MIDTOWN — Cheers broke out in St. Patrick's Cathedral Wednesday afternoon as Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was named the new pope in Rome.
Crowds of New Yorkers and tourists huddled around a TV screen beside the historic Midtown church's altar, watching as Bergoglio — who selected the moniker Pope Francis I — addressed the world for the first time as the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.
Many said they were happy that the new pope was from South America — the first from the continent — rather than Europe, hoping that could move the church in a new direction.
"I'm very excited they have brought in a change," said Mary Beadle, who was visiting from Arizona. "This means someone new. New face, new ideas, and hopefully, it will bring a lot of Catholics back to the church."
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, had been considered a possible contender for pope, and a couple of those who were gathered at St. Patrick's on Wednesday said they had been hoping Dolan would be elected.
Geri Piserchia, from New Jersey, said it was "a bit of a disappointment" not to have a New Yorker as the next pope.
With reporting by Michael Phillis