Obviously the tall towers of medieval Flanders are about wealth and power and civic pride, but I'd also like to think they're a response to- even a protest against- the flatness of the landscape. Here are a couple of them- both in Bruges- the famous Belfry and the tower of Saint Saviour's cathedral. My mother in law says she found them oppressive when she was there fifty years ago- and I understand how they could do that to a person. Personally, I find them exhilarating. I wonder what she'd make of New York.
Somehow their being built of brick makes them all the more impressive. I suppose because bricks are so small. Huge things should be made of huge components- like steel girders- not of tiny things like bricks. I think of the medieval brickies up there on their flimsy scaffolding, patiently adding tiny brick to tiny brick- and it makes me proud to be a homo sapiens.