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Harlem Residents Frustrated by Pope-Related Security Measures and Closures

By Gustavo Solis | September 25, 2015 1:51pm
 Several people had a hard time getting home because of Pope-related street closures Friday morning.
Street Closure Headache
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EAST HARLEM — The pope’s visit has turned city streets into a frustrating maze blocking resident from their homes.

Officers manning street closures for the Pope's visit are rerouting people trying to cross Second Avenue to get to the Jefferson Houses, but conflicting directions have led to people walking in circles as they try to figure out how to get to their destinations, residents said.

“This is frustrating,” said John Cruz, 32. “I just want to go home.”

Cruz walked from 112th Street and First Avenue to his barber on 110th Street and Third Avenue. His regular barber wasn’t in so he tried to go back home, but by the time he tried to cross the streets were blocked for the pontiff’s visit.

“He didn’t really tell me where to go,” Cruz said about an officer checking IDs and directing traffic. “Apparently I may have to go to the west side.”

Despite showing an ID that lists his address, Cruz was not allowed to cross 112th Street, where the pope will meet students from Our Lady Queen of Angels.

Marcelina Jackson, 25, spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to get to 116th and First Avenue. Friday is her birthday and she needed to get to a beauty salon to get her hair done.

“My appointment is at 12:30,” she said at noon. “I don’t know if I’ll make it.”

Although she was frustrated by the delays, Jackson said she was excited about the pope’s visit.

Christine Mitchell, 53, left her home at 112th Street and Second Avenue, just a block away from the Our Lady Queen of Angels, to get breakfast and go grocery shopping Friday morning.

What turned into a 10-minute walk back home, became a 30 minute ordeal, she said.

“It’s great that the pope is coming and doing his thing,” she said. “But come on, this is ridiculous.”

She eventually crossed on 110th Street and walked up to the Jefferson Houses.