As Pope Francis prepared to deliver remarks to the largest gathering of world leaders in the United Nation's history, New Yorkers and pilgrims alike dealt with extreme security measures.
On the corner of 42nd Street and Second Avenue, orange dump trucks sat side-by-side with an NYPD van blocking the entryway of the street as the gates controlled the flow of black sedans and police cars that were going through. Onlookers flocked to the corner, waiting for any glimpse of the pope. Some knew that he was already inside and they may not see him, but they were still holding out hope.
"Make everyone happy. Enjoy your day," one police officer said to a woman who frowned when she had to move.
Kryspina Czerwinkska, 86, held old European flags and a Vatican flag at the curb. She'd been there since 5 a.m. When asked if she believed she'd see the pope, Czerwinkska responded, "How? It's impossible." When asked what the pope meant to her, she just responded with tears and put her hand to her heart. Czerwinkska pulled out a handmade pin of a picture of her meeting Pope John Paul II on two separate occasions, including at the Vatican.
Kelyn Dutra, 37 and her daughter. Madison, 8, both of Cranston, Rhode Island, were perched near the UN since 7 a.m.
"We didn't know which way he was coming. And we don't which way he's leaving," Kelyn said.
"She didn't nap on the train because she was so excited," she said of her daughter. "Philly would have been crazy.I just think it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. Even if we don't see him, she'll always remember being here."
Madison smiled and said, " It's so exciting that I get to be in New York City and I really hope I get to see the pope. I'm not that sleepy. He's very special and I really want to see him."