The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #24


A reader writes:

Let's see; we have a temperate climate in the Northern Hemisphere, given the trees with changing colors.  The city is densely built up, including some high-rises in the background that look very 1970s style, so I think we can eliminate a lot of Eastern Europe, and the church eliminates almost all of Asia. For some reason, the place just looks like it's an odd mix of the British Empire and Continental Europe, but with highrises more reminiscent of North America.  The only city in the world that is the perfect blend of Britain, Europe, and North America is Montreal, so I'm going to go with that.


I'm probably way off but that looks like Harlem on the west side near one of the parks. The graffiti and sheltered balconies look like Williamsburg but the buildings are too high. So I'll go with 130th street and MLK in Harlem.


Chicago? At first I saw those steeples and thought, hey, that church looks familiar. Then I looked at the big building in the background with the wide arches on top and I thought, ok, I definitely know that building. Then I blew up the photo and thought I could even spot an orange Bears towel in one of the windows in the foreground apartment building. The graffiti, the cranes, the Eastern-Orthodox church, and the mix of mid-century apartment building architecture seem to fit what I know about the city I've been living in for six years.

I'm pretty sure I pass this scene every single day on the "L" going to work (where I spend more time than I should reading the Dish). So I always thought my first email to you would be one with commentary (and I swear I'll send one someday).


There is surely enough detail here that someone will get it spot on.

High rise apartments and a number of office towers. So we are talking a major European city.  Gothic church - Catholic.  A mismash of building styles. A number of air conditioning units, so it gets hot in summer.  The trees are turning autumn but still have some green, so southern Europe. My son feels like it is Barcelona, and scanning some Google images it seems consistent. But we couldn't quite pinpoint it precisely.


Barcelona!  The steeples of the Sagrada Familia give it away.  It’s the Spanish version of having the Eiffel Tower in the background of the photo.  Viva Espana!


Somehow the twin spires looked Spanish to me, even though that Gothic style occurs all over. It was probably a mental connection to Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia.  Shiny green roof tile seems connected to Spain or Portugal (when Google-imaged).  Could not find this view anywhere in Spain, however - or anywhere else for that matter.  There’s graffiti all over the world, and I couldn’t decipher it, so language didn’t help.  So, I went with my initial Spanish feeling and chose Madrid.

By the way, I find it curious that when I read the answers to these VFYW contests, I feel almost as successful if my guess is mentioned by other readers (as it usually is – viz last week when I guessed Baja) as if it is actually correct.


Really, that must be the easiest photo you have done yet for your VFYW contest. At first, I thought you could see the Sagrada Familia, but I guess that is not the case. But, anyhow, 'tis Barcelona.


This was extra-difficult.  The older, weathered buildings in the foreground, deciduous trees, preponderance of brick buildings, the Gothic church in the middle, and graffiti made me think of a crowded city in the U.S. Northeast, like the upper reaches of Manhattan or the Bronx in New York, but the architecture is slightly different.  So I thought Canada, but couldn't find anything that matched the density re multi-story residential buildings in Toronto.  There are air-conditioners in the apartments with the jerry-built, enclosed balconies, so it's a place that can get hot, and is, therefore, not too far north

My next best guess was London.  Checked it and other cities in England, and cities in northern and eastern Europe.   Came back to U.S. east coast and mid-west cities.  With all, most skyscrapers are for businesses not residences. Looked at every Gothic church, it seemed, in Google Images.   Closest spire match: a cathedral in Prague - no help. Google-Imaged every brick building known to man.

Where are they building huge, brick residential high-rises?  China?  Shanghai is incredibly dense and has at least one Gothic church.  Maybe it has more?  It also has hot and humid summers.  Ok, I'll go with Shanghai.  Runner-up is Melbourne, Australia.


On Saturday late afternoon I had a chance to open the Dish and look at this week's VFYW contest, expecting another head scratcher, when instead my first though on seeing this week's picture was "Oh, that's Beijing, the Catholic church (St. Michael's) down not too far from ChongWenMen.  This is going to be easy!" 

Ha!  Three days later and I am still not sure what angle the picture was taken from.  At first I thought probably from a room at the Xin-Qiao Hotel (now a Novotel), but that was probably just nostalgia for the days in the early eighties when the Xin Qiao was one of the few places in Beijing to get a cup of coffee and drink it in a heated environment.  Many struggles with Google Earth, and all kinds of searches for pictures of that area of Beijing, and I'm still not sure, but am going to go with some place on Da Hua Rd near Beijing Hospital. 

Whatever the case, this contest sure gave me a chance to reminisce and think about how much Beijing has changed since I first knew it as a student almost thirty years ago.


Oh this is a tough one. At first blush I would have said somewhere in China, but the graffiti on the derelict building in the foreground would seem unlikely in China. Instead, I thought of a big city in eastern Europe, or somewhere like Istanbul or even Tehran. I couldn't find the Anglican-looking church we see behind the apartment blocks, anywhere. But there are two high rise buildings in Sarajevo with an unusual raised structure at the very top, just like the high rise we can see between the two spires, way off in the distance. Therefore, I am going with Sarajevo, Bosnia.


Cologne, Germany? The twin spires immediately reminded me of the Cologne Cathedral, which is hard to forget once you've seen it. I'm not sure of this guess because the Kölner Dom totally dominates the skyline in Cologne, whereas it looks like there are several other comparably tall buildings in this picture. If it's not Cologne, though, those spires are remarkably similar.


Anyone who has ever seen the Dom can guess this one. I'll bet you're gonna get a bazillion correct responses.


I am an American and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine. I currently work in Kyiv. The architecture of the apartment buildings in the foreground is "Khrushchevki", built during the time when Nikita Krushchev was leader of the Soviet Union. The building in the background on the right (with two "gentle" arches near the top - in the center and on the left of the building to the right of the crane) is more modern. Construction cranes (one is shown in the center-background) are ubiquitous as of late, even in the wake of the financial meltdown. Here is a photo of the church:


The difference between the two spires - in conjunction with the Soviet architecture - gave it away for me. This made my day!


This is a view of the towers of the St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine.  (My husband played the organ there in his days as a Soviet organist.) The new construction and chaotic balconies on older buildings look just like the ones we have in Moscow, where we live, but the Catholic cathedral in Moscow is a red brick Gothic building, not a gray one.  So we Google Viewed Catholic churches in Eastern Europe, and this one fit perfectly.


This picture was taken from a building located on Gorkovo Blvd. or Laboratorna Blvd. (my guess is the latter) in the Pechersk raion (district) of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. The church with the twin spires on the left is the Roman Catholic St. Nicholas Cathedral (which is currently owned by the city and used as the National House of Organ and Chamber Music of Ukraine). The building with the circular roof right next to the church houses the Kredit Europa Bank.


This was fun. I just looked at the Wikipedia page for every cathedral in Western Europe before I took a step back.


Finally! I have been close with no confirmation for weeks now. I was sure this was a view of a neo gothic cathedral, and the enclosed balconies brought my mind to China. You have no idea how many cathedrals there are in China. But after exhausting that list, I simply clicked through the examples listed on Wikipedia of gothic revival architecture in countries that were unlikely to have building code inspection. I'm glad I didn't give up; Ukraine was at the bottom of the list.


I usually don't pay too much attention to the VFYW contests; the pictures are often lovely, but I'm generally hopeless with guessing the answers. But a quick glance at this week's photo immediately sparked the thought of the buildings I see every time I drive over the Dnepr from the Kyiv airport into the city (I work on HIV prevention programs in Eastern Europe, and go to Ukraine often).


I believe the address of the building is Gorkogo St 81 Kiev, Ukraine. Bu I can't find a picture of the actual window because it may be a brand new building!  Here are pictures of it being built.


Judging by the angles and green roofed building in the courtyard, it appears that the pic was taken from some room in at 14 Laboratorna St. Kiev, Ukraine.

Hoping to do better than just the building I tried various other searches and didn't come up with much.  I did however find a nice apartment to rent at 15 Laboratorna St.  Only $105 a night for a two-room apartment with just barely a view of 14 Laboratorna St. and St. Noicholas Cathedral.


Well, the weather has been so good here in Hinsdale, IL (Chicagoland), that I haven't been interested in spending precious hours indoors participating in this great contest. However, this week is different. I finished raking the leaves yesterday and the weather turned cool and cloudy today. So, I had time to solve this week's puzzle.

With a great clue (Gothic church), I went hunting in Europe. With the help of Google Earth, I found the location of the photo to be in Kiev, overlooking the St. Nicolas Roman Catholic Cathedral. The address appears to be the corner of Gor'koga and Laboratorna streets (91/14 Gor'koga). I'm going to estimate the floor that the picture was taken is floor 14, to hopefully break any possible ties.

We are suckers for schematics, so the tie goes to this reader:

The cathedral seen in the window view is St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral, and the long building in front of it apparently houses an Apple Store (iLand Macintosh Co.). And I think I've found the exact location of this week's view: it's 14 Laboratorna Street. I've attached a Google satellite view of the neighborhood shown in the photo.


I wish I had a clever story or personal connection to Kiev that I could share, but I don't - I just looked up lists of cathedrals by country until I spotted one that had the slightly mis-matched Gothic spires shown in the photo.

Congrats, we will get a Blurb book to you shortly. See everyone else on Saturday!

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