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Pope Francis Visits NYC: Where He Will Be, and Where You Should Go Instead

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Pope Francis will arrive in New York City on Thursday evening, marking the beginning of one of the biggest logistical SNAFU's the city has faced in decades. Never mind the United Nations General Assembly, which is convening this week on the East Side of Manhattan; it's the Pontiff's first United States visit that will reroute thousands of New Yorkers, as entire blocks are closed to traffic and some of the city's most visited landmarks are shut off to the general public. So where, exactly, should you avoid if you're looking to skirt the mass of humanity His Holiness will draw to New York City? Good question. We've mapped the street closures that will be in effect throughout the two-day Papal extravaganza, as well as attractions to visit in lieu of the destinations the Holy Father will himself be gracing.

His New York schedule (copied from here) is below, along with maps of each of the main locations. Click on the maps and streets for more details.

Thursday, September 24

5:00 p.m.: Arrive at JFK Airport. Fun fact: journalists subsidize the Pope's travels, and he's flying American Airlines within the States (yes, he's flying between D.C., NYC, and Philly).

6:30 p.m. Evening Prayer (Vespers) at St. Patrick's Cathedral

Friday, September 25

8:30 a.m.: Visit to the United Nations and Address to the United Nations General Assembly

11:30 a.m.: Multi-religious service at 9/11 Memorial and Museum, World Trade Center

4:00 p.m.: Visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School, East Harlem

5 p.m.(ish): Pope Francis Central Park Procession. Ticketed guests will be allowed to enter starting at 11 a.m. All guests must be at their assigned gate no later than 3:30 p.m.

6:00 p.m. Mass at Madison Square Garden

Saturday, September 26

8:40 a.m. Departure JFK Airport


· The Papal Visit Is Causing a Security Nightmare on the UES [Curbed]
· Curbed Maps archives [Curbed]

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1. Brooklyn Museum

Copy Link
200 Eastern Pkwy
Brooklyn, NY 11238
(718) 638-5000
Visit Website

Many of Manhattan's most famous museums, including MoMA and the Met, will be all but impossible to get to while Pope Francis is in town. But the Brooklyn Museum won't be, and its current roster of exhibits—including one on sneaker culture, a Kara Walker installation, and a retrospective of the innovative Brooklyn artists FAILE—is well worth the trip.

2. Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Copy Link
Great Lakes Ct
New York, NY 11368
(212) 639-9675
Visit Website

Thanks to the Papal procession on Friday (and the security leading up to it), Central Park will be a no-go this week. Instead, head to Queens and visit Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which is even larger than Central Park, and has just as many cool things to do: check out the iconic Unisphere, wander around the dilapidated New York State Pavilion, or check out institutions like the New York Hall of Science and the Queens Botanical Garden.

3. Queens Museum

Copy Link
Great Lakes Court
Queens, NY 11368
(718) 592-9700
Visit Website

While you're at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, be sure to take a detour to the Queens Museum. It's located in the former New York City Building, originally constructed for the 1939 World's Fair. At one point, the building was the headquarters of the United Nations (whose current complex will be a no-fly-zone because of the Pope); now, it hosts innovative, borough-focused exhibits. It's also home to The Panorama of the City of New York, a scale model of the five boroughs that's one of the most fascinating exhibits in the city. [Photo by Max Touhey]

4. Prospect Park

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Prospect Park
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 965-8951
Visit Website

Or you could visit Prospect Park, which has the added bonus of being another New York City park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the architects of Central Park. Head to the Vale of Cashmere, one of the quietest spots within the park, if you need a place for peaceful reflection. [Photo by Monica Berger]

5. The Green-Wood Cemetery

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500 25th St
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(718) 210-3080
Visit Website

It's no surprise that the recently-restored St. Patrick's Cathedral will be overtaken by Papal activity—and other popular houses of worship, like Trinity Church and St. Paul's Chapel, are also in Pope Francis's sphere of closures. If you're looking for a peaceful spot with religious (and historical) significance, go to Green-Wood: There are plenty of spots to explore, including the beautiful 1911 chapel; the grounds are serene; and there are more historical sites than you can count on both hands.

6. Governors Island

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This is the final weekend that Governors Island will be open to the public, so make the most of it. On Thursday, there's a hard hat tour of the new hills being built, which will tower 70 feet over the island. Pro tip: Leave from the ferry landing at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park—thanks to the Pope's visit to the World Trade Center, downtown is going to be a mess.

7. Rockaway Beach

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Want to get as far away from the congestion of the Pope's visit as possible? Head to the Rockaways; swimming may be off-limits at this point, but there are still plenty of activities—tacos, shopping, people-watching—to keep you occupied. There's also a small park that pays tribute to Rockaways residents lost on 9/11, located near the Beach 116th Street subway stop. [Photo by Scott Lynch]

8. New York Botanical Garden

Copy Link
2900 Southern Blvd
Bronx, NY 10458
(718) 817-8700
Visit Website

The leaves may not be turning just yet at the New York Botanical Garden, but that doesn't mean it won't be a beautiful place to visit this time of year. Plus, there are only a few weeks left to check out its blockbuster Frida Kahlo exhibition, which is a good alternative if you can't get to the Museum of Modern Art this week. [Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen]

9. Kings Theatre

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1025 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11226

Both Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall are within the area that will basically be off-limits during the Pope's visit—and thousands of spectators will pack MSG on Friday for a papal mass. But the historic Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, which reopened this February, is well outside of the Pope's purview and is just as historic as either of those Manhattan venues. If you're an Of Monsters and Men or Jackson Browne fan, you're in luck: they're playing on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

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1. Brooklyn Museum

200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Many of Manhattan's most famous museums, including MoMA and the Met, will be all but impossible to get to while Pope Francis is in town. But the Brooklyn Museum won't be, and its current roster of exhibits—including one on sneaker culture, a Kara Walker installation, and a retrospective of the innovative Brooklyn artists FAILE—is well worth the trip.

200 Eastern Pkwy
Brooklyn, NY 11238

2. Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Great Lakes Ct, New York, NY 11368

Thanks to the Papal procession on Friday (and the security leading up to it), Central Park will be a no-go this week. Instead, head to Queens and visit Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which is even larger than Central Park, and has just as many cool things to do: check out the iconic Unisphere, wander around the dilapidated New York State Pavilion, or check out institutions like the New York Hall of Science and the Queens Botanical Garden.

Great Lakes Ct
New York, NY 11368

3. Queens Museum

Great Lakes Court, Queens, NY 11368

While you're at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, be sure to take a detour to the Queens Museum. It's located in the former New York City Building, originally constructed for the 1939 World's Fair. At one point, the building was the headquarters of the United Nations (whose current complex will be a no-fly-zone because of the Pope); now, it hosts innovative, borough-focused exhibits. It's also home to The Panorama of the City of New York, a scale model of the five boroughs that's one of the most fascinating exhibits in the city. [Photo by Max Touhey]

Great Lakes Court
Queens, NY 11368

4. Prospect Park

Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Or you could visit Prospect Park, which has the added bonus of being another New York City park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the architects of Central Park. Head to the Vale of Cashmere, one of the quietest spots within the park, if you need a place for peaceful reflection. [Photo by Monica Berger]

Prospect Park
Brooklyn, NY 11215

5. The Green-Wood Cemetery

500 25th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232

It's no surprise that the recently-restored St. Patrick's Cathedral will be overtaken by Papal activity—and other popular houses of worship, like Trinity Church and St. Paul's Chapel, are also in Pope Francis's sphere of closures. If you're looking for a peaceful spot with religious (and historical) significance, go to Green-Wood: There are plenty of spots to explore, including the beautiful 1911 chapel; the grounds are serene; and there are more historical sites than you can count on both hands.

500 25th St
Brooklyn, NY 11232

6. Governors Island

New York, NY 10004

This is the final weekend that Governors Island will be open to the public, so make the most of it. On Thursday, there's a hard hat tour of the new hills being built, which will tower 70 feet over the island. Pro tip: Leave from the ferry landing at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park—thanks to the Pope's visit to the World Trade Center, downtown is going to be a mess.

7. Rockaway Beach

Queens, NY 11693

Want to get as far away from the congestion of the Pope's visit as possible? Head to the Rockaways; swimming may be off-limits at this point, but there are still plenty of activities—tacos, shopping, people-watching—to keep you occupied. There's also a small park that pays tribute to Rockaways residents lost on 9/11, located near the Beach 116th Street subway stop. [Photo by Scott Lynch]

8. New York Botanical Garden

2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458

The leaves may not be turning just yet at the New York Botanical Garden, but that doesn't mean it won't be a beautiful place to visit this time of year. Plus, there are only a few weeks left to check out its blockbuster Frida Kahlo exhibition, which is a good alternative if you can't get to the Museum of Modern Art this week. [Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen]

2900 Southern Blvd
Bronx, NY 10458

9. Kings Theatre

1025 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11226

Both Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall are within the area that will basically be off-limits during the Pope's visit—and thousands of spectators will pack MSG on Friday for a papal mass. But the historic Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, which reopened this February, is well outside of the Pope's purview and is just as historic as either of those Manhattan venues. If you're an Of Monsters and Men or Jackson Browne fan, you're in luck: they're playing on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

1025 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11226