Monday, April 21, 2008

The Pope comes to NYC

The Pope was in NYC this weekend, as was I. I went to visit a friend, and didn't really consider the Pope's presence, or consider the additional crowd that would be in the city to see (stalk) him.

NYC is full on a normal day. Then, on the weekends, there are plenty of tourists. Add on to that gorgeous weather that brings everyone out of the house, and a visit from the Pope, which is a pretty big deal to some people. I think one of my favorite sights was the group of about 15 nuns parading down 5th ave. . attempting to keep some semblance of a line, like the rows of little girls in the Madeline books.

We were fighting the crowds within a 10 block radius of 72nd street. Roads from E. 72nd Street, Madison to Fifth Avenue were shut down, even to pedestrians. You could still go to certain places, such as the MOMA, but if you didn't go in that museum door, turn around and go back because you couldn't go past the museum entrance. It got a bit frustrating when we found we couldn't cross the street to get to Central Park. Every police officer we asked said we could turn down a different street. I was beginning to think it was an inside joke they all were in on.
Us: "At what street can we turn to get to Central Park?"
Cop: "Hm, 68th."
Us: "Great, thanks."
@ 68th St.
Us:"Looks like this is blocked too.. excuse me, officer, where can we turn to get to Central Park? Another cop told us 68th.."
Cop: "Ha, I don't know who told you that!" (and so on...)

Anyway, we passed by many entrepreneurs selling Pope merchandise. . t-shirts, buttons/pins, even flags. (What do you do with a Pope flag? ) Finally we made it to the park. (My first time there! Crazy, I know.)
It was much calmer on the inside paths of 'The Ramble' and we breathed a sigh of relief to be out of the craziness. We wandered around, and wondered why Central Park didn't have a lot of signage, or why the map given to us at the Belveldere Castle was missing so much information. We listened to stage performer violently strum his guitar and sing unintelligible lyrics, then continued on to find the elusive Strawberry Fields section.

After a ton of walking in what I've determined are not the best walking shoes (but they are so cute!), we headed back to the Bronx for our favorite snack (chips & salsa), Corona, and finally a fabulous hibatchi dinner at Ohana in City Island.

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