Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Haarlem: Otherworldly

Watercolor by Hallie Cohen

Most New Yorkers don’t realize Haarlem (with the added "a") is a tourist destination one half hour from Amsterdam. It’s known for its narrow medieval streets which reek of charm, but there’s one site that’s transcendent not just because it’s a church. If carnival barkers cried God, the Cathedral of Saint Bavo would be the first thing to come up on their radar. When he was ten, Mozart played the church's presupposing Christian Muller organ whose piping reaches to the top of the vaulted ceiling.There's a pulpit dating from 1434 with banisters composed of brass snakes, symbolizing evil departing the earth. But the most otherworldly element which catches you unawares as you approach is the outsized and majestic steeple towering over the ancient town like an alien spaceship.Though old and earthbound it's the kind of apparition one encounters in science fiction when a stranger arrives from a strange land.

read "God Redux" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum

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