|An empty East 73rd Street between Madison|
and Park Avenues
This afternoon I was once again required to get down to midtown. I left my apartment at 73rd Street between Park and Madison Avenues around 1:30 for a 2:15 appointment at 53rd Street, taking one of the Fifth Avenue bus routes to get there. After my appointment and a snack I walked home up Fifth Avenue and through Central Park to 72nd Street, so I covered quite a lot of the areas that will see the Pope tomorrow and Friday. And here is what I saw along my way.
At 1:30 my street was completely void of parked cars, although traffic could still drive through.
|East 72nd Street between Madison and Fifth Avnues|
The same barricades were piled up along Fifth Avenue in the 50s, waiting to be positioned (probably overnight).
|Fifth Avenue at 53rd Street with steel barricades ready to be|
The thought flashed through my mind that whoever makes these things must have really made a lot of money lately.
|Group of young priests or seminarians with liturgical items|
One of the stranger sights I saw all day occurred after my appointment, when I walked down Madison Avenue to a favorite snack site. As I walked past the Madison Avenue side of the Palace Hotel I noticed a group of young men in clerical dress exiting the Archbishop's residence at 50th Street. As I approached and they crossed the street I realized that they were carrying liturgical stuff. One had a green chausable on a hanger, another had a black bag that probably contained a chalice and paten, a third had what looked suspiciously like the silver cross that was carried by Pope St. John Paul II and frequently used by Pope Francis and a fourth had what looked like the stand for the cross. They continued to head east along 50th Street. I couldn't help but wonder where they were going.
|St. Patrick's Cathedral, 50th Street and Fifth Avenue|
|St. Patrick's Cathedral, 51st Street and Fifth Avenue|
(the portable toilets are the small structures with the
|In front of Tiffany's|
However, there were a few things that made me laugh, especially the use being made by a tourist couple of the concrete blocks positioned in front of Tiffany on 57th Street and Fifth.
|Entrance to Central Park, Fifth Avenue at 59th Street|
After a leisurely stroll through the zoo, where I joined a group of small children who were squealing with delight as they watched the sea lions doing some after hours cavorting in their pool, I exited around 6:20 at 72nd Street and Fifth to a decidedly more active scene than the one I had left about five hours before.
|Fifth Avenue at 72nd Street|
Police were hard at work moving the previously piled up concrete blocks into the road (using a fork lift). Farther down the block I could see that a police guard has been added in front of the residence of the papal nuncio and that the street was now filled with various kinds of police vehicles.
|Corner of Madison and 72nd Street with the blocks, gates|
and guard box in position.
|Pope Francis bobble head in the window|
of L'Antiquaire shop
Finally, a message from building management had been posted in the mail room. It advised tenants to bring photo ID with them for the next few days. I have photo ID and official mail all ready to carry with me to prove my identity and residence.
I probably won't be able to do much about seeing the Pope this time around. I don't have tickets for any event or for the park or the streets and I need to be elsewhere most of the time anyway. I will be at a concert tomorrow evening at my parish.
So, welcome to New York, Pope Francis. We're ready for you!