The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #39


A reader writes:

Brest, France? Just a wild guess, since I can't see any clues at all in this thing.

Another writes:

The bin, the railings, the green doors, the sky and the wet ground tell me that I know this place well. I think it could be in Dublin, Ireland, maybe outside the Convention Centre at Spencer Dock. Probably wrong, but I still think I'll know the place well.


I am going to guess that this somewhere on the edges of Canary Wharf, London. The late-'80s corporate style matches, as does the waterfront location. However, these elements must exist in any number of other developments of that era - I have checked Vancouver, Seattle, and Dublin without apparent success. The main reason I am unhappy with my guess is the white colonnaded tower in the top right quarter of the photo - nowhere I've looked has that feature.


Ok, I haven't got the slightest idea where this is. That would appear to be a river, not an ocean, so there's no point in searching coastlines, I've got no real idea what the triangle things are on the left, there's a phantom triangle that might be a mountain just above the blue temporary wall, and no one can read the plaque on the near railing. There's a Roman-style cupola or steeple visible in the upper right if you use various Photoshop-like techniques, but that just means there's a town hall somewhere nearby.

In short, the photo has a North American quality to it, the building looks like it was made between the 20s and the 40s or thereabouts, and beyond that, you just plain haven't given us enough clues. Such is life. Ottawa is as good a guess as any.


Venice, Italy?  Specifically, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal. That's the first thing I thought when I saw the photo. The fact that I thought of an answer so quickly suggests I'm probably way off.


I don't know where it is, but it's too fucking clean to be Venice.


Maybe because I was there just a few months ago, stayed at the Shangri-la Kowloon and could walk to the ferry, but I am convinced that it's the Star Ferry Terminal in Hong Kong.


The view is of Speicherstadt, the old warehouse district in Hamburg, Germany.  This area is one of the largest, perhaps the largest, constructions sites in Europe with thousands of apartments and offices currently under construction.  A highlight of the district is the stunning Elbphilharmonie symphony hall (a photo might be nice to see on your blog).


July 2010 photo by Axel Heimken/AP. Another writes:

Long time lurker, first time poster. This reminds me of "Sleepless in Seattle", specifically a place on the west side of Lake Union, right off Westlake Ave N.  My family moved up here to the Puget Sound region four years ago, after visiting from Texas and finding out how beautiful it is here. We stayed on a houseboat, used as a B&B. We don't miss Texas too much - although up here, we have to wait a lot longer for spring to arrive.


Finally, a location I think I've been, but unlike other readers with other views, I can't quite remember where. I have a very vague memory that the photo brought up - of going to a waterside restaurant in the greater Seattle area (or in Victoria) and being seated in an adjoining blue box structure like the one pictured. Also, the hanging flower planters (and gray skies) are totally Pacific NW.


Let's see, we've got plants in bloom, so this location can't have cold winters.  We're on the water, but it doesn't look like a marina.  What it does look like is a ferry terminal.  Finally, there appears to be a few buildings visible over the roof of the facing building in the pane on the right side.  One looks a lot like the top of the San Francisco Ferry Building along the Embarcadero. So I think this is the Embarcadero along the San Francisco waterfront.

Correct! Another submits a photo:


Another sends a daytime shot:


Another writes:

I think you'll get a lot of correct responses for this one.  This is the first one for which I've had any clue.  It's San Francisco, California, USA (where I live).  I'm guessing from an office suite in Pier 3 overlooking the patio of La Mar Cebicheria Peruana.  If you look carefully you can see the very tip of the ferry building in the far upper right hand of the photograph.  I also believe that's Mount Diablo faintly visible above the blue patio awning.


That's the Peruvian seafood restaurant La Mar. I lived in San Francisco until a few months ago and the picture reminds me of how much I miss the great food there.  La Mar is one of the city’s great waterfront restaurants where the quality of the cuisine is matched by the steepness in price.  I remember getting a ceviche and loving it, and my then-girlfriend having a tough time because she didn’t eat seafood!

Another does his research:

This is a picture of Pier 1.5 and La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, taken from Pier 3, on the Embarcadero. Here is a picture off Flickr. Here's a view from the water. Here's a view of Pier 1.5 and Pier 3 from above. Here's another view off the web in 2010, with the blue structure added by then. Here is a blog post with some good pics of the food and the interior of the restaurant, and another shot of the restaurant taken from Pier 3. The blue part of the structure seen in the contest pic wasn't there until later - it was added to bridge to the patio seating. The blue extension matches the blue interior.

La Mar is one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco - great Peruvian seafood! You can see a nearby view in this video, 37 seconds in (It's an interview with La Mar's chef, Gaston Acurio, perhaps Peru's most famous chef. He has opened several La Mar Cebicherias across the Americas):


I have lunch at the benches at this building all the time! This complex is located within the historic district of the Embarcadero. The developer did a great job in reconnecting the street to the water's edge.


This just looked so familiar at first glance. The building in the foreground is actually Pier 1 1/2 (Pier 2 being south of the ferry building) and the longer larger building in the background is Pier 1.


I work in the tourist industry in SF and know this view well. Pier 3 is often referred to as the Hornblower Pier as it is the launching point of Hornblower cruises.


About a million tourists must stroll by here every year.


This is the view from the easternmost of the two large, south-facing doors and windows in the building that houses both Bloomberg and Whiskies of the World. Having led two groups of friends and relatives along my walking tour (Death March) of San Francisco in the past month, this one was obvious to me. The view is toward La Mar Cebicheria Peruana's back patio area with a white, wrought-iron handrail of a neighboring pier visible beyond. The flower baskets hanging from the lamppost and the metal railing were dead giveaways. I remember noticing the enclosed area with its distinctive blue fabric siding, the kind used to protect sails and other vulnerable parts of sailboats from sun damage and the elements.

I always enjoy leaving the bustling Embarcadero and walking along the boardwalk facing Treasure Island and Yerba Buena. Most of my guests are usually preoccupied with their cameras, and the Blue Bottle Coffee we just bought in the Ferry Building, to notice the benches and flowers though.


I have worked for the Port of San Francisco for six years, the administrative offices for which are located in the front of Pier 1.  I have a special attachment to this picture, because I also happen to run the Port's unofficial happy hour.  When I first came to work at the Port the pier in the foreground was in terrible condition, with the apron facing the water (an apron is the decking that creates a space between the pier shed itself and the water) was crumbling and extended only a foot or two past the end of the Shed.  The building was unoccupied.  For the first three years, we watched slowly being developed into what I knew would be the ultimate afterwork drinking spot for my happy hours.


I know this is the Peruvian restaurant La Mar because I celebrated New Years Day there two years ago with my family. My brother was about to be in the doghouse for getting too drunk until I decided to one up him and become the drunkest person in San Francisco. His girlfriend was too busy being annoyed with me to pay him any attention.  Since then he has called me The Wizard because I make magic happen.


First I thought someplace near the London Canal Museum, but the railings didn't match.  The plaque on the railing was the only meaningful clue to me.  A few Google 12893113781 searches for waterfront, railings, and plaques turned up some similar-looking plaques with Herb Caen quotations about San Francisco.

Attached is a picture from a few windows closer to shore.  The railings, lamp posts, and hanging flowers seem similar enough (marked in the photo).  The photo was taken by someone working in the office area visible through the glass partition.  Based on a little more poking around on Google, I would guess that this is the Bloomberg SF bureau in Suite 101.

So so close. Another:

View from Pier 3 looking back to Pier 1.5, just north of the Ferry Building.  Shot from the offices of San Francisco Waterfront Partners, standing about 10 feet from their conference room. Just a guess.

And a correct one!  But the winner of this week's contest goes to the reader who sent in a photo for the tie breaker:


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