From a sunrise over Harlem to a sparkling Turkish bay, Open Salon bloggers share what they see from their windows
Since 2001 I've lived on the 22nd floor of a condo in downtown Miami, my home in the sky. I came here from New York with my husband, who had just retired. Three months later he unexpectedly died. So I lived alone here, with my cat Sweetie, for almost 10 years until my recent remarriage. When I crave stimulation I seek out the view of the city side. Besides the downtown skyscrapers and streetscape, I watch planes taking off and landing, metrorails whizzing by, and the southernmost end of the great interstate, 1-95, which begins in Canada, and which I have driven end to end. The views from my window have been so important, because they show me the world beyond my own.
Every day at my writing table I have the gift of an amazing view of Seattle. Buildings stretch out from downtown past Lake Union. The Space Needle looms to the right and the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains stand behind it. I watch hundreds of cars passing every day. And all day long people walk up and down the bridge. I see the same people over and over, but most I’ve never seen before. They are walking the dog, buying the groceries, going to work or the gym.
The view from my fifth-floor Berlin apartment isn't glamorous, nor is it particularly scenic. But it extends far out West, beyond the neighboring apartments and toward the many other places I call home. It's a good view for longing gazes. In the fall, the sunsets from my desk are unbeatable. And at night, the blue lights of the Aral gas station across the street cast a cool glow on my ceiling. If nothing else, they're a nice reminder that the station's shop is open 24 hours a day. The New Yorker in me couldn't be happier.
The view from my window can be very entertaining and instructive even though I've never been one of those who could sit still for more than a minute to smell the roses. What I enjoy the most, coming from a small city and growing up most of my life in one- or two-story houses, is that as big and busy as São Paulo can sometimes seem, there all these mismatched community pockets rising up in the air where lives pulse and touch on a daily basis.
New York (Midtown East)
Down in the city I have a small office in the Chrysler Building which has spectacular views if you are on a high floor. I am much lower in the building as the photo indicates. From my floor you have a clear view of the MetLife, Graybar, Grand Central Station and Grand Hyatt buildings across Lexington Avenue.
The view from my second-story window gives me an eyeful of Bitez Bay on the southeastern Aegean coast of Turkey. I usually check it out to see if the bay is calm or somewhat wavy. If the conditions are right I hop down to the shore, which is less than a minute away. There, I either make a photograph if one presents itself, like the one above, or I wander along the shoreline to where I have been making balanced stone sculptures.
This is my backyard in an Ohio city -- what I see from my office window. Yes, it's inside the city limits, and within sight of Krogers, and several fast food stores. But, it's a private place that feeds my creative appetite throughout the day. It may be only 5 acres, but this is hidden from view that passersby cannot see. I need this place as much as it needs me.
We live in a drafty, old farmhouse that is cold in the winter and hot in the summer but it is a home of many views from many windows that allows us to look out onto our own personal world and everything that is important. Best of all is the view from our living room where we get to enjoy the late afternoon sun in the surrounding forest.
How should we build the cities of our dreams? How do we create the urban spaces which reflect our values and the ways we want to live? In cities around the world, the future is being created now -- and Henry Grabar will chronicle the most exciting and innovative ideas. Follow him on Twitter at @henrygrabar.