NEW YORK - Pope Francis will be a guest at the home of a former New York City mayor during his upcoming visit to the city. Most people like the idea.
The house where Pope Francis will stay is formally called the residence of the Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza.
The papal nuncio’s residence is on 72nd street near Fifth Avenue, close to Central Park.
The neo-Renaissance townhouse was owned in the late 1800’s and into the 20th Century by former New York City Mayor Hugh Grant and his family.
“When the last heir, before he died, decided to bequeath the residence, the family residence, to the pope with the specific purpose that it would be the residence of the Holy See Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations,” said Auza, explaining how the building came to the New York Catholic Diocese.
Seventy-second street is preparing for the visit and a shutdown. The police have deposited barriers and have already placed no parking signs throughout the neighborhood. Traffic in an 80 block area will be banned, or at the least, very limited. There’s mixed feeling in this beautiful New York neighborhood about the pope staying in their midst.
“I think it’s amazing. I think what we and the rest of the world needs some optimism. I think he’s a great leader and he’s going to do amazing things everywhere he goes. I’m very excited," said one woman in the area.
“I don’t like it. I live in the neighborhood right here and it’s going to be impossible to walk," said another.
“The problem is traffic, the tie-up, the inconvenience,” offered a third.
One local man said the current restrictions are normal for such visit.
“I live in the neighborhood. I lived here for 20 years. There have been other Popes here who stayed here before. It’s all. I’m fine with it,” he said.
Overwhelmingly, it seems, New Yorkers are excited and look forward to catching a glimpse of Pope Francis in his travels across the city of New York.