New Yorkers were pleasantly stunned when Pope Francis turned up sporting a beatific smile on a sidewalk in the heart of neon-lit Times Square.
Hundreds whipped out their smartphones and lined up along the street for a photo-op as the smiles widened everywhere.
Squeals of “This is so cool ! The Pope is in Times Square!” moved at lightning speed among the gathering hordes.
This pope handed out blessings, high-fives and deep, meaningful silences to the throngs.
“This will look so good on my Facebook page, I am so excited,” said Veronica, a shopaholic from Texas.
Most people are wonderstruck by how good the wax replica looks. Madame Tussauds has rolled this out as to celebrate the Pope’s historic visit to New York City. Four months in the making, this Pope is quite a sensation.
Regular ticket prices for entry into the wax museum are $30 per adult. “Pictures are free, pictures are free,” an usher assures the swelling queues.
The pontiff’s fans are thrilled with the idea. “We know he was in the UN a couple of days ago but you know how the UN is for us. We can’t even go near the building.”
Pope Francis made history with tough words to the US Congress and people all over the world applauded. They watched it on the internet, they heard or read the speech in the media but only a select few world leaders could get anywhere near the Pope.
For the average Joe in New York, the UN General Assembly every September is “Do Not Cross. Police” signs plastered at least one mile from the UN building on all flanks, an inaccessible bubble.
But Times Square, with its generous doses of the glamorous and the powerful turning up quite casually on the sidewalk, is what gives New York some of its enduring appeal.
Here’s a look at just how New Yorkers reacted to the pontiff’s wax replica: