Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Philadelphia Prepares for the Pope

This road in Delaware County is open during the Papal visit. Good luck finding it.  I need to travel on it so I am not giving out any secrets.  I hate traffic!

I think this road is open during the Papal visit. You will find out if you can't take Interstate 95 through the city. So far I have not seen any signs but Saturday could be iffy.  If it is a problem be a good sport about it.  Make a good impression. We are having guests and one with very high up there connections!

This road will definitely be closed but you can walk across the Ben Franklin Bridge.  Think of it as a pilgrimage.

You will have plenty of warning on the highways.

This sign translates to I-76 aka Schuylkill Expressway East will be closed From I-76 to I-95 Fri 10PM to Mon. The Ben Franklin Parkway is the heart of most events so I say open much later on Monday. There will be so much to clean up the crews will need the time and space, but that is just my guess.

 No one can emphasize this more. Expect delays!

Once you get in the zone, you will see more friendly signs.

Once inside the city,  you will see the banners and pictures of the Pope and other eventful activities in the city.There is no doubt an electricity to it.

We are the City of Brotherly love but as we all know, not all families are perfect. Maybe not to the outsider, but to all locals it is a known fact to blend in around these parts you have to wear a Phillies shirt or baseball cap or some form of Eagles bling.  We love our sports.  If you happen to have been in town on Sunday last weekend, you would have noticed the green fountain.  No? You missed the green fountain?  Then surely you spotted the other banners flying high above in town. The fountain was growing and glowing with green in anticipation all day for the upcoming Eagles games. Green is the color of the day when our hometown football team is playing. I have not been to town since but it is quite possible to be floating with broken hearts now.  We suffered a terrible loss on Sunday and we really need a miracle.

It is not unusual to see rivals walking together in town. We like to keep our enemies close as we are full aware, they walk among us. I will say the majority of shirts were of the sea of green on Sunday but a few of them there Cowboys were in town in blue.

You may witness some unusual behavior in the city of Brotherly Love, when we say welcome, we really do mean it. We love company. Feel free to run up the Rocky steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.  We do it all the time. The Rocky statue is at the base of the steps on the right, it always has a big crowd, you can't miss it. For the perfect souvenir Rocky photo op, look for the Rocky footprints on the steps, where you too can pose as one of Philly's favorite icons in the movies. It is not unusual to hear many different languages spoken on the Art Museum steps, it is the center of culture in the city it is our showplace, whereas; Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell promote our proud history. Do not be alarmed if someone says "Yo" to you. It does not mean you have done anything wrong. It is comparable to Hola, Bonjour, Hallo, Ciao, Salve, etc. Now yo-yo like the toy, maybe you should step back or discontinue the behavior you were doing.  It could mean, you stepped on my foot, or language, not in front of the kids. It is very important to listen to the tone. Although I never lived in the city, I am born and raised burbs, I consider Philadelphia my hometown and whenever I travel I say I am from Philadelphia.  We are proud of our city and we hope every one including the Pope see the heart and soul of the people of Philadelphia.

The Art Museum is a popular stop along Ben Franklin Parkway but please if it is open climb the steps, walk around the fountain and go in.  It is a great museum.  The Barnes along with the Philadelphia Museum of Art will be closed on Saturday and Sunday due to the high traffic and anticipation of the masses of people in the area.  I would wager to say most of the museums along the parkway will be closed.  You can walk around the outside of the Rodin Museum and maybe peek in the gate at the Thinker  It is also one of my favorite museums in the city. As a side tip, an army of Royal Flush boxes aka port-a-potty rentals have been set up in this area. Depending on your needs I would honker down and camp near here. Jumbotrons  will be set up all along the Parkway, you will get to see the Pope, bring binoculars. If you are looking for Johnny of the spot, this is a good location. Remember this phrase, find the Stinker near the Thinker.

All kinds of gadgets are taking up valuable real estate in the city and that property is parking. Parking is always a premium in the city but during the Papal Visit, forget about it. I don't know how you get one of these valuable pieces of paper, a parking pass but if you have one, you is somebody. That somebody would be a resident of Philadelphia that lives in the zone. Don't we all strive to live in the zone. I wish I had one of these passes however, there is the old adage be careful what you wish for. You have permission to park in the city in the zone.but if you leave you most assuredly will not only lose your parking space but I don't think you can get back in.  I could be wrong about that small print rule and merely falling into the category of people who are weary to engage in the mass hysteria because people are making it sound so complicated. You follow that? Complicated but still a valuable religious experience.

for somebody

No cars allowed, I can understand, for emergency vehicles only and the Popemobile, of course. Barricades to keep the people off those streets and in the selected and secured area makes sense. Golf carts must be to transport VIP's, I didn't get one of those passes either. Spotlights to keep the area well lit and secure and don't forget to smile you are on one of the billions of hidden cameras. There will be one in just about every pocket too.

Even though this scenario looks busy with activity wait until the world descends on Philadelphia. I will not be attending any event in the city. I plan on watching it on television as much as I can. I am very excited for all those that will have the opportunity to see Pope Francis. He seems to be one of the good guys with a lot of work ahead.

I did have a sighting while I was in town and for a split second I thought I saw the Pope.
Wouldn't that be funny?  He has been here the whole time and he is keeping an eye on us all.
You know people are complaining about all the information they are giving out. You know "they" don't tell us every thing, right?

Volunteers, according to one woman I met on the street said, are not being compensated for their time or given any place to stay.  They need to take care of that themselves.

I also met a woman looking around with her daughter.  She works for the city and will have paid holiday Wednesday of this week until next Tuesday.  I don't know how many business will provide that to their employees but that is mighty nice. This same woman lives in Northeast Philadelphia and she like myself was here in 1979 to see Pope John Paul II. She said she would love to bring her daughter to see the Pope but she is afraid of the crowds.

At the Art Museum, I met a couple from Georgia who were in town on vacation and would be leaving by Tuesday and I was asked to take a photograph for a young Filipino in a Rocky pose. Rocky gets a lot of attention in the city. I hope Philadelphia leaves a positive impression on all. We are lucky to host the world this week and weekend.

In 1979, at the last minute my mother said, I want to go. She asked, do you want to go? We caught the train from Chester into the city.  We were approximately a block and a half away from the Parkway.  I saw the Popemobile drive by ever so smoothly through the crowd and every one cheered and waved and smiled.  It was a friendly crowd. We turned and headed back to catch a train.  I don't remember special schedules that day or waiting a long time for the next train. Similar to all the people in Philadelphia this weekend, even though I did not get up close and personal with the Pope in 1979, I can still say with pride, I was blessed and I was there.   It is a different world now. I don't know how the world got so bad.  Maybe we do need a little more faith in humanity. I hope all that attend get to feel the love as they dance through all the festivities Philadelphia can offer to the world.

I know a few people who with be attending different functions during the upcoming week and I hope to have them share their stories next week.

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