Pope Francis crisscrossed the island of Manhattan Friday, starting with a speech at the United Nations, followed by an interfaith service at the 9/11 Memorial, a visit with elementary-school students in East Harlem, and a cruise through Central Park. He ended the day with a Mass to about 20,000 people at Madison Square Garden. At each of the pontiff’s stops along the way, hundreds of the faithful, decked out in papal swag, lined the streets. They leaned over metal barricades with their cell phones, hoping for, if not a selfie, at least a glimpse of the motorcade and a waving, white-sleeved arm poking out the window of a Fiat.
A few protesters were scattered among the revelers, but overall, the mood was one of jubilation and excitement. But the crowds couldn’t help but be a little anxious, too. This was most everyone’s first — and very likely last — chance to see Pope Francis in person. The worry over missing him made sharp the anticipation.