(Friday’s post was an April Fool’s prank. Toby Joe and I are NOT moving to Los Angeles. I was pulling your leg. And apparently, for some of you, I may have pulled a little too hard. Oops!)
On Friday, a little after 1:30 p.m. word got out that Pope John Paul II had died. I turned on the news when I realized that many of the major t.v. stations were reporting live from Saint Patricks Cathedral on 54th street in Manhattan. Why bother watching them on TV when they’re directly across the river from me? So I packed up my camera, put on my coat and headed to midtown to join them. After all, this was history in the making and certain things could wait till today to finish.
When I arrived, I learned that the Pope had not actually died. But people were setting up camp as if someone had given us all a countdown. I decided to stick around and watch.
Below are images taken during my spectator time.
(All images taken with a Pentax K1000. Black and white images are shot in TRI-X, color images Kodak Gold. All images are scanned using a Konica Minolta 5400 II Negative Scanner. All images can be enlarged by clicking on the thumbnail.)
ABC news (I think. There were so many of them there, I am not sure who was who.)
Inside the Cathedral. I sat down for a bit to thaw out. The guy in front of me was brought to tears while sitting there.
They had candles set up at the front of the church specifically for the Pope. After we found out he was indeed still alive, people came in from the street to light a candle for him. (I have to say, while I’m no longer catholic, the smells and sounds of a church are still, many times, overwhelmingly beautiful. I enjoyed wandering through the cathedral. No matter what one might believe, it really is a site to see.)
Here is a side alcove filled with more candles. I remember these from when I was a kid. My mother and grandmother used to light one each time we went to church. I always found it rather beautiful, though I had no idea what it really stood for at the time.
A newscaster waiting for feed.
A pacing priest. (Correction: A Knights of Columbus member? Thanks, bryan!)
Another newscaster waiting for information.
There were several cops there. Over the course of the day, as we neared the 5:30 mass, more and more showed up. I sat there, trying to blend in as much as possible so they wouldn’t kick me away.
A priest(?) from the cathedral.
A cop and one of the ushers.
A newscaster mid-broadcast. The guy on the left looks to be silently judging him.
This guy worked for CNN. They had rockstar parking.
A family paying their respects. The father kept quizzing the small boy on facts about the Pope. As I eavesdropped on more and more conversations, I realized I know very little about the Pope.
Some more cops.
A radio tower and Saint Patrick’s steeples.
A conversation between one of the police officers and an usher. This is when I found out that someone during the 1:30 mass at Saint Patricks had made the announcement that the Pope had already died. That’s why there was an urgency to get everyone up there. The cop was not pleased by this as everyone on the squad (on call, etc) was called into work. Errors like this can prove to be really expensive for the city.
This guy stood outside holding this metal briefcase for nearly an hour. I finally left and he was still there.
Cops and news crews.
Another reporter gearing up to go live.
Friday was a surprising wonderful day. I really enjoyed just sitting there taking it all in. Inside the church, there were mourners. On the outside, there were reporters, police officers and tourists. There were also people like me; individuals just there to watch. I love to watch.
Yet to come:
Our night with the Gotham Girls.