator can be stripped away and have it remain an elevator?  If it lacks walls and floor, but consists rather of a harness, ropes, and a winch? If it dangles BELOW the building, suspended from it, is it indeed IN the building?   


I’m picking at nits there, but the Observatorio comes equipped with mosquito netting, so that’s ok. Honestly, I’m ready to sign up. It look’s wonderful!

It’s hard to resist the charming enthusiasm of this happy guest, as he shows us around:

Chini felt challenged:

Well one thing’s for certain, we’re, uh, hell and gone from the Arctic. And we’re like totally in a tree-house. Now all we need to do is find the right one. Easy, no? No. Turns out, tree-houses are the new orange, and that made this hunt one of the wilder ones. India, Thailand, Brazil, Borneo, you name it, they all got in on the act. By the time I landed in the right spot, I knew more about tree-house construction than I’ll ever need to know. But that’s the VFYW contest for you; the obscure begetting the even more obscure.

This week’s view comes from the best damn hotel room any contest viewer’s ever stayed at, i.e. the Nature Observatorio in Manzanillo, Costa Rica. The picture was taken on the lowest, main platform of a multi-platform, non invasive tree house/observatory/hotel room built in 2012 and looks east-north-east on a heading of 62 degrees towards the Gulf of Mexico in the distance:

VFYW Manzanillo Bird's Eye Far Marked - Copy

This reader has traveled in the area:

We spent a month in Costa Rica and thought the Atlantic coast was much better than the Pacific side.  Less touristic and a bit more raw country, with much friendlier Ticos – it’s got that rasta-Caribbean vibe.  Manzanillo is perfectly ramshackle and laid-back, with some great small beaches, waterfalls, and mellow roads for bike riding.  And there is still plenty of tourist infrastructure.  We ate most lunches at a great French bakery / deli (Bread and Chocolate Cafe) and stayed in a couple of mid-range places on the beaches (Banana Azul and Cabinas Yemanya).  A week looking for turtles and sloths, building sand castles with the kids, or swimming in the turquoise ocean was too short – we wish we had stayed on the Atlantic side the whole month.  I’ve included a picture from the tidepools and beach near Punta Cocles, about five miles toward Puerto Viejo from the Tree House.  A great place to reread Paul Theroux’s Mosquito Coast (a favorite book of mine – made into a decent but not quite as good movie too).


Our winner this week describes himself as a “long-time correct guesser, long-time suffering loser”:

An interesting clue this week.  My initial thought was that it was impossible: a nondescript view of a forest with not much else.  Seeing as how it was a beautiful day, I was thisclose to abandoning my search this week for more productive endeavors.  Before I did, I lightened the picture to bring out some of the features in the foreground.  This is what I got:


A tree trunk to the left, a climbing rope, swirly designs on the floor, a backpack on a chair and what looks like the ocean on the horizon.  Typing those elements into the google machine, I had to scroll through about a page of results until I spied this:


Large tree trunk, swirly floor, climbing rope, similar chair.  I found the answer before my morning cup of coffee had gotten cold.

This week’s contest view actually came from the Dish’s own Chas Danner. He writes:

My wife and I took a belated honeymoon to Costa Rica over the winter, and our stay at the Observatorio was absolutely one of the highlights of our trip. It was an unforgettable night alone in the canopy of a lush primary rainforest.


And yes, you do wake up to the howler monkeys, a pack of which rolled by like a thunderstorm around 5:30am. Our only regret was that we didn’t spend more than one night. Also, Peter, the Czech engineer who dreamed up and built the treehouse, was a delightful guide and host as well as one of the coolest people I’ve ever met in any country. Here he is holding the rope as I ascended in my tree climbing harness:


The View From Your Window Contest


You have until noon on Tuesday to guess it. City and/or state first, then country. Please put the location in the subject heading, along with any description within the email. If no one guesses the exact location, proximity counts.  Be sure to email entries to Winner gets a free The View From Your Window book or two free gift subscriptions to the Dish. Have at it.

Browse all our previous window view contests here.

The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #223


A reader throws up his hands:

We must congratulate you on lulling us in to a false sense of security. This is quite possibly the hardest “view” you’ve ever posted. Our best guess is my dad’s: Williams County, North Dakota. We base this on the mountains, and the look of the buildings, which seem to resemble an industrial mining or fracking operation.

Next time, perhaps something between “nondescript mountain range with weird building” and “stadium with identifiable flag”? Thank you as always for a fun contest!

Another anticipated a hard one after a few weeks of easy contests:

Well, we knew this was coming, didn’t we? We have what appear to be prefabricated buildings of recent vintage, on a rocky, barren, and otherwise undeveloped landscape, with snowy mountains off in the distance. Somewhere in the Arctic, during the summer. A woman and child walk in the foreground – Inuit, perhaps? So let’s say Alaska, somewhere along the North Slope, and for sake of specificity call it Barrow, even thought I cannot pin down these buildings on maps of the town.

Another gets fictional:

Taken from the office of Gustavo Fring at the Los Pollos Hermanos Compound, just outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Another heads much farther south:

After spending a disconcertingly long time on Google Maps in Satellite View, I’m going to go with Potosí, Bolivia. It actually might be any other city in the Bolivian Altiplano, but I’m tired of satellite view and Potosí looks about the right amount of brown. Plus, it’s an important mining city, and the edge of that pit looks like a mine.

But for all I know, that’s a tar-sands operation in Alberta and I’ve just spent two hours in the wrong hemisphere. This might be the most challenging contest you all have done! I opened the photo today and said, “Ugh.”

Wrong hemisphere. Another gets the wrong planet:

Mars? There was a story on This American Life / Love + Radio last week about a Mars station to host 4 humans is 2023. This may be the terrestrial training ground. Looking in the arid, iron rich soils of greater Mongolia I worked my way to some disputed lands between China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan. Is this an homage to Chini or a nose-thumbing after two easy weeks? I’m not sure what Aksai Chin is, but it showed up on my Google map, and one can only assume the people who live there would be the Chini. There don’t appear to be any roofs in the area, but just by name association alone, I hope this is close, and I hope Doug found it.

To the right country:

To me the picture said Northern Canada, or possibly Alaska. But I’m guessing it wouldn’t be the US three weeks in a row. So after some half-hearted googling, I guess somewhere in Yukon, Northwest Territories, Canada. A vague guess, because it was a gorgeous weekend and I went apple picking on Saturday and then simply had to make pies and crisp on Sunday. I’d send you one, but Internet.

Another reader nails the province and town:

I got lucky on this one. I zoomed in to see the people walking down the dirt road, and thought they looked Inuit. I then thought of Nuuk, Greenland, which vfywc_223is at least pretty small and unique. When it wasn’t Nuuk, I looked at the Chevy van in the photo thought “oh, maybe it’s Alaska” – in which case, game over, because Alaska is huge and has dozens of tiny little settlements. But then I remembered Nunavut, Canada’s newest territory. I hopped on over to Iqaluit, and lo and behold, there was the crazy modular spaceship form of the high school. (By the way, kudos for making sure the flag was illegible.)

Another wasn’t impressed with our promise to make this week more difficult:

I haven’t submitted to the contest in some time.  But I was excited when you said this week would be harder than than recent contests, so I thought I’d go for the challenge.  Some challenge. The landscape was unmistakably Arctic.  Nunavut was my first guess. I was in Iqualit, Nunavut before my coffee was cool enough to drink.

Reality TV helped out this reader:

Got it in a flash thanks to the wonderful BBC program “A Cabbie Abroad”.  In it, London cab driver Mason McQueen visits remote places – Mumbai, Bangkok, Fiji and Iqaluit, to ply his trade:

Whilst the set up is about learning to be able to drive there, the really interesting part is how he gets to appreciate the plight of the locals.  In the case of Iqaluit it was the dispossession of the land of the indigenous people and the poverty, health and alcohol problems in the community.  He approaches it with an open mind and a real honesty and humanity.

A funny footnote though. In the program he has to master the house numbering system of Iqaluit, where there is one set of house numbers for the whole town, and by the end he has it mastered.

I actually contacted Mason on Twitter about the contest … and his guess was Colorado!

One reader has a fantastic visual walkthrough to nail the right apartment building:

Not a single legible sign. No automobile license plates. No distinctively styled lampposts or street signs. Now we’re talking!

First, I identified the key landmarks in the window’s view:


Then I located those landmarks in the aerial image of Iqaluit:


Here’s an alternative view of the apartment tower, seen from the east (rather than from the north):


Given the line of sight, our window must be in the westernmost of 3 buildings on Qulliq Court, overlooking the Arctic College head office. (The qulliq, sometimes translated as kudlik, is a type of oil lamp used by the original Inuit inhabitants of Baffin Island.) Thanks to Street View, this building can be identified as 508 Qulliq Court.


But which window? Given how much of the Arctic College’s roof that is visible in the VFYW, I believe that the photographer was on the second floor rather than the ground floor (even though the ground floor is itself higher than the roof). We also know that the photographer’s window opens. I surmise that it is one of the flanks of the building’s bay windows. Finally, given the angles from the landmarks to the window, I believe that the picture was taken from the westernmost bay of 508 Qulliq Court:


Based on what I’ve read today, I believe that 508 Qulliq Court and its neighbors are housing belonging to Nunavut Arctic College. If I’ve identified the correct bay window, the VFYW picture was taken from Unit No. 27.

Another notes:

I’m actually rather impressed that there’s Google Street View for this city, given that it’s accessible only by plane and is the smallest and most remote of the Canadian provincial/territorial capitals.  And this was the first time that Street View wasn’t actually a lot of help since the snow banks are so high that it’s hard to get a good view in any direction.

The Street View story is pretty cool, as this reader discovered:

Having been to Alaska for work a few times, my gut reaction was somewhere in the North American Arctic. The signs are:

  • A lack of any foliage suggesting it gets very snowy and cold.
  • Large metal buildings which are fast to construct during summer, cheap to transport their raw materials, and big enough for the community to spend all winter inside
  • Lots of chimneys on roofs, curved over to prevent snow falling in.

That didn’t give me much to go on but searching for “Arctic Towns in Canada” I got lucky and came across a video by Christopher Kalluk – who took Google Street View images by walking around town carrying something like R2D2 on his back:

From that video I quickly found the three buildings shown, and the apartment complex.

Finding that was great fun.. even better was finding this Google Street View image of Christopher on a sled being pulled by dogs. Amazing!

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 11.40.03 AM

Don’t forget the donuts:

To show just how thoroughly the Canadians have conquered the Arctic, consider this local establishment (notice the slogan written in Inuktitut syllabics):


As always, a reader informs us about the town:

Founded in 1942 as an American air base, accessible mainly by air (by boat in the summer, and dogsled and snowmobile in the winter), Iqaluit grew in the 1950s due to a NORAD radar station project. In 1958, there was a proposed plan to build the city under a giant concrete dome.  Seriously!  It was to be artificially lit, heated to -6°C (21°F) in the winter, and powered by nuclear energy. Thankfully the dome did not come to pass (Iqaluit is apparently a great place to see the Northern Lights), although it would have made for an excellent reality show today.

Notable Iqaluit current events include the opening of the first beer and wine store in 38 years (an attempt to quell the alcoholism made worse by prohibition), the extinguishing of a 4 month long town dump fire, and the ouster by the city council of the chief administrative officer. These incidents are supposedly unrelated.

Another reader connects the view to last week’s big story:

Iqaluit is an interesting choice just a week after Scotland’s vote for independence. Nunavut is in its 15th year of territorial quasi-self rule.  The split from the Northwest Territories was a major victory for Native sovereignty and self-government, even though it is still governed by Canada.  That fight continues in Canada and around the world. Here in the US, we have Native Hawaiians toying with taking the illegal overthrow of its monarchy to the UN, Akwesasne Mohawk insists it is sovereign territory straddling the US-Canada border (they issue their own passports), and the Navajo Nation is stretching its legs with the idea of becoming a “state” for Medicaid and Medicare purposes.

A previous winner provides a soundtrack:

This VFYW contest has a tenuous connection to the Dish’s new and sporadic cover song contest.  The White Stripes played Iqaluit (pop. 6,699) on there final tour in 2007.  The tour was a long trek across Canada.  Their movie about the adventure Under Great White Northern Lights contained footage of the Iqaluit stop and the accompanying album’s cover is a doctored picture of Jack and Meg walking near the shore in Iqaluit (about here; the old location for a Hudson Bay Company post).  The set list for their show at Iqaluit’s Arctic Winter Games Arena included their covers of Dolly Parton’s Jolene, Blind Willie Johnson’s John the Revelator, and Son House’s Death Letteramong others.  Although not a cover, I prefer Gillian Welch’s retort Time (the Revelator).

Another regular reader offers a dissent:

Could you please stop quoting from Chini’s responses every week? It’s like the guy in class who always raises his hand. Nobody wants to hear from him every time.

Perhaps, but plenty of other readers look forward to his little blockquote column every week, as do we:

VFYW Iqaluit Actual Window Marked - Copy

Bare dirt, tiny windows, thin grass; yep, we’re hell and gone from the equator. At first blush that might seem to make this one crazy hard but it’s actually helpful; there simply aren’t that many people living at these latitudes. Not to mention the dead giveaway at center left; once you saw it, this one became an insta-find (for myself and presumably quite a few others). Chini kuviasungitok!

This week’s view comes from Iqaluit, the capital of Canada’s Nunavut province. The picture was taken from a second floor window in residence building #508 on the campus of Nunavut Arctic College and looks almost due south along a heading of 170.21 degrees.

Here’s the location of two Iqaluit views that the Dish featured back in 2008/2010 alongside this week’s shot:

VFYW Iqaluit Other VFYWs 2 - Copy

And here’s this week’s winner, who also gives us a colorful architecture tour:

I’m not a world traveller, so each week I hope for a familiar view of Canada or the US. This time I identified the scene immediately: Iqaluit, capital of the territory of Nunavut, Canada. I was there a year and a half ago; you actually published my view from my sister-in-law’s window in the suburb of Apex.

The giveaway is the two-tone blue Inuksuk High School, with its distinctive porthole windows and fibreglass panels, pictured here, behind an arch of bowhead whale bones:

Inuksuk HS

Behind it is the brown and tan Frobisher Inn. Anyone who has visited the city (population 7250) will recognize these landmarks. The architecture of Iqaluit can be quite striking, such as Nakasuk Elementary School, which could pass as a lunar research station:


And the igloo-shaped St. Jude’s Anglican Cathedral:


It’s also very colourful, which helps break up the white of winter. Bold colours are popular for residential buildings:


And the bright yellow of the Iqaluit Airport is easily spotted from a distance:


I’m pretty confident the photo was taken from an apartment in the building I’ve indicated on the map below, based on the angle of the window opening to the hotel and high school, and the angle of the roof hip of the Nunavut Arctic College in the foreground.


I’m less certain about the exact window, but I believe it’s the left window of the second bay window unit from the left, on the southwest side of the building, on the second story. I chose this one because the perspective of the view appears to correspond roughly to the middle of the building, and since I assume the hinge of this swinging window would be on the wall side of the frame, not the side protruding from the building:


We confirmed the above image with the reader who submitted this week’s view:

That’s absolutely the window! Facing out the right. I opened the right side of the bay window to get the shot. The Dish sleuths do it again.

The view is from an apartment (Apartment Q-26, QI Complex) that was made available to short term researchers associated with the Arctic College, part of which is seen in the foreground with the pink roof. The distinctive blue building with the portholes is the Inuksuk High School. The taller brown building beyond is a hotel with cafe and theatre, the tallest building in Nunavut and part of the Astro Hill complex.

Thanks to all for the many great entries this week. Many of them come to you in this collage:


(Archive: Text|Gallery)

The View From Your Window Contest


You have until noon on Tuesday to guess it. City and/or state first, then country. Please put the location in the subject heading, along with any description within the email. If no one guesses the exact location, proximity counts.  Be sure to email entries to Winner gets a free The View From Your Window book or two free gift subscriptions to the Dish. Have at it.

Also, check out this extra-credit guess for last week’s contest, in which a reader didn’t just ID the city and hotel, but dug even deeper to determine the day, time and exact moment of the live baseball game being played in the background:


Turns out full replays of all minor league games are on The view photo was taken during the Indianapolis Indians’ June 17th game against the Gwinnett Braves, in the bottom of the 1st inning. Indians player Chris Dickerson had just been hit by a pitch. Two Indianapolis coaches and a trainer are escorting him down the 1st base line to check on his injuries. In the view photo, Dickerson and the trainer are just behind the flag pole, but the two coaches (long white pants) are VFYWC-222-Ballgameclearly visible. The above picture is taken from the game video at 19m:13s, (a few seconds after the view photo) when the coaches, trainer (in black) and Dickerson arrive at first base. Notice the shadows and position of first basemen and umpire are exactly as in the view. Sure enough in the background is the window of the JW Marriott  our photographer of the view is no doubt in the window in the upper right. The video cameraman is also visible in the view photo  he is in red, behind 1st base in the visitors dugout. My best guess is that the view photo was taken at video mark 19m:05s. I’ll bet the video is trimmed to start at the nominal game time of 7:05. Aligning the video time with that start time, the view was taken at 7:24:05 pm. Cool.

After checking the original image’s EXIF data, our reader was within seconds of the exact time the photo was taken. Incredible.

Browse all our previous window view contests here.

The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #222


A reader writes:

Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD. If I’m right, my self-esteem will be temporarily bolstered.

Camden Yards actually wasn’t too far off. Another reader:

Looks like Harbor Yard, home of the Bridgeport Bluefish in Bridgeport, CT.  It’s a great place to watch a ball game.  Even if it’s wrong, it’s good to support the ‘fish.

Bridgeport was the most popular incorrect guess this week. Another reader rightly gets us to the Midwest:

I’m gonna say this is the Akron Aeros’ ballpark in Akron, Ohio, from a skybox in the left field area. I’ve been to a couple of Aeros games, which is a big deal because 1) I live 9 hours’ drive away; 2) the first time I went, a visiting player gave me his bat after the game; and 3) the second time I went, there was an earthquake in Akron. Yes, in Akron. The next night, in Toledo, Ohio, a tornado zipped through the parking lot of my hotel. (I think Ohio was trying to tell me something.)

Another throws up his hands:

I give up! I have spent far too much time on your addictive contest. Thought it might be Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, AZ. People can sit on the grass and watch there. Logo might be from Seattle team. Might also be Ameritrade Stadium in Omaha where College World Series is held. Or old Rosenblatt Stadium there. What stymies me is that long covered structure through which something is transported to top of the building like a grain elevator. That might make it in Minneapolis or St Paul. Found one picture of a tobacco transporter in the south but wasn’t quite right landscape.

Another was less discouraged:

I didn’t think it was possible for me to guess two windows in a row correctly. Okay, technically I’m not sure if last week’s window was the exact window, but I got the right building and that’s a win. But two easy windows in a row?  Do you want all your readers to get out and enjoy the fall weather instead of hacking away for hours, yelling at the computer, sweating it because they can’t find anything in the picture??  Well, I for one, thank you.

With more than 500 entries, this contest was even more popular than last week’s. Another reader savors the correct city:

I love the smell of napalm in the morning – it smells like … Victory Field in Indianapolis!

An expert is even more excited:

I was sooo excited when I saw the contest photo. A minor league baseball stadium?? That’s my niche! I’ve visited dozens of stadiums at all professional levels. I take trips every summer to see new cities and new teams, taking extensive notes about the games I see: the food, the architecture, the people, the uniforms. It is a great way to see the country, as it gives me excuses to go to places I wouldn’t otherwise have reason to visit. I’ve seen baseball in Buffalo, Chattanooga, Rancho Cucamonga, and everywhere in between. I saw this photo and thought this week will be tailor made for me. I’ll pick up on some nuance of the shape of the tier, or the location of the lawn, and I’ll be so proud of my baseball detective skills. I will be the only winner!

That feeling lasted a few seconds, until I saw the flag. Oh. Indianapolis. Everyone is going to get this one. Fuck. You’re a tease.

Another explains:

th2014 has been a year of highs and lows for me on the VFYW contest.  So close on some, even joining the scrum on a few correct windows; and so far on others (identifying the location by yellow lichen?  Seriously?) So imagine my happiness at seeing this VFYW contest.  A baseball stadium!  I’m a baseball fan, I’ve been to lots of stadiums, including minor league stadiums, which this clearly is.  How hard can this be?  Wait a minute … I’ve never been to this stadium …

After plenty of searches for urban baseball stadiums near power plants and finding nothing, I switched tactics.  Not quite as obscure as yellow lichen, I found the flag.  The flag of the city of Indianapolis.

Based on the level of the field and the position of the side walk pillar in the contest photo, I’d say the photo was taken at the JW Marriott Indianapolis.  The photo is from the second floor convention area, from the prefunction area (so-called by the hotel’s website):


Indeed, it was the pre-function area. Another notes:

So is “Pre-function” the charming Midwestern attempt at classing up “Reception” or something? Speaking of those wholesome Indianans, in this particular VFYW search I came across this little gem of a TripAdvisor review: “Hospitality service & staff were alarmingly friendly and troublingly attentive. Or maybe as a Bostonian I’m just not used to people being nice.”

Another reader reconstructed the Indianapolis city flag in an image editor, then reverse-image searched his way to success. Here’s somebody looking to make up for last week:

After misreading “Zane’s” as “Zone’s” and thus becoming an ignominious member of the 2.1% who didn’t get the window last week, I was determined not to miss what at first glance looks to be a slam dunk: somewhere in a decent sized US city with a minor league (most likely AAA) baseball park. There’s even a flag RIGHT THERE that should be a pretty big clue as to location. And it is: the blue field with a white cross, overlaid with a white star in a red circle at the center is the flag of the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. That was surprisingly difficult to discover (I took a few detours through the county and municipal flags of Texas first, many of which feature a “lone” star) but I imagine you have no shortage of people from Indy that will recognize it on sight, in addition to the legions of highly competent Google sleuths that regularly populate these contests.

The view is from a building just off left-center field at Victory Field, home of the Indianapolis Indians, which claims to be “The Best Minor League Ballpark in America” (a claim with which, as a proud resident of Durham, NC, I am inclined to disagree.) Specifically, somewhere in the JW Marriott across Maryland Street, among the floor-to-ceiling windows (you can see the American flag from the ballpark reflected in the attached screen grab.) Based on the interactive floor plan on the hotel’s website, this window appears to be in the “Prefunction” area of the third floor, just outside the JW Grand Ballroom.

In another entry, we learn that “the Indianapolis Indians are a Pittsburgh Pirates AAA affiliate that somehow manages not to use a racist cartoon Indian on their hats (Cleveland take note).” For more on that subject, check out the Dish thread “Do Mascots Need Modernizing?” Another entry:

The contest photograph is packed with clues. I relied on minor league baseball stadiums (too small for major league, too big for little league or most universities) and a handy website listing all minor league stadiums. I started with those in Northern industrial states and it did not take long. Google Street views on the north side of Victory Field immediately included all the foreground clues in the contest photograph (red Indian teepee, street light post with no parking sign, brick perimeter fence column, trees, flag poles, memorial plague, etc.). The contest window had to be one of those directly across Maryland Street on the south face of the Marriott complex:


Many readers focused on another key element:

This started with a Google search for “minor league baseball stadium near coal power plant”, which found a nearly identical view:


A native weighs in:

View From Your Window Contest # 2014-09-14 at 10.32.37 PM

I knew this picture instantly (even faster than the view from Monticello earlier this year). In the background is the former Indianapolis Power and Light (now Citizens Thermal Energy) power plant. Interestingly, the long diagonal structure used to haul coal to the boilers, but this facility was switched to natural gas a few years ago so the conveyer system is now obsolete. If you look at a map, you’ll notice a lot of railroad tracks behind Victory Field. I grew up just south of Indianapolis, and I spent a lot of time trainspotting at that location. I live in Berkeley, CA now; thanks for bringing back some really fond memories. I was in Indianapolis at exactly this time last year for the Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society convention, and stayed a couple of blocks away at the hotel in Union Station. That was the first time I’d seen the new blue Marriott tower from which this picture was taken. The blue glass accounts for the blue hue of the picture.

Another has a recommendation:

No useful trivia about the team or stadium, but I will say that the Indy 500 is a cultural event worth attending at least once before you die. Not for the race but for all the stuff that is associated with it. You have no idea how noisy a race is unless you are in the stands…

You have to appreciate the concision of this entry:


1. U.S. ballpark.
2. Industrial city.
3. The flag is not a state flag.
4. It is not a major league ballpark (Google elimination of each one).
5. Aha! Maybe it’s a city flag.
6. Indianapolis.
7. Victory Field.
8. Marriott.

Another native:

I grew up in Indianapolis, and spent a number of cheap dates in high school and college going to see the Indianapolis Indians, a pretty good  AAA baseball team. Back then, the Indians played in Bush Stadium, a charming old park built in 1931 and used to film the underrated Eight Men Out, where a couple of my buddies appear as extras in some crowd scenes.

A Pink Floyd connection:

Pink Floyd - AnimalsFunny Story: I took my 3 daughters to a game there earlier this year. When my oldest (4 years old) saw the power plant to the south (which you can see in the picture) she asked if that’s where the animals live. If you remember Pink Floyd’s Animals album, the resemblance is striking.

As a serious Pink Floyd fan (my second daughter is named Vera), I almost fell over when she said it and it still makes me wonder why the hell she did.

Another former resident provides some context:

That is most certainly Indianapolis, IN, taken from the back side of the JW Marriott, looking over Maryland Street at Victory field.  Without doing too much research, I’d bet it was taken out of one of the hallway windows that line the outside of the meeting rooms. I recognized this immediately.  The old coal fired steam plant right behind victory field is a dead give away to anyone who has lived in the city, as is the Indianapolis city flag flying to the left of the stars and stripes.

Fun personal story here.  I originally moved to Indianapolis 18 years ago.  We moved here because my father had received a job at the Courtyard by Marriott that used to inhabit this same site, which was Howard Johnson’s before that. They renovated it to create more rooms and meeting space for the Super Bowl that was held in Indianapolis a few years back, adding a large curved blue tower that sits alone on the west edge of the downtown skyline (the JW Marriott hotel), and using the former tower of the Courtyard as a split unit between a Courtyard and a Spring Hill Suites.

Victory Field is one of the best Triple A parks in the country, and was designed by the same people who designed Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD.  The design of Camden is responsible as the influence on many “throwback” modern ballparks across all levels of baseball.

This reader worries there are hard times ahead:

IMG_0280Let’s see, two weeks in a row now we’ve had views so easy they almost reach out of the screen, grab your lapels, and scream their addresses in your face.  So I’m betting you’ll go the other direction next week and give us one that’s correspondingly hard.  Something like this? 

Even so, Chini will get it somehow.

And he can’t wait:

VFYW Indianapolis Bird's Eye Marked - Copy

Man, you should have heard the stream of full on, raised-in-Staten Island-so-I-can-curse-in-seventeen-languages invectivery (yeah, invectivery) that came pouring forth after I loaded up this week’s image.  At least I get the satisfaction of knowing that the Dish team might have spent their weekend wading through an even bigger pile of responses than those for last week’s Malibu Barbie of a view. And these easy shots are needed, I suppose, to bring new folks on-board.

This week’s winner is yet another long-winless veteran:

Perhaps to reward us for a long summer, but a bit of an easy one this week, especially with the flag and the Wikipedia entry on USA municipal flags.  But perhaps most interesting was the obvious minor league ballpark with a teepee in it.  (I wonder if Dan Snyder has thought of trying to put traditional Indian housing in FedEx field …)  So a couple of Google searches brought me to the Indianapolis Indians and their Victory Field.

Here’s the reader who submitted the view:

I was elated to see my photo in the contest! After shouting over to my wife that this week’s contest had my photo, I suggested to her that it would probably not be fair for her to enter the contest. I should add that I’m a former winner from a couple of years ago, and that one of my views is actually in the book. In any case, this completely made my day.

The view shows a game in progress of the Indianapolis Indians at Victory Field. The photo was taken from the third floor of the JW Marriott hotel in Indianapolis. I’ve attached a street view showing the window from which I think I took the picture:


There really isn’t any room number, as the photo was taken from a lobby area in the hotel’s convention center. There’s a whole wall of windows overlooking the stadium, and in the street-view picture I gave my best estimate of the window from which the photo was taken. I can add that the flag on the left is that of the City of Indianapolis, of which Wikipedia helpfully points out that “A 2004 survey of flag design quality by the North American Vexillological Association ranked Indianapolis’s flag 8th best of 150 American city flags.

Next week will definitely be a lot harder, so if you’re up for the challenge, see you Saturday. In the meantime, here is this week’s guess collage – see if you can find your entry:


(Archive: Text|Gallery)

The View From Your Window Contest


You have until noon on Tuesday to guess it. City and/or state first, then country. Please put the location in the subject heading, along with any description within the email. If no one guesses the exact location, proximity counts.  Be sure to email entries to Winner gets a free The View From Your Window book or two free gift subscriptions to the Dish. Have at it.

Browse our previous window view contests here.