New York City is all-aflutter with preparations for Pope Benedict XVI’s arrival on Friday. His path, like all good parade routes, will take the pontiff just past our “home” and is sure to send traffic patterns, which even on a good day are slow moving, topsy turvy. On Saturday April 19th, 2008 the Holy Father will be traveling North along 5th Avenue from St. Patrick’s Cathedral to 72nd Street in the pope mobile. The procession is set to begin at approximately 1:15pm. He should reach our block just before we sit down for Seder.
Since I’m the only one in my family that gets a kick out of the parades, I trust I’ll be standing outside, on my own, in a sea of other lookie loos. In the past year I’ve been witness to the German, Puerto Rican, Greek and St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Each one has it’s own flavor, rhythm and pace. I make it a habit to bring a souvenir, German flag, a shamrock, home after each of my forays and decorate the bronze mother and child that greets us as we enter our home. Wonder what Saturday will bring? A model pope mobile?A button that reads, IXVI or . The pontiff’s father was “not a Nazi” however, as a 14 year old, then Joseph Ratzinger was a member of Hitler’s Youth Movement (which was mandatory…). Seems strange to think that there weren’t other possible popes with less murky formative years. What can I say?
I set out for a meeting yesterday in Times Square yesterday and upon nearing the Fifth Avenue N,R.W subway station, stumbled upon a group of nearly 30 mostly uniformed officers from the NYC Police, Fire and Parks Departments. Mostly men, there were three or four middle-aged women with name badges slung across their droopy chests. The women were taking notes on steno-pads while the looked skyward. Stopped at the crosswalk near the Pierre Hotel on the Southwest corner of Fifth Avenue at 61st, I asked one of the “officers” if he was part of the Pope’s advance squad. “Yes, we are. You’re good.” I smiled because, yes, I am good. Good at a lot of things. Good at minding my own business, I am not. I moved along, somewhat in awe of the preparations that must be going on throughout this City of ours. Among other “crowd” pleasers or places where crowd control will be in order. Were they trying to figure out where they might position their sharpshooters or places that needed to be secured in advance of the arrival of his Holiness. I don’t think they were looking toward the heavens hoping for answers. Not in this town. I’ll keep you posted as to any other relevant sightings. Should be fun!