On September 24th and 25th, Pope Francis will make his first visit to New York City on his first trip to the United States. Though the oft-liberal pope has had his reservations about America, that does not seem to have stopped pope-fever from hitting the city. Here are 9 ways to catch a glimpse of the pope in New York City this month:
1. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue, a church with a storied history and many secrets, will be Pope Francis’ first stop when he arrives in New York City on September 24th. He will join the evening prayer in an event only open to the clergy of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but he has to get into the building somehow which will inevitably mean there will be crowds out front. Maybe the pope can help the city locate the lost cornerstone of St. Patrick’s! And in time for the visit will also be the completion of the cathedral’s three-year renovation.
2. United Nations General Assembly
The $2.1 billion renovation that United Nations has undergone in the last couple years will be a fitting backdrop to Pope Francis’ address to the General Assembly on the morning of September 25th. See more photographs of the United Nations complex here. For those who hope to get a glimpse inside the United Nations on non-pope visit days, book a lunch at the United Nations Delegates Dining Hall which is open to the public with advance reservation.
3. 9/11 Memorial and Museum
From the United Nations, Pope Francis will head to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum to give a multi-religious service at the World Trade Center. We assume he’ll walk the grounds around the two footprints of the former World Trade Center, now the memorial of the site and take in the museum, opened in 2014.
For other New Yorkers, there are many other 9/11 artifacts throughout New York City. Check out our guide here.
4. Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem
Harlem is a popular spot for visiting dignitaries. Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton visited the Northside Center for Child Development on their 2014 visit. At 4pm on September 25th, Pope Francis will visit Our Lady Queen of Angels School, a Catholic Elementary School (CESA) of the Archdiocese of New York on East 112th Street serving an immigrant community of students Pre-K through 8th Grade.
5. Motorcade in Central Park
At 5pm, the Papal Motorcade will go through Central Park in one of the first events open to New York City residents. Still, you can’t just show up in Central Park for this. There’s a ticket giveaway (with “tens of thousands of tickets” according to the Wall Street Journal), open to New York State residents over 18 and over. The giveaway ends September 7th, but you’ll also be able to view the motorcade on NY1.
Although the NYPD wants to “keep him in a bubble,” in the words of commissioner Benjamin Bratton, the pope has made it clear he wants the opportunity to greet residents in a less protected fashion.
The motorcade will take place on Central Park’s West Drive from 72nd Street to 60th Street.
6. Madison Square Garden
Though Madison Square Garden has not always been located atop Penn Station, it has certainly played host to many historic moments: from Marilyn Monroe’s famous Happy Birthday to President John F. Kennedy, a famous boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, and even a 1933 Nazi Rally. At 6pm on September 25th, Pope Francis will give a mass at Madison Square Garden, from a simple wooden chair built by immigrant laborers from the Don Bosco Workers charity in New York. The venue was chosen because Pope Francis wanted to “see as many of my people as possible,” says Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
Tickets for the mass are being distributed by the Archdiocese of New York, with some additional distributed through other dioceses in New York State, like the Syracuse Diocese which is giving away 174 ticketsa to the public via a lottery to subscribers of their newspaper.
7. Upper East Side Residence
Pope Francis will stay in an Upper East Side townhouse at 20 East 72nd Street, the “official residence of the Apostolic Nuncio from the Holy See to the United Nations,” run by the Archdiocese of New York, as reported by Regis High School. The townhouse has a historical connection to New York City as well, owned by the widow of New York City mayor Hugh J. Grant.
8. Pope Francis Mural
A commission by the Diocese of Brooklyn, a 180-foot mural of Pope Francis now stands at the corner of 34th Street and 8th Avenue near the entrances to Madison Square Garden. Painted by the artist Van Hecht-Nielsen, the mural may be “possibly the largest hand-painted mural of Francis ever done,” writes The New York Times. “Welcome Pope Francis,” says the text above the portrait and in a sign of the times, instructions on how to follow the pope with hashtags #PopeInUSA and #PapaEnUSA.
9. Papal Visit 2015, a Time Warner Channel
The Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle
Time Warner Channel has created a dedicated channel, Papal Visit 2015, for the visit with 24/7 coverage on Channel 199. This will cover Pope Francis’ entire United States visit, starting September 20th until his departure from Philadelphia on the 27th. The programming will be a mix of live streams and as the New York Times describes,”on-the-scene commentary and analysis…a special edition of NY1’s nightly call-in show and a daily recap show at 10 p.m., recounting the day’s events.”
10. John F. Kennedy Airport
Pope Francis will fly in and out of New York City through JFK Airport, but so far the Port Authority has not responded about public access (we’re guessing the answer is no). Will the pope fly out of the same runway that Air Force One uses?