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Here's How to Avoid Pope Francis Traffic Chaos Today

By Savannah Cox | September 25, 2015 9:16am
 While the Pope's visit to the city will put traffic to a halt in many places, the same can't be said for your workday.
While the Pope's visit to the city will put traffic to a halt in many places, the same can't be said for your workday.
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Franco Origlia/Stringer

In case you missed it, Pope Francis is in the city — and it is going to be a logistical nightmare.

In case you want to miss that, we’ve compiled a list of places to avoid this Thursday and Friday, corresponding with the pontiff’s general schedule. Sorry, Francis — it’s not you, it’s us.

►All morning until 1 p.m.: Avoid Midtown East and the Financial District.

The Pope’s visit to the United Nations coincides with the first day of the UN’s Sustainable Development Summit, which means that the streets of the city’s diplomat-heavy neighborhood will be extra clogged.

Don’t bother with 42-48 Street on First and Second Avenue, as roads will be closed to traffic and likely swarming with crowds.

The Pope is then heading to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum to host a multi-religious service at 11:30 a.m., which means that the far west chunk of the Financial District will be pretty hard to reach (from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., northbound West Street will be closed from Battery Place to Murray Street).

Likewise, for those few hours, don't take a coffee break at or near Zuccotti Park, as vehicular traffic will be closed there, leaving the space only to teem with people.

►All day: Avoid Central Park, East Harlem and Madison Square Garden areas.

The Pope will be visiting Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in East Harlem at 4 p.m., before which roads (106-116th Streets between Second and Third Avenue) will have been blocked or closed to traffic for hours.

Francis will then embark on his motorcade through the Central Park at 5 p.m., which means that the area will be packed well before (the Mayor’s Office expects 80,000 people at the park on Friday).

Concluding his whirlwind tour of the city, Francis will conduct a mass at Madison Square Garden at 6 p.m.. Surrounding thoroughfares (30-34th Streets from Sixth-Ninth Avenue) will be closed or subjected to limited access throughout the day.

So if your commute normally includes Penn Station or Herald Square, maybe alter your route if you want to ditch all of the accompanying congestion.