The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #159

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A reader writes:

Deciduous trees of some sort, mechanically raked beaches, the characteristic look of white lifeguard stands and jetties jutting out into the ocean, and something about the quality of the light on the water all say “New Jersey beach” to me. The big hotels of some sort in the back ground, suggest North Jersey, rather than South Jersey. I’ll take a flyer and say it is Ocean Grove.


Playa del Carmen, Mexico? The long jetty has changed in the 20 years since I was last there. And there’s much new construction near the beach, but the look is much the same.


That sure looks a lot like the “seedier” part of Malibu, near Pacific Palisades and just north of Topanga Canyon. Catalina peeking over the horizon to the right. I think I parked in that parking lot in the foreground on many an occasion in the ’70s.

Another gets on the right track:

I live on Lake Michigan, and this just screams large, inland lake.  Reminiscent of Rust Belt.  Could be any lakeside area in an arc starting at Buffalo, NY westward, and up to Duluth, MN. How about Erie, PA?

Another locates the right city:

The window latch looks American (I had one similar in Texas many years ago, never have had overseas); the architecture looks vaguely New England to me; the beach feels like a lake (not enough protection for it to be the ocean or a large sea), but for it to be a lake it has to be a large lake because you can’t see the opposite shore. Putting that together led me to the Great Lakes. The empty beach and calm waters make me assume it’s early morning – thus the shadows mean we’re looking north on a western shore.

So then it was a matter of searching Google Earth for a beach front with a uniquely shaped breakwater and high rise buildings in the background. After a lot of trail and error, that led me to the Loyola University Lake Shore Campus, where I was able to find Santa Clara Hall (the building in the right foreground with the square chimney and unusual atrium. I’d like to figure out the actual building, but I’m in Laos and my Internet is dodgy and I can’t get street view to open, so this will have to do: Loyola University Lake Shore campus in Chicago, looking north over the Santa Clara Hall.

Another sends an aerial view:


Another reader:

I recognized this view immediately! I lived in Chicago about 15 years ago, when my daughter was born, and we used to visit Rogers Park often. Our close friends lived a few blocks away in a rental on Pratt, overlooking the beach. It was one of the few affordable lakefront areas left. Love it there.

This is a view to the north from the Campus Towers apartment building at 1033 W. Loyola Ave., adjacent to Loyola University. It’s from a window at the front of the building, on about the 8th floor, with a slight northeast angle. That’s Hartigan Beach (though people tend to refer to the beaches informally by street names, and the part we see is at the end of W. Albion), one of a string of public beaches along Lake Michigan run by the Chicago Park District. The Rogers Park neighborhood borders Evanston, IL. If you follow the shoreline and go a bit inland, the small cluster of tall buildings you see through the upper left of the window is in Evanston.

I haven’t made a VFYW guess in months (years?). But I did come close on a couple. I have my fingers crossed on this one, but I’m worried that anyone who’s ever been to Chicago is going to recognize it!


That is the pier with the light stretching out into Lake Michigan, taken from south. On the spit of land in the distance at the top left of the lake lies the Northwestern campus. You can walk right out the city from Pratt Boulevard onto the beach. A beautiful spot, and a fitting photo; I live just a few minutes’ walk away and must now say goodbye, as I am leaving Chicago after nine wonderful years.

Another angle:


Another reader:

Other than the fact that this is the alma mater of Bob Newhart, I have no stories about the North Shore of Chicago. But I do have a story about how many of these window views I’ve identified:

#33 — Double bay in Sydney, but that was before I realized we had to identify the very window. And I e-mailed it to the Andrew’s address, not the contest.
#40 — Mission Bay, San Diego. Got the resort right, misidentified the porch one cottage to the right.
#76 — MS Galaxy of the Tallink Silja Line docked in Stockholm (won it, got the book, thank you.) 11/12/2011
#125 — Balmoral Lodge, Queenstown, NZ 10/20/2012
#131 — Glen Drive, Sausalito, CA 112/4/12
#142 — The Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage, AL 2/23/13 (off by one floor. Damn!)
#157 — Tom-na-Criege Lodge in Onich/North Ballachulish, Scotland (too easy, I know)
And this one.

I know, as a previous winner, I’m not eligible to win, but going through the archives to get the right numbers of each brought back so many memories of fun Saturdays chasing some of these. I haven’t had time to go after all of them but this is a great game to play.

Another view:

6-22-13 vfyw2

Regarding the track seen above:

As an alumnus of Loyola University Chicago this week’s photo looked immediately familiar.  The picture is taken from the Campus Towers at 1033 W. Loyola – looking north to Hartigan Beach.  I ran cross country and track at Loyola.  At the beginning of the school year our morning workout would be to run two miles north along Lake Michigan to the Evanston border and back to campus – ending at Hartigan Beach where we would finish with push-ups and sit-ups.

The field next to Campus Towers is named for my former teammate and friend, Sean Earl, who died from cancer in the year 2000 at the age of 21.  Sean was a walk-on to the Cross Country team.  He didn’t have a lot of talent – in fact he struggled to make it through that easy four-mile run before the workout on Hartigan Beach for the first month of his freshman year.  But he didn’t give up.  He squeezed every bit of potential out of his body – a body which had a tumor that had been there since he was born – and yet wasn’t found until his junior year.

As you know, losing someone close to you when you’re young changes the way you see the world.  Thanks for providing a reason to think about him.  Thinking of him reminds me about what’s important in life.

On a more mundane note, another reader gets the right floor:

Well I think it’s just dumb luck that I figured out this week’s VFYW. With just a random sense that I was looking at one of the Great Lakes (not that I’ve ever been), and knowing that a view from that high up meant that the window was in or near a city, I started scrolling around Google maps until I stumbled across the Chicago geography that we’re looking at. Specifically, we’re looking north from the Campus Towers Apartment Building on Loyola University’s campus. The exact address is 1033 W. Loyola Avenue. Given the slant of the window and the positioning of the photo, I know we’re looking out of the furthest east window on the north side of the building. I’ll guess the 13th floor, since in every previous entry I’ve guessed too low, and the 13th floor appears to be one of the top floors in the building.

Only one other reader matched that accuracy, but this one breaks the tie by having correctly guessed a difficult view in the past:

Seemed pretty clear this was North America, based on the style of some of the buildings. My first thought was East coast, but the beach seemed too small and the water too calm to be the Atlantic. That left one of the Great Lakes. Seems to be taken from a rather tall building, given that the window is quite a bit above the surrounding 3 and 4 story structures. One house in particular reminds me of style of house that my grandfather built and lived in in the early part of the 20th century in Chicago. So that is where I started looking. It didn’t take long to zero in on the area near Loyola University, where the shore and jetty match the VFYW image perfectly. The picture was taken from the Campus Towers apartment building, at 1033 West Loyola Avenue.

Getting the window needs a bit more effort. The building has two distinctive sort of bay window shapes in the front. Given the angle of the window in the VFYW image, the picture was taken from one of the two columns of windows that angle toward Lake Michigan. The view also aligns almost perfectly with the structure/shape on the roof of the building across the street, which means that the image was taken from the bay windows on the lake side of the building.

Now comes the WAG (Wild Ass Guess) – which floor. I am going to guess the 13th floor (do buildings have a 13th floor?) counting the ground floor as 1. I circled the window in the street view below:


I have erred on the low side in the past, this time I am probably too high.

Not this time. One more reader:

Unlike previous entries now I have a story and a connection. I am so excited that I can hardly type this, but here goes. This is from Rogers Park in Chicago, until very recently my neighborhood. It is the far north of the city, just a few blocks south of Evanston (visible, barely, as the tip of Northwestern’s lakefront campus in the far distance). The picture is taken from (probably) the 9th floor or 10th of 1033 W Loyola Avenue (remember that most buildings in Chicago use the European system of numbering floors: ground, 1, 2, etc.) and your source is likely a student at Loyola.

I walked my dogs past this building every day for years and lived just a few blocks away with my partner. In the picture you can just almost see the roof of the building where we met at a New Years Eve party in 2001. You can see the “lighthouse” (a small navigation light that everyone calls the Lighthouse) on the end of the pier off of Loyola Park. It is a great place to take a date on a summer’s night for a walk and a kiss. You can see the tennis courts that some dog owners use as a fenced-in poop-zone and playground (I say this as a dog owner who never did that.) You can see the spot on the beach that needs to have all of the broken bottles and glass cleaned up before I will go out there again in bare feet (all helpfully marked on my annotated map.)

This is an area of Chicago that should be in much better shape. There is a great sense of community here, a lot of quirky shops, and a lot of neighborhood sponsored street art. People who live in Rogers Park tend to love, passionately, this offbeat neighborhood. The area around Loyola University (the location of the window) anchors the south of this wonderful neighborhood and gives the area a touch of campus life. There is a great world to explore in this photograph.

And yet the crime and violence is increasing and no one seems to be able to do anything about it. Just this past week a favorite bar a few blocks north saw the brutal beating of a regular who tried to stop a fight. Locals are worried that this sort of thing will get out of hand and a great neighborhood collapse into the crime and violence of more challenged neighborhoods of Chicago. It will take some effort and attention to save a wonderful neighborhood.

I am excited to see a neighborhood that I love in the contest. I love the idea that some of your readers will have the surprising realization that Chicago has many miles of wonderful beaches. That brings me a big smile.