In New York: Mortar and the Cathedral

In the Middle Ages, cathedrals often took hundreds of years to build. Slowly stretching skyward, they consumed the passionate skill and, indeed, the entire lives of generations of carpenters and stonecutters. The building of a cathedral, after all, is mystical work. It requires men to celebrate the glory of God in stone, with each individual stone serving as the unique calling card of the mason who finishes it and sets it in place. The architectural reach toward heaven drove men to build ever higher, to put in larger and larger windows, to shape cathedrals of lighter and lighter stone until, at...

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